Whenever you are operating a vehicle, a boat, or a watercraft in Virginia,
the law considers you to be driving or operating under the influence (DUI)
if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or above.
However, you can be convicted of
DUI with a lower BAC if the prosecution can prove that your ability to operate
one of these machines was impaired due to alcohol or drugs.
When we say “drugs,” we’re not just referring to illegal
street drugs. You can get arrested for driving under the influence of
lawfully prescribed medications, such as Xanax, Ambien, or OxyContin as well.
In the past 20 years, the number of Americans taking prescription medications
has increased dramatically and as a result, so has the number of drug-related DUIs.
Since many medications cause drowsiness, blurred vision, and dizziness,
driving while impaired by such drugs can be as dangerous as driving under
the influence of alcohol.
What are the penalties for a first DUI?
Here are the penalties for a first DUI (drug or alcohol-related) offense
- A minimum $250 fine,
- One year driver’s license revocation,
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID), and
- You may be required to pay up to $1,000 for the cost of emergency medical
services, law enforcement, or fire rescue personnel.
If your BAC was 0.15% or more but less than .20%, then you will be required
to spend five days in jail. If your BAC was .20% or higher, then you will
be required to spend 10 days in jail.
Beware of the Hidden Consequences of a DUI
The above are the standard penalties for a DUI offense, they do not include
the hidden consequences of a DUI. We do want you to be aware that a DUI
can affect child custody for people who are in the middle of a divorce
or a child custody battle.
A DUI conviction will lead to sky high auto insurance premiums for years
to come, and depending on what you do for a living, your employer could
decide to let you go. This is especially the case if you work in education,
law enforcement, as a commercial driver, or in the medical field.
Lastly, a DUI conviction stays on your criminal record, which causes problems
during job interviews. Many employers will see a DUI on an application
and say, “Thanks for applying, but no thanks.”
The best way to avoid these consequences is to beat the DUI charge in the
first place. To discuss your legal options,
contact Carlson & Collier for a free consultation.