Virginia DUI Basics
March 21, 2023
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in the Commonwealth of Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 19,925 DUI convictions in Virginia in 2021. DUIs can have serious consequences, including fines, license suspension or revocation, and even imprisonment. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the key things you need to know about DUIs in Virginia.
What is a DUI in Virginia?
In Virginia, a DUI is defined as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. This applies to all drivers, regardless of age. Additionally, drivers under the age of 21 can be charged with a DUI if they have a BAC of 0.02% or higher, and commercial drivers can be charged with a DUI if they have a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
What are the penalties for a DUI in Virginia?
The penalties for a DUI in Virginia can be severe. Here are some of the potential consequences:
First offense: A first-time DUI conviction in Virginia can result in a fine of up to $2,500, a license suspension of up to one year, and up to 12 months in jail. Additionally, the offender may be required to attend a Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) and install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle.
Second offense: A second DUI conviction in Virginia within 10 years of the first offense can result in a fine of up to $2,500, a license suspension of up to three years, and up to 12 months in jail. Additionally, the offender may be required to attend VASAP and install an IID in their vehicle.
Third offense: A third DUI conviction in Virginia within 10 years of the second offense can result in a fine of up to $2,500, a license revocation of up to three years, and up to five years in prison. Additionally, the offender may be required to attend VASAP and install an IID in their vehicle.
It's important to note that these penalties are just the minimums, and a judge can impose harsher penalties if they see fit.
What happens if you refuse a breathalyzer test in Virginia?
In Virginia, if you refuse a breathalyzer test when pulled over on suspicion of a DUI, your license will be automatically suspended for one year. Additionally, if you are charged with a DUI, the fact that you refused the breathalyzer can be used against you in court.
What is an ignition interlock device (IID)?
An ignition interlock device (IID) is a device that is installed in a vehicle to prevent the driver from starting the car if they have been drinking. The driver must blow into the device, and if their BAC is above a certain level (usually 0.02%), the car will not start. In Virginia, IIDs are mandatory for all DUI convictions.
How long will a DUI stay on your record in Virginia?
In Virginia, a DUI conviction will stay on your record permanently. This means that it can have long-term consequences, such as impacting your ability to get a job or housing. However, there are ways to minimize the impact of a DUI on your record. For example, you can apply for a restricted license that allows you to drive to work, school, and other essential activities during your license suspension period.