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Find out about Virginia drunk driving laws

Going out with your friends to watch sporting events or attend other festivities is a good time. Some of these events involve alcohol, which means that you need to make plans for getting home before you even head out.

Virginia has strict drunk driving laws and you don’t want to end your fun night out with a trip to jail. Here are some things you need to know about Virginia’s drunk driving laws:

No open containers

Virginia has an open container law, which means that you can face criminal charges if you are showing signs of intoxication and there is an open container in the vehicle. The open container can’t be in the passenger area of the vehicle. This includes in an unlocked glove box anywhere that is in the driver’s reach.

Drunk driving specifications

Drunk driving can occur in a vehicle, moped, watercraft or boat. Any adult who has a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more is considered legally intoxicated. You can even face charges if your BAC is lower. The criteria for drunk driving has provisions that state you can be arrested if your driving ability is impaired by any substance, including alcohol or drugs.

Strict penalties

Penalties for drunk driving convictions in this state are harsh. You face a one-year driver’s license revocation and a mandatory minimum fine of $250.

A second offense comes with a possible incarceration of up to one year, a mandatory minimum fine of $500, and a three-year driver’s license revocation. If this is the second DUI in a 10-year period, you face a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail.

A third offense drunk driving charge has strict penalties before you even get to trial. If you are facing a third DUI in a five-year span, you won’t be able to bail out of jail while you await trial. A conviction on a third offense carries an indefinite driver’s license suspension, a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000, and a felony label since this is a Class 6 felony.

If you have three DUIs in a 10-year span, you face a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail and permanent forfeiture of the vehicle you were in if you were the sole owner. If this is the third DUI conviction in a five-year period, the mandatory minimum time in jail is six months.

Other increased penalties are possible for higher BACs and convictions beyond a third DUI. Thinking about your defense is crucial to your case.

J. Emmette Pilgreen IV
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