Tag Archives: Driving Under the Influence

Virginia DUI or DWI

Virginia DUI / DWI Defense Lawyer

In Virginia, DWI is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor carrying a potential maximum of one year in jail, $2,500.00 in fines, civil remedial fees, and driver’s license suspension.

Depending on the blood alcohol levels, a DWI conviction may carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence. In Virginia, if the blood alcohol level (BAC) of the accused was between 0.15 and 0.20, there is a mandatory 5-day jail sentence. If the BAC level was above 0.20, there is a mandatory 10-day jail sentence. Additionally, a second DWI conviction in Virginia within 10 years carries a mandatory 10-day jail sentence. A second DWI conviction in Virginia within 5 years carries a mandatory 20-day jail sentence. A third DWI conviction in Virginia within 10 years carries mandatory jail of six months. Four or more convictions of DWI in Virginia within 10 years of a prior conviction carry a mandatory one-year in jail.

A person may be convicted of DWI if the Commonwealth of Virginia can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Generally, to prove a DWI case in Virginia, the prosecutors will reference the accused driving patterns and the result of the breath test.

Under Virginia DWI laws, if a person refuses to submit to a breath or alcohol test at the police station after being arrested, the person may face additional criminal charges plus an additional driver’s license suspension, if convicted of DWI in Virginia. Refusal to submit to the test carries with it the possibility of a six-month jail sentence.

A Virginia DWI attorney is well-versed in Virginia DWI laws and can provide you with a competent defense if you are facing DWI charges in Virginia.

The relevant Virginia DWI statute states:

§ 18.2-266. Driving motor vehicle, engine, etc., while intoxicated, etc. It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train (i) while such person has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more by weight by volume or 0.08 grams or more per 210 liters of breath as indicated by a chemical test administered as provided in this article, (ii) while such person is under the influence of alcohol, (iii) while such person is under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature, or any combination of such drugs, to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely, or (iv) while such person is under the combined influence of alcohol and any drug or drugs to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely. A charge alleging a violation of this section shall support a conviction under clauses (i), (ii), (iii) or (iv). For the purposes of this section, the term “motor vehicle” includes mopeds, while operated on the public highways of this Commonwealth.

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Under Virginia DWI Law, a person operating a vehicle in the highways of the Commonwealth, the driver is implied to have consented to providing blood and/or breath samples to determine alcohol content. The relevant statute provides:

§ 18.2-268.2. Implied consent to post-arrest testing to determine drug or alcohol content of blood.

A. Any person, whether licensed by Virginia or not, who operates a motor vehicle upon a highway, as defined in § 46.2-100, in the Commonwealth shall be deemed thereby, as a condition of such operation, to have consented to have samples of his blood, breath, or both blood and breath taken for a chemical test to determine the alcohol, drug, or both alcohol and drug content of his blood, if he is arrested for violation of § 18.2-266, 18.2-266.1, or subsection B of § 18.2-272 or of a similar ordinance within three hours of the alleged offense.

B. Any person so arrested for a violation of clause (i) or (ii) of § 18.2-266 or both, § 18.2-266.1 or subsection B of § 18.2-272 or of a similar ordinance shall submit to a breath test. If the breath test is unavailable or the person is physically unable to submit to the breath test, a blood test shall be given. The accused shall, prior to administration of the test, be advised by the person administering the test that he has the right to observe the process of analysis and to see the blood-alcohol reading on the equipment used to perform the breath test. If the equipment automatically produces a written printout of the breath test result, the printout, or a copy, shall be given to the accused.

C. A person, after having been arrested for a violation of clause (iii), (iv), or (v) of § 18.2-266 or § 18.2-266.1 or subsection B of § 18.2-272 or of a similar ordinance, may be required to submit to a blood test to determine the drug or both drug and alcohol content of his blood. When a person, after having been arrested for a violation of § 18.2-266 (i) or (ii) or both, submits to a breath test in accordance with subsection B or refuses to take or is incapable of taking such a breath test, he may be required to submit to tests to determine the drug or both drug and alcohol content of his blood if the law-enforcement officer has reasonable cause to believe the person was driving under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs, or the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.

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For drivers under the age of twenty one, the Virginia DWI statute states:

§ 18.2-266.1. Persons under age twenty-one driving after illegally consuming alcohol; penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of twenty-one to operate any motor vehicle after illegally consuming alcohol. Any such person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent or more by weight by volume or 0.02 grams or more per 210 liters of breath but less than 0.08 by weight by volume or less than 0.08 grams per 210 liters of breath as indicated by a chemical test administered as provided in this article shall be in violation of this section.

B. A violation of this section shall be punishable by forfeiture of such person’s license to operate a motor vehicle for a period of six months from the date of conviction and by a fine of not more than $500. The penalties and license forfeiture provisions set forth in §§ 16.1-278.9, 18.2-270 and 18.2-271 shall not apply to a violation of this section. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be eligible to attend an Alcohol Safety Action Program under the provisions of § 18.2-271.1 and may, in the discretion of the court, be issued a restricted license during the term of license suspension.

C. Notwithstanding §§ 16.1-278.8 and 16.1-278.9, upon adjudicating a juvenile delinquent based upon a violation of this section, the juvenile and domestic relations district court shall order disposition as provided in subsection B.

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If you are pulled over for a DWI, you may be subjected to a field sobriety test and may be asked to submit to a field breath test. You may refuse to submit to the field test but refusing to submit to the breathalizer at the station is a class one misdemeanor. The preliminary breath analysis statute states:

§ 18.2-267. Preliminary analysis of breath to determine alcoholic content of blood.

A. Any person who is suspected of a violation of § 18.2-266, 18.2-266.1, subsection B of § 18.2-272, or a similar ordinance shall be entitled, if such equipment is available, to have his breath analyzed to determine the probable alcoholic content of his blood. The person shall also be entitled, upon request, to observe the process of analysis and to see the blood-alcohol reading on the equipment used to perform the breath test. His breath may be analyzed by any police officer of the Commonwealth, or of any county, city or town, or by any member of a sheriff’s department in the normal discharge of his duties.

B. The Department of Forensic Science shall determine the proper method and equipment to be used in analyzing breath samples taken pursuant to this section and shall advise the respective police and sheriff’s departments of the same.

C. Any person who has been stopped by a police officer of the Commonwealth, or of any county, city or town, or by any member of a sheriff’s department and is suspected by such officer to be guilty of an offense listed in subsection A, shall have the right to refuse to permit his breath to be so analyzed, and his failure to permit such analysis shall not be evidence in any prosecution for an offense listed in subsection A.

D. Whenever the breath sample analysis indicates that alcohol is present in the person’s blood, the officer may charge the person with a violation of an offense listed in subsection A. The person so charged shall then be subject to the provisions of §§ 18.2-268.1 through 18.2-268.12, or of a similar ordinance.

E. The results of the breath analysis shall not be admitted into evidence in any prosecution for an offense listed in subsection A, the purpose of this section being to permit a preliminary analysis of the alcoholic content of the blood of a person suspected of having committed an offense listed in subsection A.

F. Police officers or members of any sheriff’s department shall, upon stopping any person suspected of having committed an offense listed in subsection A, advise the person of his rights under the provisions of this section.

G. Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the provisions of §§ 18.2-268.1 through 18.2-268.12.

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As discussed above, refusal to submit to a breath or blood test at the station is a separate crime. The relevant statute provides:

§ 18.2-268.3. Refusal of tests; penalties; procedures.

A. It shall be unlawful for a person who is arrested for a violation of § 18.2-266, 18.2-266.1, or subsection B of § 18.2-272 or of a similar ordinance to unreasonably refuse to have samples of his blood or breath or both blood and breath taken for chemical tests to determine the alcohol or drug content of his blood as required by § 18.2-268.2 and any person who so unreasonably refuses is guilty of a violation of this section.

B. When a person is arrested for a violation of § 18.2-51.4, 18.2-266, 18.2-266.1 or, subsection B of § 18.2-272 or of a similar ordinance and such person refuses to permit blood or breath or both blood and breath samples to be taken for testing as required by § 18.2-268.2, the arresting officer shall advise the person, from a form provided by the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court, that (i) a person who operates a motor vehicle upon a highway in the Commonwealth is deemed thereby, as a condition of such operation, to have consented to have samples of his blood and breath taken for chemical tests to determine the alcohol or drug content of his blood, (ii) a finding of unreasonable refusal to consent may be admitted as evidence at a criminal trial, (iii) the unreasonable refusal to do so constitutes grounds for the revocation of the privilege of operating a motor vehicle upon the highways of the Commonwealth, (iv) the criminal penalty for unreasonable refusal within 10 years of a prior conviction for driving while intoxicated or unreasonable refusal is a Class 2 misdemeanor, and (v) the criminal penalty for unreasonable refusal within 10 years of any two prior convictions for driving while intoxicated or unreasonable refusal is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The form from which the arresting officer shall advise the person arrested shall contain a brief statement of the law requiring the taking of blood or breath samples, a statement that a finding of unreasonable refusal to consent may be admitted as evidence at a criminal trial, and the penalties for refusal.

C. The arresting officer shall, under oath before the magistrate, execute the form and certify, (i) that the defendant has refused to permit blood or breath or both blood and breath samples to be taken for testing; (ii) that the officer has read the portion of the form described in subsection B to the arrested person; (iii) that the arrested person, after having had the portion of the form described in subsection B read to him, has refused to permit such sample or samples to be taken; and (iv) how many, if any, violations of this section, § 18.2-266, or any offense described in subsection E of § 18.2-270 the arrested person has been convicted of within the last 10 years. Such sworn certification shall constitute probable cause for the magistrate to issue a warrant or summons charging the person with unreasonable refusal. The magistrate shall attach the executed and sworn advisement form to the warrant or summons. The warrant or summons for a first offense under this section shall be executed in the same manner as a criminal warrant or summons. If the person arrested has been taken to a medical facility for treatment or evaluation of his medical condition, the arresting officer may read the advisement form to the person at the medical facility, and issue, on the premises of the medical facility, a summons for a violation of this section in lieu of securing a warrant or summons from the magistrate. The magistrate or arresting officer, as the case may be, shall forward the executed advisement form and warrant or summons to the appropriate court.

D. A first violation of this section is a civil offense and subsequent violations are criminal offenses. For a first offense the court shall suspend the defendant’s privilege to drive for a period of one year. This suspension period is in addition to the suspension period provided under § 46.2-391.2.

If a person is found to have violated this section and within 10 years prior to the date of the refusal he was found guilty of any of the following: a violation of this section, a violation of § 18.2-266, or a violation of any offense listed in subsection E of § 18.2-270, arising out of separate occurrences or incidents, he is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor and the court shall suspend the defendant’s privilege to drive for a period of three years. This suspension period is in addition to the suspension period provided under § 46.2-391.2.

If a person is found guilty of a violation of this section and within 10 years prior to the date of the refusal he was found guilty of any two of the following: a violation of this section, a violation of § 18.2-266, or a violation of any offense listed in subsection E of § 18.2-270 arising out of separate occurrences or incidents, he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and the court shall suspend the defendant’s privilege to drive for a period of three years. This suspension period is in addition to the suspension period provided under § 46.2-391.2.

Contact a Virginia DUI / DWI lawyer

Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorney representing clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:

Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions). Continue reading

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