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Penalties for drunk driving in Virginia can be severe

Facing drunk driving charges in Virginia can be overwhelming for many motorists. The Blood Alcohol Concentration limit in all 50 states is .08 percent. This means that you can be charged with a DUI if you were driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. However, you can also be charged if your blood alcohol level is below .08 percent if you are found to be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drivers under 21 have an even lower BAC limit of .02 percent and can be charged with a DUI if they exceed that limit.

If you are facing such charges, it can be helpful to be aware of the potential consequences you will face if convicted. First-time DUI offenders will typically face a fine, probation and a year-long driver's license suspension. Depending on your specific case, you may also face up to one year in jail.

In Virginia, first-time DUI offenders may be able to request a restricted license if their regular license has been suspended. A restricted license will allow you to drive under very limited circumstances. In order for this request to be granted, you will need to enroll in the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, an alcohol education program. This program will also evaluate your drug and alcohol use and determine if you need further treatment or counseling.

Those with multiple DUIs on their record will face more serious consequences. Some drivers will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles to prevent their vehicle from starting if the driver has too much alcohol in their system. Those who are convicted of a third DUI offense will have their driver's license permanently revoked.

Whether this is your first DUI charge or you have multiple DUI convictions on your record, you should prepare a solid defense strategy to avoid these potential consequences.

Source: FindLaw, "Virginia DUI Laws," accessed on Oct. 9, 2016

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