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Jail Following a Virginia DUI

When you have been arrested for a DUI, the next place is jail. Arrests can be frightening experiences and it is important that you know what you are dealing with them facing charges, an arrest, and jail time. When this has happened, you need to contact a skilled Virginia DUI lawyer so that you can get released and so they can begin building a proper defense on your behalf.

Booking and Holding Process

Booking or central booking is something that is part of the jail. It is the administrative end of the jail where a person is processed. By contrast, the jail itself is where the person is physically confined.

After a person is arrested in Virginia, they are going to be brought to a local jail or detention center. Central booking is a place where a person is processed into the jail. The first step is to have their information input into the system, and the second is to have their property inventoried. These and other preliminary steps are taken to process a person into the jail.

After a person is booked, they are going to be placed into a holding cell, which is not necessarily in a Virginia jail. In the case of a DUI, detainees are placed into what one might think of as a drunk tank. Essentially, they are going to be held there until they are able to blow into a breathalyzer and not have anything in their system, at which point they will be released.

Breath test

After a person arrives at the jail following a DUI arrest, one should anticipate that they would take the breath test fairly quickly because of the fact that blood alcohol content tends to fall as the body metabolizes it. In general, police will try to have that test be administered at the first opportunity.

That being said, there has to be a waiting period of at least 20 minutes in order to allow any mouth alcohol to dissipate.

What Environment to Expect

It is difficult to generalize about a DUI jail in Virginia because there are so many of them. Some of them are fairly small, generally located in smaller counties. Some of them, such as the jails in the larger counties of Fairfax or Prince William, are large. In fact, they are bigger than some prisons.

The environment in jail is never something that someone wants to experience or looks forward to. Jails, in general, are safer and better places to serve time than prisons.

Medical Resources

The bigger jurisdictions, such as Fairfax or Prince William County, have full-time medical personnel available in each DUI jail in Virginia. That consists of someone who is a nurse or other trained medical staff. They are going to have the ability to see someone right away and do an initial evaluation of any medical situation that may be the case.

If there is a medical situation that the staff member has the training and experience to handle, then they will do so on the premises. If it is not, then they will have the subject be transported to a hospital nearby to be evaluated and treated.

Jail-Related Penalties

DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor when it is a first offense or a second offense. Therefore, the potential penalties include up to a year in jail. That said, there are a number of different degrees of DUI with accompanying penalties, depending on the circumstances of each case.

However, even on a first offense, if someone has a BAC of 0.15, there are minimum mandatory sentences. These become more severe, depending on how recent a prior DUI was and depending on how high the blood-alcohol content was at the time of the test.

Mandatory Minimum

A mandatory minimum sentence is a punishment that is prescribed by law, which a judge must impose on a defendant if they are found guilty. If a person is found guilty of a DUI offense with a BAC of 0.15 or higher but less than 0.21, there is a minimum mandatory sentence of five days in DUI jail in Virginia.

In that case, the judge does not have the discretion to waive the five-day minimum, nor can any good time credit be acquired or applied towards those five days.