Virginia DUI 101
Virginia DUI laws are in place to prevent intoxicated drivers from endangering the public in the Old Dominion commonwealth.
Virginia DUI Levels
Virginia DUI laws restrict drivers over the age of 21 from operating a vehicle if their blood alcohol level matches or exceeds .08 percent. Drivers under the age of 21 should not have a blood alcohol level at or above .02. Commercial drivers should not have a blood alcohol level of .04 or above. Even if the driver’s blood alcohol level doesn’t quite reach the “legally drunk” level, penalties can still be enforced if a police officer observed reckless driving.
Virginia DUI Penalties
A first offense will result in at least a $250 fine and loss of a driver’s license for a year. After a second conviction, the fine increases to $500 and the license revocation increases to three years. The offender may also face up to a year in jail. Three convictions will be considered a Class 6 felony. Along with at least a $1,000 fine, the driver will lose their license indefinitely. The jail term accompanying the third offense will be based on the severity of the offense and the number of years since the last conviction. For example, a third offense within five years of the previous one is punished with at least six months in jail, while a third offense in 10 years is punished with at least 90 days in jail. In most cases, even having an open container of alcohol within arm’s reach of the driver’s seat can result in penalties.
A driver with a blood alcohol level that exceeds .15 will face additional penalties, including extended jail terms and higher fines. It is also worth noting that drivers under the age of 21 will face the same penalties as older drivers if convicted of a DUI.
Police may use a breath test to assess the blood alcohol content of a driver. If the driver refuses to allow administration of the test, license suspension may occur without the possibility of restricted driver’s license. In addition, in some cases, driving on a suspended license can be considered a felony.
Virginia Restricted Licenses
In may be possible for drivers convicted of drunk driving to obtain restricted driving privileges. However, this license is typically only available to first-time or second-time offenders. After obtaining a restricted license, a driver can commute to and from work without fear of additional charges for driving while on suspension. For more information on restricted licenses, visit the website of the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
The Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program aims to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the state roads. A judge may order a DUI offender to enroll in the program as part of the consequences for breaking the law. The cost of enrollment is generally $250 to $350 and must be paid by the convicted driver. Failure to enroll in the program may prevent the driver from reinstating their suspended license. For more information concerning this Virginia DUI program, visit the official site of the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program.