What Is the Definition of a DUI in Virginia?
In every state in the nation, driving after consuming a certain amount of alcohol is illegal. While states have the autonomy to determine the limit that is illegal, all states maintain a .08 blood alcohol concentration limit. The following considers the definition of a DUI, or driving under the influence, offense in Virginia, how the offense is penalized, and how our experienced Virginia DUI attorneys can help you if you are charged with a DUI.
Defining a DUI in Virginia
You are considered be legally operating under the influence if you are operating a boat, engine, train, a motor vehicle, or a watercraft in Virginia and your blood alcohol concentration level is .08 percent or above. However, while .08 percent may be the legal limit, the Code of Virginia section 18.2-266 continues to read that it is unlawful for a driver to operate a vehicle while “under the influence of alcohol,” while under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug, while a person is under the influence of any combination or alcohol or drugs to the point where the ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired, or when a person has any of the following substances in the blood in the following concentration levels:
- Cocaine (0.02 mg/liter of blood);
- Methamphetamine (0.01 mg/liter);
- Phencyclidine (0.01 mg/liter); or
- 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine (0.01 mg/liter).
Can I Be Charged with a DUI for Having an Open Container in My Vehicle?
You cannot be charged for a DUI based on the fact that you have an open container in your vehicle alone, which refers to a container of alcohol that has been opened. However, you may be charged for a DUI if you are pulled over and have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle, some of the alcohol is missing, and police believe you to be intoxicated based on your behavior.
Will I Be Charged with a DUI if a Refuse to Submit to a Blood or Breath Alcohol Test?
The easiest way for the prosecution to secure a DUI conviction is to present evidence that the defendant had a blood alcohol concentration level at .08 percent or above when apprehended by police. As such, if you are pulled over and suspected of committing a DUI offense, you will almost surely be asked to submit to a blood or breath alcohol test. Under Virginia’s implied consent laws, you are required to submit to testing when requested to do so. If you refuse to take the test, you will not automatically be convicted of a DUI, but you will face an automatic license suspension of one year if this is your first time offense, and three year license suspension for subsequent offenses.
What Happens If I Am Convicted of a DUI?
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles explains that the state is tough on DUIs. If you are convicted of a DUI, the penalties could include:
- First offense: $250 fine; driver’s license revocation for one year.
- Second offense: $500 fine; possible jail time of up to one year; three-year license revocation.
- Third offense: $1,000 fine, mandatory jail time of 20 days; indefinite driver’s license revocation; and prosecution as a class 6 felony.
How Our Experienced Virginia DUI Attorney Can Help If You Are Facing DUI Charges
Understanding what constitutes a DUI in Virginia, how to fight DUI charges, and what your penalties may be if you are convicted can all be confusing. At the law offices of the Pack Law Group, our attorneys are highly experienced in Virginia DUI law and defending those charged with DUIs throughout our state. We work hard for you to file motions to suppress evidence that was illegally obtained or is faulty, to gather evidence that supports your innocence, and to negotiate with the prosecution to reach a plea bargain if necessary.
We know being charged with a DUI can be scary, and we have also seen how the consequences of a DUI conviction can change a person’s life. If you are facing DUI charges in Virginia, please contact us today for an initial consultation where you can learn more about building a strong defense. We can be reached at (540) 586-7225 on online by using our website contact form.