The ABCs of Virginia DUI laws

Imagine spending a Friday night out with friends, celebrating the end of a long week at work. You were having a spectacular night until, on your way home, you suddenly see red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror. A police officer was pulling you over. A little while later, you were sitting in the back of a squad car on your way to jail. This is not how you anticipated starting your weekend.

Driving under the influence (DUI) charges can come with some severe consequences. Part of the reason why states such as Virginia have enacted strict DUI laws is to reduce instances of fatal drunk driving accidents. If you are facing a DUI charge, an experienced defense attorney in the Christiansburg area can help you defend yourself.

What is a DUI?

In most cases, a DUI is dependent on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, it is possible for an officer to issue a DUI charge for operating a vehicle under the influence of prescription medication, drugs and any other substance that impairs your ability to drive.

What are BAC limits?

If you are 21 years old or older, a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher will land you with a DUI charge. For individuals under the age of 21, the limit is 0.02 percent. Drivers with a commercial license have a limit of 0.04 percent.

What are the penalties?

For drivers 21 or older, a first offense conviction will come with a seven-day administrative suspension of your license and a possible one-year revocation. In addition, you will have to pay between $250 and $300 in fines. You may also have to take an Alcohol Safety Action Program and install an ignition interlock device. The conviction will appear on your criminal record as well.

Additional offenses will include larger fines, jail time and more serious charges. For example, a second offense typically includes a minimum of a $500 fine, mandatory jail time ranging from 10 days to one month, as well as the other consequences mentioned above. A fourth offense will be felony charge and come with a $1,000 fine, license revocation and minimum of one year in jail along with several other penalties.

A conviction for driving under the influence can come with life-long consequences. If convicted, you may face challenges obtaining employment and signing a rental agreement for an apartment. Get help building a defense as soon as possible.

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