Virginia DUI Attorneys Looking Out for Your Rights and Best Interests
For a crime that is a misdemeanor in most cases, driving under the influence (DUI) is often viewed much more severely and punished much more harshly than other crimes of a similar classification. The Commonwealth of Virginia, in particular, has some of the nation’s toughest DUI laws and punishments. Virginia has made it very expensive and extremely cumbersome to live with a DUI, and the punishments inflicted may seem far out of proportion for a one-time lapse in judgment or especially when improper police procedures tag you with a DUI when you were actually under the legal limit. Learn more about Virginia DUI laws and penalties below, and contact Bender Law Group, to speak with an experienced and successful Richmond DUI lawyer after an arrest for drunk driving in Virginia.
Grounds for DUI in Virginia
Like elsewhere in the U.S., you can be arrested for DUI in Virginia if a chemical breath test reveals your blood alcohol content (BAC) to be .08% or higher. This is known as a per se violation and doesn’t require any other evidence that you were driving under the influence of alcohol, although the police must have had a legal basis to stop you in the first place. Additionally, you can be arrested for DUI with a BAC lower than .08% if the police have other evidence that your driving was impaired. This could include direct observation or reports of you weaving or drifting out of your lane, driving outside the speed limit, and other driving behaviors.
Lower BAC standards also apply to certain classes of drivers, such as young drivers and commercial driver’s license holders.
A Virginia DUI charge can also be imposed if you have an open container in the passenger cabin and it appears you’ve been drinking. Finally, the laws regarding impaired driving apply to drugs as well as alcohol, although there are currently no standards for measuring drugs in the bloodstream as there are for alcohol.
Virginia DUI Penalties
A first offense DUI conviction will cost $250 in fines and a one-year suspension of your driver’s license. For a second offense, the fine climbs to $500 and the license suspension increases to three years. Additionally, you will be sentenced to at least ten days in jail if your previous DUI occurred in the last ten years, or minimally 20 days in jail if your other DUI happened in the last five years.
For a third DUI in Virginia, you will be fined $1,000, and your license will be indefinitely revoked. You will also be sentenced to jail for at least 90 days or six months, depending upon when your last DUI was. Your vehicle will be forfeited, and you will not be granted bail pending your trial. This is a felony offense.
The penalty for a fourth DUI in Virginia includes a mandatory minimum one year in jail.
Virginia DUI penalties can also be enhanced based on various factors, such as having a BAC of .15% or .20%, or getting pulled for drinking over with a juvenile in the car. These penalty enhancements may result in a mandatory jail sentence even for a first offense.
Consequences of a DUI charge could include having your vehicle impounded (and having to pay to get it out of impound) and being screened for alcohol or drug treatment. In the event you are granted a restricted license to help you get to work or school during your license suspension, you will have to install an ignition interlock device at your own expense.
Virginia DMV License Suspension
After a DUI arrest, the Virginia DMV will automatically suspend your driver’s license for seven days for a first offense or 60 days for a second offense. This suspension is separate and apart from your criminal case and will be imposed even if charges against you are later dropped or you are found not guilty of DUI.
Our Virginia DUI Lawyers can Help
As you can see, even a first DUI is very hard to afford and can negatively impact your life at home and at work. DUIs stay on your record for a long time, and penalties increase dramatically for a subsequent offense. Any DUI arrest should be taken very seriously and vigorously defended when defenses are available. It is important to know that not all DUI arrests end in conviction if you fight them. Police officers often employ subjective, nonscientific methods to determine probable cause to arrest for DUI, and faulty equipment can lead to false readings. It is important to contact an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest, as there may be steps you can take right away to put your case in the best light going forward. The Richmond DUI lawyers at the Bender Law Group will move swiftly to protect your rights and advise you on your best options. We’ll provide effective representation at every stage to get you the best result in your given circumstances.
Call Bender Law Group Attorneys in Richmond after a Virginia DUI Arrest
After an arrest for drunk driving in Virginia, call the Bender Law Group in Richmond at 804-648-8000 for a free consultation with a dedicated and successful Virginia DUI lawyer.