Virginia is one of the stricter states when it comes to driving under the influence (DUI). As in most states, an officer can arrest you and charge you with a DUI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at the legal limit of 0.08%. If a driver exhibits signs of drunk driving and the driver’s BAC is over 0.04%, an officer can still make an arrest.
While BAC can play a significant role in whether or not you face charges, it is not the only factor. If the officer testifies and the prosecutor can prove that alcohol or drugs impaired your capacity to drive at the time of your arrest, you may still face DUI charges which can eventually lead to a conviction. The consequences of a DUI conviction can be life-altering.
What are the consequences of a DUI?
A DUI is a criminal traffic violation with dire consequences. Even first-time offenders are aggressively prosecuted by the local government. These are the potential penalties and effects of a DUI conviction:
- License suspension
- Fines and fees
- Increases in auto insurance rates
- Ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle
These penalties can already have an enormous impact on your life. It is critical to understand that the severity of those consequences varies depending on the circumstances. Any of these scenarios can potentially enhance the severity of the consequences above:
- If a child was present in the vehicle
- If an accident resulted in property damage
- If an accident resulted in injury
- If the individual is a commercial driver driving a commercial vehicle
- If the person controlling the car is 21 or under
- If the driver’s BAC was higher than .15%
Each state has their own way of addressing and penalizing a DUI. With so many frightening things to consider, you may want to get sound and experienced legal advice from a lawyer who knows the state’s laws.
Can you fight these charges?
Yes, you have options to fight the DUI charges and protect yourself from these consequences. DUI cases do not usually go to trial in Virginia because the Commonwealth makes plea bargains seem so favorable, considering the penalties. But a plea bargain is an admission of guilt that will still result in a DUI conviction. Now that you understand the consequences of a DUI conviction, the need to defend yourself may become clear.