When it comes to driving under the influence, there are a few things most people know. It’s a serious offense in most states. Virginia is no exception. You may have to pay a fine, lose your license, or even go to jail.
That’s just part of the picture, though. There are plenty of little-known facts about Virginia’s DUI laws you should be aware of.
You can be convicted of a DUI offense with a BAC below 0.08 percent.
Many people believe your blood alcohol content (BAC) must be at least 0.08 percent for you to be legally driving under the influence of alcohol in Virginia. However, that’s not exactly true. If your driving abilities are impaired and you exhibit signs of intoxication, you can be charged. The prosecutor does have to prove beyond a doubt that you were under the influence while driving, though.
A DUI can earn you a criminal record.
Did you know that all DUI offenses in Virginia are reported to the Central Criminal Records Exchange? That means a DUI arrest can result in a criminal record.
You can’t refuse a breath or blood test without consequences.
Virginia’s Implied Consent Law means that just by using public roads, you are implicitly consenting to breath or blood tests if you are stopped for possible drunk driving. You need not be read your Miranda rights or allowed to talk to a lawyer before a test is performed. Refusing the test may result in a “refusal charge” in addition to the DUI. Your first one is a civil offense, and you’ll lose your license for one year. The penalties escalate after that.
A DUI citation doesn’t mean you’ll be found guilty.
This is where having an experienced DUI attorney is crucial. Most people assume that once they’ve been cited they will be convicted and punished. However, you do have options for defending yourself. With a lawyer on your side it can be very hard for the Commonwealth of Virginia to prove you are guilty. For instance, the law enforcement officer who pulled you over must have a lawful reason to do so. Your case may be dismissed if he or she did not have a valid reason. Another example is that footage of a field sobriety test from a dashboard camera may cause the judge to find lack of “probable cause.”
A great lawyer is your best defense.
When you’ve been charged with a DUI offense, you need a lawyer on your side. Faraji Rosenthall will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to defend you. We offer free consultations as well. Call our offices today at 703-934-0101 to discuss your case.