Understanding DUI Laws In Virginia
Most people are completely unprepared when they are pulled over for driving under the influence. Unless you know someone who has been arrested for DUI, you will likely have a lot of questions about the law and how to deal with the consequences. Listed below are answers to some of the most common questions attorney B.R. Hicks hears from clients.
Is there a difference between a DWI and a DUI?
On nonfederal land in Virginia, there is no legal distinction between DWI and DUI. Both terms refer to driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances.
The federal government owns a little more than 9% of the land in Virginia. If you are pulled over for drunk driving on federal property, you are subject to federal DUI/DWI laws. Under federal law, you will be charged with a DUI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is between .02% and .08%. If your BAC is above .08%, you will be charged with DWI.
What is implied consent?
Virginia’s implied consent law states that anyone who operates a motor vehicle on roads or public spaces designated for the “purposes of vehicular travel,” whether they have a license or not, consents to take a test to determine if they are intoxicated within three hours of the arrest.
Can I refuse to take a breathalyzer test?
You can refuse to take a breathalyzer test, but you could still be arrested for DUI if the police have other evidence that shows you were intoxicated. Refusing to take a breath or blood test can usually leads to additional charges.
Can I refuse to perform field sobriety test?
You can and should refuse to take field sobriety tests. You are not legally required to perform these tests, and many people are not able to pass these tests when sober. Don’t let having a poor sense of balance be used as evidence against you in a DUI arrest.
Is it possible to get a DUI charge reduced?
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can result in an arrest regardless of your level of inebriation or BAC. However, a DUI lawyer can always argue on your behalf to get the charges reduced. For example, if your BAC was between .06 and .07, the charge can usually be reduced to “wet reckless,” especially if it is a first-time offense.
What is the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP)?
VASAP is a program that provides oversight to people convicted of DUI and some other crimes. You have 15 days from the date of your conviction to register for the program. To regain your driving privileges, you need to successfully complete the program.