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What is Driving Under the Influence in Leesburg?

The following is information on what constitutes driving under the influence in Leesburg, Virginia and common mistakes that those charged make. To discuss the details of your case, or learn more about driving under the influence, consult with a Leesburg DUI lawyer today.

If you’ve been arrested for suspicion of drunk driving in Leesburg, Virginia, you have been likely charged with violating code section 18.2-266.

Under this code section, the Commonwealth of Virginia must prove certain evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. In Virginia, unlike some other jurisdictions, driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are merged into one code section. This code section is 18.2-266. There are four different subsections of 18.2-266 for which you may be convicted of the offense of driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence.

They include:

  • (1) Driving with a blood alcohol level above 0.08 as registered by chemical test
  • (2) Driving under the influence of alcohol regardless of the BAC to the point that it impairs your driving behavior
  • (3) Driving under the influence of drugs to the point of impairment, and
  • (4) Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs in a combination that impairs your ability to drive a motor vehicle safely. In addition there are certain per se levels for drug offenses although these are rarely seen.

Do You Need to Blow 0.08 To Get Charged

Attorneys are often asked whether or not you need to blow in excess of 0.08 on the breath test machine, also known as the ECIR/II machine in Virginia, in order to be convicted of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated. This is a common misconception.

Pursuant to Virginia Code Section 18.2-266(ii) you may be convicted of driving under the influence simply for being under the influence of alcohol regardless of the BAC. Sometimes the BAC is not available, such as in the case of an accident or the driver may refuse to get a breath test or blood test. In these instances the Commonwealth may pursue a prosecution even when a test result does not exist.

Also, if the driving behavior and observations of the officer, including the field sobriety tests, are negatively illustrative, the Commonwealth may proceed with the prosecution even if the breath level is below 0.08.

Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in DUI Cases

The most common mistake that people who are charged with DUI cases make is that they simply walk into the courthouse and plead guilty.

The most common way to avoid this mistake in a DUI case is to be as prepared as possible. This means reviewing the evidence and issuing a subpoena for witnesses with evidence that may be necessary to the defense.

In addition, it means reviewing all of the evidence that may be presented by the Commonwealth and determining what defenses may exist.  If you are properly prepared, then you are less apt to make the common mistake and simply concede guilt. This is why it is imperative that you contact a Leesbrug DUI lawyer who can advise you of all your legal options rather than just simply pleading guilty.