Virginia DUI

What Happens To First-Time Offenders in Virginia?

In Virginia, driving under the influence or drunk driving is considered to be a serious and grave offense therefore it is partnered with equally serious and grave consequences. There are some laws that are required to be put into practice once you are arrested for drunk driving and this includes a confiscation of your driver’s license and a suspension of all your driving privileges for a year or even more than that.

You can also be mandatorily enrolled in an Alcohol Safety Action Program, for even just the first offense and may be asked to pay large fines and new ‘abuser’ fees. Other than this, you may even be asked to do some community service duties like attending meetings with a probation officer. Or you can also lose some insurance coverage on your part and serve one year in jail. This kind of situation may give you problems when it comes to traveling whether domestically or abroad and will also make it difficult or sometimes even impossible for you to get a job.

Virginia Blood Alcohol Content

The legal limit for Blood Alcohol Content in Virginia is 0.08 BAC. If your blood alcohol is 0.08 or higher, operating a vehicle can be a serious criminal offense. This BAC calculator can provide a reference point for making responsible decisions. Know your limits!

Your BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration or Blood Alcohol Content) is the amount of alcohol present in your bloodstream. The more you consume, the higher your BAC gets. However, no two people are alike. One person may drink the same amount, over the same period of time, and have dramatically different results when his BAC is tested. Your body size, how much you’ve had to eat, your percentage of body fat, and your sex are all factors that affect your BAC. A woman’s BAC will almost always be higher than a man’s when consuming the same amount of alcohol.

The calculator is meant to estimate the effect certain drinks can have on your system; it is not meant to be a definitive test as to your breath alcohol concentration, or whether you would be considered to be Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). If you are arrested for a drunk driving offense, it is important to contact a qualified defense lawyer as soon as possible.

What can affect your BAC?

  • The amount of alcohol you consume.
  • The period of time in which the alcohol was consumed. As a general rule, the quicker you drink, the higher your peak BAC will be.
  • Body size. Larger people usually reach lower peak BACs than smaller people when consuming the same amount of alcohol.
  • The amount of food in your stomach. When there is food in your stomach, alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream at a slower rate. Because there is no food to slow the absorption of alcohol, the BAC rises faster when you drink on an empty stomach.
  • Type of mixers used. Water and fruit juices may slow absorption. Carbonated beverages will speed up absorption.
  • Gender. Because women have less water in their bodies and more adipose tissue (fat) – which is not penetrated by alcohol – women reach higher peak BACs faster. All factors being equal, a woman will typically have a higher BAC level than a man who consumes the same amount of alcohol.

Virginia Field Sobriety Tests

f you were recently pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the officer probably asked you to take field sobriety tests.

There are several types of field sobriety tests that law enforcement agents use. One category of tests is known as “divided attention testing.” These tests require the driver to perform unusual physical movements while remembering a series of directions. They are known as divided attention tests because intoxicated drivers find it difficult to concentrate on mental and physical exercises at the same time.

An example of a divided attention test is the walk-and-turn test. In this test, the driver is told to take nine steps, heel to toe, in a straight line. Upon completion of the nine steps, the driver must then turn around and take nine steps in the opposite direction. The officer will look for signs of impairment, such as inability to stay balanced while listening to the directions, stopping to regain balance, using arms to balance, or taking the incorrect number of steps.

Another common test is the one-leg stand test. In this test, the driver is told to stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground and must count out loud until told to put his foot back down. The officer looks for signs of intoxication, such as using arms to maintain balance, hopping to stay balanced, swaying while balancing, and putting the foot down on the ground before being told to stop.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus testing is another common test. This test measures the involuntary jerking of the eyeball that occurs normally when you look to the side. This typically occurs when your eyes are rotated at high peripheral angles. However, when a driver is intoxicated, nystagmus can be more distinct. In the horizontal nystagmus test, the law enforcement agent will ask the driver to follow a slowly moving object (such as a pen) with his eyes. The officer will look to see if the driver can smoothly follow the object with his eyes and whether the eyes begin jerking at a 45-degree angle from the center.

Virginia Breath Test

If you were stopped by a law enforcement agent on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you were probably asked to take two types of breath tests at the location where you were stopped. Both tests are used to estimate your blood alcohol content (also known as a BAC).

The first test, usually taken by your vehicle, is known as the “preliminary breath test.” Legally, you do not need to take a preliminary breath test. The second test, given at the police station or jail, is an “evidentiary breath test” that you are required to take.

To administer the preliminary breath test, the officer will ask the driver to blow into a plastic tube that is attached to a hand-held device. The officer will then tell the driver to stop blowing. At this point, the results will be provided either on a screen or printout.

Virginia law does not require a driver to submit to the preliminary breath test, but refusal may influence the officer’s arrest decision.

In Virginia, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle or boat with a BAC of .08 percent or higher. If the preliminary breath test shows that your BAC is over the legal limit, the officer will have probable cause to arrest you on suspicion of drunk driving.

If you took a breath test in Virginia, you should immediately hire an experienced DUI defense attorney to represent you. Typically, if a breath test is admitted into evidence and not refuted, you will lose the case. A good attorney will attack the test results. By finding problems or flaws with the test thereby excluding the test from your trial.

Get DUI Help in Virginia

If you are faced with some DUI troubles, know that Virginia DUI Defense Attorney handles these types of drunk driving defense cases throughout all of Virginia. If you have been recently arrested, you may call a Virginia DUI Attorney and you can instantly have a free consultation about your DUI cases and how the laws in the city of Virginia can put a toll on your future once you are convicted with it.

If you have been charged with drunk driving in Virginia, it’s important that you quickly contact a DUI lawyer who knows, understands, and can help you address your Virginia DUI laws troubles and the medical scientific issues that can provide valuable defenses to a DUI charge. You can find a lot of information below that you can read to help you know more about DUI claims and penalties.

A Virginia DUI Attorney can help you greatly by honestly discussing your legal options openly with you and then developing the best drunk driving defense strategy for your case. This lawyer has a significant experience with drunk driving defense and therefore has a good experience in protecting the rights of those accused for DUI in Virginia.

Hire an Experienced Virginia DUI Attorney Today

If you have recently been arrested for DUI in Virginia, you can seek the help of Virginia DUI Lawyer.. A confidential and free service to your case is of course guaranteed.

One of the things that attorney guarantees is that you will be offered with aggressive DUI defense strategies that you can take on to defend your case. Your case will be of personal interest to him and would also explain to you the charges against you and make you understand everything that you need to know. A Virginia drunk driving defense lawyer focuses exclusively on DUI defense and application of Virginia DUI laws. Therefore you will be well represented by him in all the stages of your case and would also help you keep your driving privileges by challenging evidences, questioning equipment calibration and maintenance, interviewing witnesses and of course preparing you well for trial. You can be certain to get the best result you can ever find.

Virginia DUI FAQ

When you are accused of a DUI, you may have some questions. Below are some of the more frequently asked questions about drunk driving. If you do not see an answer to your question or if you want to ask a question of your own, call Attorney Michael C. Tillotson for a consultation.

What is a DUI?

DUI is simply “driving under the Influence.” DUI laws prohibit driving a vehicle while intoxicated. In Virginia, any person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .08% who is caught operating a motor vehicle may be charged with DUI. Additionally, driving while under the influence of certain drugs (even prescription) or a combination of drugs and alcohol may be deemed a DUI. DUI may also be referred to as “Driving While Intoxicated” (DWI) and “Operating While Intoxicated” (OWI).

Drunk driving offenses:

  • Operating a vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol which causes an impairment of your physical abilities.
  • Driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher regardless of whether your ability to drive is impaired.
  • Operating a vehicle while impaired after taking drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. When drugs cause any impairment in your physical abilities, you may be found guilty of a DUI.

Can the police pull me over for just any reason?

Police must have “reasonable suspicion,” based on a traffic infraction, or unusual or erratic driving behavior. Because standards for “unusual” driving behaviors is very low, you may be pulled over for everyday driving that is not even illegal. In addition, if you encounter a sobriety checkpoint, you may be stopped or investigated before the officer observes anything suspicious about your driving behavior.

What happens if I am pulled over for a drunk driving investigation?

When an officer pulls you over, you will be asked for your driver’s license and registration. You may also be asked additional questions, such as, “Do you know how fast you were going?” or “Have you been drinking tonight?”

Remember, always be well-mannered and never argue with the officer. Keep your “attitude” to yourself. Showing attitude can often be the reason for further investigation.

If the officer has reason to believe that you are driving under the influence, he can ask you to get out of the car to perform a series of “field sobriety tests.”

These measures of your physical and mental ability may include:

  • Reciting the alphabet
  • Closing your eyes and bringing both index fingers together
  • Walking along a straight line
  • Standing on one foot for a few seconds

In addition, some officers typically have a portable breath test meter which you will be asked to blow into. If you suffer from chronic physical problems that walking or balance difficulties, it is very important that you inform the officer prior to performing the field sobriety tests.

What happens if I fail the field sobriety tests?

You will be informed that you are being placed under arrest for driving under the influence. You will then be handcuffed, searched, placed in the police car, and taken to jail. You will be held until you post bail, or until a judge releases you on your own recognizance without bail.

What tests are used for determining blood alcohol content?

There are two methods used to determine your blood alcohol level in Virginia:

  • Blood sample – most exact and effective for prosecution
  • Breath (breathalyzer test) sample – quicker but less reliable

You do not have the right or option to refuse either test.

What happens if I refuse to take a BAC test?

While some people think that refusing the test may help them in court, this is not usually the case. The penalties for refusal can be much harsher than the penalties for DUI.

What are the penalties for DUI?

Drunk driving penalties in Virginia (and nationwide) have become very severe in the past few years. For a first offense, the maximum possible penalties you could face are:

  • 6 months in jail
  • $2,500 fine plus additional penalty assessments
  • Driver’s license suspension for 12 months

Subsequent offenses within 10 years are punished by increasingly harsher penalties. For second and third convictions, your license will be revoked for 3 and at least 5 years, respectively. A third offense may be charged as a class 6 felony, landing you up to 5 years in state prison. In addition to all of the penalties listed above, your auto insurance premiums will increase drastically after a conviction for driving under the influence.