Individuals in Virginia and elsewhere will get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle in a wide range of conditions. Maybe one is ill and took an over-the-counter medication that has drowsy side-effects. It is possible that a person suffered an injury, is on prescribed medication for the pain and experiences the impairing effects of the medication. Also, an individual may have stopped at a bar after work for happy hour and feels the effects of a few alcoholic beverages. In any of these matters, an individual may feel as if it is safe for them to drive despite having some form of impairment due to medications or alcohol.
In any of the above situations, a motorist could be pulled over by the police. If law enforcement officers believe that an individual is driving while intoxicated, the motorist could be charged with a DWI. Depending on the situation, a motorist could face a wide range of penalties; however, they could also have various defense options available to reduce or dismiss the charges against them.
DWI penalties in Virginia
In the state of Virginia, a motorist convicted of a DWI face a mandatory minimum fine of $250 for the first offense. Additionally, if one’s blood alcohol level wat at least 0.15 but not more than 0.20, he or she faces a mandatory minimum period of five days in jail. If the blood alcohol level was found to be more than 0.20, he or she will face a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail.
For convictions of subsequent offenses, the penalties increase. For a second offense occurring within less than five years, one faces a fine of at least $500 and confinement between a month and one year. If the second offense occurred between five and 10 years, the fine remains the same while confinement is for not less than a month.
Defense options for a DWI are dependent on the situation. In some cases, one may have multiple defense options. This most common includes asserting a lawful stop, which questions whether there was probable cause for the initial traffic stop. One could also question whether the Breathalyzer was calibrated and functioning properly and whether the officer was properly training in conducting the field sobriety test or Breathalyzer.
Facing allegations of a DUI may seem minute compared to other criminal charges. While this is considered a traffic violation, it can still carry with it serious penalties and hefty fines. Therefore, it is important that motorists accused of a DUI understand their situation and what defensive action they could take to help reduce and even dismiss the charges against them.