Virginia is one of the toughest states in the U.S. in what concerns the penalties people can get if they are caught driving under the influence. As a consequence, being thoroughly informed is essential, especially since the laws can sometimes be slightly confusing. Today, we are going to tell you all there is to know about DUI Virginia laws and what you should expect if you are ever in the situation of being caught drunk driving in this state.
BAC Limit in Virginia
The most important piece of information you should know about DUI Virginia laws is what the blood alcohol concentration that can get you a DUI with is. According to Virginia laws, you can be found guilty of driving under the influence if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you are under the age of 21, all it takes is a BAC of 0.02% for you to get a DUI. Furthermore, if you are a commercial driver and you drive buses or delivery trucks, the limit is 0.04%. Another interesting thing you should know about DUI Virginia laws is that if you get pulled over and you have an open container of alcohol in your car, you can get a DUI if you show any signs of alcohol impairment.
What You Should Expect Once You Get Pulled Over
If you get pulled over in the state of Virginia and the police officer has any reasons to believe that you have been drinking, he or she has the right to ask you to take a test to determine your BAC. This is called the implied consent law. If you choose to decline the test, you will get a fine and your driver’s license suspended for a certain amount of time, depending on whether this was your first DUI offense or not. For a first offense, the license will be suspended for a year, while for a second and third offense, you won’t be able to drive for 3 years after the incident.
DUI Virginia – Penalties
As we’ve already mentioned, Virginia is one of the most severe states when it comes to penalties for people who were driving under the influence. In order for you to get a full picture of the different types of penalties, we are going to take a closer look at them according to the gravity of the DUI.
Under the Age of 21
People under the age of 21 face different penalties under DUI Virginia laws. For instance, if you are caught drunk driving under that age, you will get your license suspended for a maximum of one year, and you will get a fine of $500 (which you will not have to pay if you do 50 hours of community service instead). Additionally, you might have to attend an Alcohol Safety Action Program, or get your license restricted.
First Offense DUI
If you get caught drunk driving over the age of 21, but this is your first DUI, according to DUI Virginia laws, you will get a criminal record, since this is a considered a criminal offense in Virginia. You will also get an administrative license suspension of 7 days, your license revoked for a year, and you will have to pay a fine of $250 up to $300. Furthermore, you might have to attend the Alcohol Safety Action Program, and you might have to install an interlock ignition device on the cars you want to drive in the future.
Second Offense DUI
If this is your second time getting a DUI, the penalties also change to fit the crime. In this case, you will get your license suspended for 60 days, and revoked for 3 years. You will also have to pay a fine that will be at least $500. Moreover, you will have to spend between one month and one year in jail, depending on how close to the first DUI your second one was. As in the case of a first offense DUI, you might have to install an interlock ignition device on your car, and also have your driver’s license restricted. You will have to pay for your own participation in the Alcohol Safety Action Program, where you might be advised to seek treatment for substance abuse.
Third Offense DUI
According to DUI Virginia laws, if you are convicted with a third offense DUI, your license will get suspended until you go to trial. You will also get a criminal record, as with the rest of the DUI offenses in the state of Virginia, and you will have to spend either 90 days (if within 10 years of the first offense) or 6 months (if within 5 years of the first offense) in jail. Your driver’s license will be revoked indefinitely and you will have to pay at least $1.000 in fines. Again, you will have to go through a rehabilitation program, install an interlock ignition device, and might get your vehicle forfeited or seized. That is because a third offense DUI is considered a felony charge in the state of Virginia.
Fourth Offense DUI
If this is already your fourth DUI, you will have to be imprisoned for at least a year, get your license suspended until trial and revoked indefinitely, pay a $1.000 fine, participate in the Alcohol Safety Action Program, and pay restitution to the court. Moreover, you will have to get an interlock ignition device installed, and you might get your vehicle seized or forfeited.
Extremely High BAC
If you have an extremely high BAC, the penalties also change in the state of Virginia. For instance, you should know that if you are found with a BAC of at least 0.15%, you will have to spend 5 days more in jail, if this is your first offense. If this is your second offense, you will spend 10 days more there. If your BAC is higher than 0.20%, you will spend 10 days more in jail for a first offense, and 20 for a second offense.