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Driving drunk and the consequences that come with it

When a driver gets behind the wheel, they may not be aware of the consequences that await them if they are found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Virginia, first time offenders will have their driver's licenses revoked for one year and face a minimum of $250 in fines. Future offenses, especially those within ten years of a prior offense, carry even more serious penalties. Drivers could face jail time as early as their second conviction.

However, the severity of the penalties faced will also depend on your blood alcohol content, or BAC level. A first-time offender with a BAC level of 0.15 or higher will face a minimum of five days in jail as well as other penalties.

As we know, people under the age of 21 are not legally permitted to consume or purchase alcohol. If a driver under 21 is convicted of drunk driving, the penalties will be the same as those for a driver over 21. The only difference is the BAC level required for a conviction. While adults over the age of 21 have a limit of 0.08, people under the age of 21 have a limit of only 0.02

Other than license suspension, jailtime and fines, there are other penalties that come along with DUI convictions. For example, a first offense DUI conviction requires you to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicles you drive. DUI offenders typically must also attend an Alcohol Safety Action Program in the area. The program will screen you and determine the next steps regarding education or treatment. You may be required to attend 20 hours of classes during a 10-week period.

The possible consequences for a DUI conviction can be serious, so it is important to defend against any charges you may be facing. Various resources and forms of assistance are available to help you with the process.

Source: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, "Virginia is tough on drunk and drugged drivers," accessed on Jan. 27, 2015

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