DUI Laws in Virginia

Laws and penalties for DUI in Virginia.

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In Virginia, you can get a DUI if you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether your driving ability was actually impaired. And the law in Virginia says that if you are driving a vehicle, you have given consent to submit to a chemical test for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol in your blood. Here are some details on the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test in Virginia and other details about Virginia DUI law.

In Virginia, what are the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test (usually a breathalyzer or blood test) when suspected of DUI?

Here are the consequences for not taking a breathalyzer or blood test in Virginia, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

1 year license suspension

3 year license suspension (if prior refusal occurred within 10 years)

3 year license suspension (if prior refusal occurred within 10 years)

In Virginia, when do police have to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC)?

In Virginia, law enforcement officers are supposed to measure your BAC at the time of driving. However, prosecutors may be able to prove your culpability for DUI even if your BAC is taken later than this time.

What is the maximum BAC for drivers under 21 in Virginia?

In Virginia, the maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) for drivers who are under 21 (considered minors under some drinking and driving laws) is .02%. Penalties include a 6 month forfeiture of license.

What are the minimum jail times for a DUI in Virginia?

Here are the minimum jail times for a DUI in Virginia, broken out by whether this is your first, second, or third offense:

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

No minimum jail term required

10 days jail (if prior offense occurred more than 5 years ago, but less than 10 years ago), 20 days jail (if prior offense occurred less than 5 years ago)

90 days jail

How long will prior DUI convictions remain relevant for sentencing purposes in Virginia?

In Virginia, prior DUI convictions stay on your record (and can be counted against you when you are being sentenced for another DUI/DWI offense) for 10 years.

Can a DUI be “pleaded down” to a "wet reckless" in Virginia?

A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in your state, but it's possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.

If you are interested in contacting a lawyer, you can find a DUI lawyer in your area in Nolo's Lawyer Directory.

Are ignition interlock devices (IIDs) required for convicted DUI offenders in Virginia?

Possible for a first offense (at the court's discretion); required for a second or subsequent offense.

Where can I get more information about DUI laws in Virginia?

Nolo's DUI/DWI topic has many helpful articles, including a Drunk Driving, DUI, and DWI FAQ. For more help after a DUI arrest, see Nolo's Lawyer Directory, where you can view in-depth profiles of Virginia DUI attorneys in your area.

Last updated on 09/01/2010.

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