Drinking is such a common part of society that many Virginia residents may fail to realize that they are actually drunk according to state law. When this happens and a person is stopped for a suspected DUI, a he or she can end up facing serious criminal penalties despite having had no intention to break the law. Because of the severity of the penalties that can result from drunk driving charges and a DUI conviction, it is important that Virginia residents accused of drunk driving take these charges seriously and work with an attorney to get the best possible outcome.
In Virginia, a 65-year-old man was recently arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after an accident. The man was driving a senior services van from New River Valley Senior Services when the van hit a tree. When police arrived at the scene, they believed that alcohol may have contributed to the accident and administered a field sobriety test. The results of the test indicated that the driver’s blood alcohol content level was above the state’s legal limit.
Virginia has very strict drunk driving laws, including an implied consent law for a blood or breath test. Upon arrest for DUI, Virginia drivers must consent to taking a test to determine blood alcohol level or the refusal will be held them, resulting in a suspended license and possibly even a misdemeanor conviction. Refusal will not necessarily prevent a DUI conviction, either. Prosecutors can argue that a refusal to take a breath test signals that the driver was intoxicated.
The legal blood alcohol content level is .08% in Virginia. For a first offense, as long as the blood alcohol content level is less than .15%, there is a fine of $250. However, penalties increase dramatically as the blood alcohol content level rises or as the number of offenses increases. Jail time and felony-level charges are possible and can have severe effects on a person’s reputation, social life, and professional life. It is therefore very important to defend oneself strongly against these charges and pursue all available forms of relief.
Source: Roanoke.com, “DUI charges filed against driver after van crash sends 6 passengers to hospital,” Melissa Powell and Jordan Fifer, Sept. 4, 2013