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Virginia DUI Law

Of the 921 Virginia traffic fatalities, nearly a third, or 279 deaths, involved a driver who was at or over the legal blood alcohol limit (.08).  164 of those deaths involved a driver who was at or over twice the legal limit.

Legal Limits

Virginia’s Driving While Intoxicated statute, Va. Code §18.2-266, is expansive, and makes the following illegal:

  • Driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or greater
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol – this standard requires the consumption of alcoholic beverages to the point that the individuals manner, disposition, speech, muscle movement, and general appearance is affected enough to be noted by observation.
  • Driving under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs that impairs one’s ability to operate the vehicle
  • Driving under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol to a degree that one’s ability to operate the vehicle is impaired.
  • Driving with the following concentration of drugs in one’s system
    • .02 milligrams of cocaine per liter of blood
    • .01 milligrams of phencyclidine (PCP) per liter of blood
    • .1 milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood

The legal limit for drivers under the age of 21 is .02

Chemical Testing

Virginia case law has determined that accused drivers have no automatic right to a blood test.  However, where the blood test is requested by the police officer and the driver refuses, his license may be suspended

Penalties

Under 21, BAC between .02 and .08:

  • Forfeiture of license for 6 months
  • Up to $500 in fines
  • Enrollment in the Alcohol Safety Action Program

First Conviction Under Va. §18.2-266

  • Minimum $250 fine
  • Enrollment in Alcohol Safety Action Program
  • First Conviction with BAC greater than .15, but less than .20: mandatory minimum 5 days in jail
  • First Conviction with BAC greater than .20: mandatory minimum 10 days in jail.

Second Conviction Under Va. §18.2-266 in a 5 Year Period

  • Minimum $500 fine
  • Confinement to jail for one month (mandatory minimum) to one year (maximum)

Second Conviction Under Va. §18.2-266 Between 5-10 Years after Prior Conviction

  • Minimum $500 fine
  • Confinement to jail for not less than one month
  • If the BAC was between .15 and .20, minimum 10 additional days jail time
  • If the BAC was over .20, minimum 20 additional days jail time

Third Conviction Under Va. §18.2-266 in 10 Year Period

  • Class 6 Felony
  • Minimum 90 days sentence and $1,000 fine
  • If all three were in a 5 year period, minimum 6 month sentence

Fourth and Subsequent Convictions Under Va. §18.2-266 in 10 Year Period

  • Minimum 1 year in jail
  • Minimum $1000 fine
  • Up to three years of probation and/or suspended license.

For All Offenses, if Transporting a Minor

  • Additional $500-$1000 fine
  • Additional minimum 5 days in jail

License Revocation

DUI/DWI offenders have their licenses revoked for one year.  Defendants are able to ask the court for a restricted, rather than revoked license, but this is at the discretion of the trial court.  A restricted license means that you will be able to drive:

  • To and from work, as well as driving during work hours
  • To and from the Alcohol Safety Action Program
  • To and from school
  • To and from medical care

Multiple Offenders and the Trauma Center Fund

Virginia also requires anyone has been previously been convicted of DUI/DWI in any state to pay $50 to the Trauma Center Fund to subsidize the cost of emergency medical care to accident victims in alcohol or drug use car crashes.

Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP)

If convicted under Va. §18.2-266 (DUI/DWI statute) or Va. §46.2-341.24 (DUI/DWI of a commercial vehicle), Virginia statute requires enrollment in ASAP.  This course costs between $250 and $300.  The program is 20 hours long and focuses on substance abuse and driving, substance abuse and health, and self-evaluation of potential for substance abuse.

Ignition Interlock Program

Virginia requires that anyone convicted of a second DUI or anyone that has a BAC greater than .15 for their first DUI have an ignition interlock system installed.  This system records the drivers BAC via breath test each time the car is started.  It also requires that the driver blow into the breath analyzer ever 5-20 minutes.