In Virginia, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .08 percent. Drivers age 21 or older who are operating a vehicle at this level of intoxication can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). The legal limit drops to .04 percent for commercial drivers and .02 percent for those under the legal drinking age of 21.
Implied Consent Law
Virginia drivers are all subject to the state’s implied consent laws. This means that if you are arrested with probable cause for driving under the influence, you are required to a chemical test of your breath or blood. You may also be asked to take a field sobriety test before you are even arrested, but you don’t have to agree to this preliminary test. Once you are arrested, however, if you do not consent to a blood or breath test, your license will automatically be suspended for a one-year period. The suspension increases to three years for subsequent offenses (or refusals). This applies if your second offense occurs 10 years or less after your first offense. If more than 10 years have passed between your first and second offense, your second refusal will carry only a one-year suspension.
Multiple DUI convictions can result in a felony charge. When you are convicted of a DUI, the court will “look back” for a period of 10 years for prior convictions. If you receive a third such conviction in 10 years, you will be charged with a felony. Your jail time will depend on how close the third offense was to the second and whether or not there were any minors in the car with you. You will be fined at least $1,000, and if your license is eventually reinstated, you will have to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle that will prevent you from starting the car without first passing a breathalyzer.
Changes to Virginia DUI Laws
In 2010, Virginia DUI laws were changed to require that your car be impounded if you continue to drive on a suspended license after you have been convicted of a DUI. In this event, your car will be impounded for at least 90 days. Additionally, school bus drivers now face increased Class 1 misdemeanor charges if they are convicted driving a bus while under the influence.
Four Senate bills passed in 2009 made changes to Virginia DUI laws. To get your license restored after a second DUI conviction, you must now have an ignition interlock device installed. This is for all second-time offenders, no matter when their first conviction occurred. Also, if you are convicted of a DUI and are required to use an ignition interlock device, but you drive a vehicle without doing so, your license will be revoked for a full year.
In 2008, House Bill 719 specified penalties four underage DUIs. It made the offense a Class 1 misdemeanor and requires convicted individual to forfeit their driver’s licenses for one year.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Virginia?
Virginia has very strict laws concerning driving under the influence (DUI). Just as in locations throughout the U.S., the legal alcohol limit in Virginia is .08 percent. Penalties associated with violating DUI laws, however, are more severe than in many other places.
An important factor in DUI convictions is a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Following are some designations that can affect penalties:
- For a BAC of between .08 percent and .15 percent, a person may be punished with a $250 fine and license revocation for one year, among other penalties.
- For a BAC of .15 percent to .20 percent, a person may have to serve a five-day jail term in addition to the fine and license revocation period.
- For a BAC of over .20 percent, a person may face a sentence of ten days in jail in addition to the other punishments of a first DUI offense.
It is important to note that not all classes of drivers are subject to these BAC designations. A person operating a commercial vehicle, for example, can be charged with DUI with a BAC of .04 percent. Someone not of legal drinking age can be arrested for driving with a BAC of .02 percent or greater.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Virginia
Anyone convicted of driving under the influence must have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed. This equipment requires that a person submit a passing breath test before a vehicle will start.
Typically, IID requirements depend upon the number of DUI offenses. For example:
- After a first offense, a person must get an IID for restricted driving privileges.
- A second DUI requires an IID on every owned and operated vehicle.
- A third conviction requires DMV-mandated IID installation for restricted privileges or full license restoration, even if not court mandated.
The driver must pay all costs of an ignition interlock device, including service fees for its installation and maintenance.
Virginia DUI Penalties
Virginia DUI penalties and drunk driving consequences for drivers over the age of 21 are based on a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher. Drivers younger than 21 have a legal limit of .02 percent, and commercial drivers have a legal limit of .04 percent.
The act of driving in Virginia constitutes consent to take a blood alcohol concentration test. This is considered “implied consent” under state law. If an officer suspects an individual to be driving under the influence, the driver can be required to take a BAC test. Even if the test is not given at the time the driver is stopped, the prosecutor could still charge the driver with DUI.
Individuals under 21 caught driving with a BAC of .02 percent or higher face a license suspension of up to one year. This is added to the administrative license suspension, or ALS, that goes into effect at the scene when police confiscate the license. Other penalties include a minimum $500 fine or 50 hours of community service. The driver may be required to participate in the Alcohol Safety Action Program and may have their license restricted. Virginia DUI penalties and drunk driving consequences for drivers over the age of 21 depend on past offenses, time frame and BAC test results.
Penalties for a 1st DUI offense
There is an administrative license suspension of seven days and a fine of between $250 to $300 for first-time offenders. The driver will have their license suspended for one year, and they will gain a criminal record. The court may also order participation in ASAP, require an ignition interlock device and may restrict the person’s driver’s license.
Penalties for a 2nd DUI offense
A second DUI offense results in a 60-day license suspension and a minimum $500 fine. The driver’s license is revoked indefinitely, and any court-ordered restitution will be required. A mandatory one month to one year of jail time is required if the second DUI occurred less than five years from the first offense. A mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail is imposed if the charge occurred within five to 10 years from the first offense. The court may order an ignition interlock device, and it is possible the driver’s license will be restricted.
Penalties for a 3rd DUI offense
Third offenses require license suspension until the trial is held. The driver goes to jail for 90 days if the DUI is within 10 years of the first offense or for six months if it occurred within five years. There is a minimum $1,000 fine and indefinite license revocation. The driver may be required to install an ignition interlock device. The person’s drivers license may be restricted.
Penalties for a 4th DUI offense
After a fourth offense, Virginia DUI penalties impose a license suspension until trial. A $1,000 fine is imposed along with a one-year jail term. The driver’s license is revoked indefinitely, and court-ordered restitution must be paid. This offense constitutes a felony charge, and the vehicle could be seized and forfeited.