Driving under the influence or “DUI” is a severe and all-too-common crime that can result in harsh penalties and other long-term consequences. A person may be guilty of driving while intoxicated if they are operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you or someone you know is facing charges for drinking and driving, attempting to fight such a claim in court can be challenging without an experienced criminal defense attorney. Fortunately, a skilled NoVa DUI lawyer could work to defend your claim and protect your rights from being unlawfully violated.
A “DUI” is a term used to describe the crime of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, also known as driving while intoxicated. A DUI is a punishable offense under Virginia Code §18.2-266 and provides for when a person is considered “intoxicated” and which substances are considered “drugs” for purposes of a DUI. A person to be considered “intoxicated” if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above. A person may also be charged with a DUI in cases where any controlled substance, self-administered intoxicant, or any combination of drugs impairs a person’s ability to operate a vehicle.
While a person may have consumed alcohol or a controlled substance prior to operating a vehicle, not every person in every instance may justifiably be considered to have committed an offense of driving under the influence. If a person has a DUI charge brought against them and is unsure how they should enter their plea, working with a knowledgeable NoVa attorney could provide them with useful information to help them decide.
Those who are charged and convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated could face serious penalties as a result. For a first-time offender, a DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries with it a mandatory fine of no less than $250. If the person’s BAC level is between 0.15 and 0.20, they may also serve a jail sentence of no less than five days, which increases to ten days if their BAC is 0.20 or above.
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol could also mean losing driving privileges. According to state law, a person convicted of a DUI may have their driver’s license suspended for one year following the date of the court’s judgment. Attempting to drive with a suspended driver’s license is a Class 1 misdemeanor that could result in a fine of $2,500, a one-year jail sentence, and the administrative revocation of the offender’s driver’s license. An attorney could help someone in NoVa work to reduce the potential penalties they may be facing after being charged with drunk driving.
A DUI conviction can have a lasting impression on your criminal record and drastically impact your life in the years to come. In cases where an individual has multiple drunk driving convictions, an additional criminal charge for driving under the influence could result in a felony DUI charge, which carries far heftier penalties.
If you were recently charged with driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you could face severe penalties and suffer serious ramifications as a result. To learn more about what could be done in defense of your case, reach out and contact a NoVa DUI lawyer.
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