Being accused of driving while intoxicated can permanently affect the rest of your life. Virginia takes DWI crimes extremely seriously and, if you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with a driving while intoxicated crime, you should speak with an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney immediately. At Select Law Partners, PLC our team is ready to defend and protect your rights in a Virginia DUI (DWI) case. Call or contact our office to schedule a consultation of your case.
What is Driving While Intoxicated?
Virginia law defines driving while intoxicated as driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more, or with blood alcohol levels of .1, .02, and .01 milligrams per liter of methamphetamine, cocaine, or PCP, respectively. In order to be considered intoxicated, a driver must not be able to operate or drive a vehicle safely.
It is important to note that a person can be charged with a DWI crime in Virginia even when the vehicle is not moving. Courts have determined that operating a vehicle includes any actual physical control of the vehicle. As such, a person seated in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition can be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.
Driving while intoxicated penalties are serious and increase in severity with each subsequent conviction. A first conviction for DWI is a misdemeanor offense, which comes with a jail term up to one year and a mandatory minimum fine of $250, with minimum mandatory jail terms for elevated blood alcohol levels of 0.15% and 0.20%, and a loss of driver’s license for up to one year.
A second conviction for driving while intoxicated is also a misdemeanor offense, but the other penalties are more serious. A second conviction comes with a maximum jail term of up to one year, with minimum jail terms of 10 or 20 days if the conviction comes with 10 or five years of the first and elevated penalties for higher blood alcohol content, and a loss of the driver’s license for three years.
A third conviction is a Class Six felony offense, which comes with a prison sentence up to five years. Mandatory minimum sentences include ninety or 180 days if the third conviction occurs within 10 or five years, and a loss of the driver’s license for three years after the prison sentence is served.
Underage DWI Crimes
Drivers under the age of 21 years old are also subject to Virginia’s zero tolerance laws for driving while intoxicated. An underage driver can be charged with DWI if operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.02% or more. Penalties can include fines up to $2,500, up to 50 hours of community service, suspension of the driver’s license, and a criminal record.
Contact Our Office Now About Virginia DUI
Have you or someone you know been charged with driving while intoxicated in Virginia? The knowledgeable DWI defense attorneys at Select Law Partners, PLC are prepared to zealously advocate for your rights during every step of the legal process. Call the office or contact us today to schedule a consultation.