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Consequences of Driving Under the Influence Update!

You’ve heard of DUI and DWI. They are acronyms for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Call it whichever you want, they’re the exact same thing. Some states may differentiate amongst the two, but in Virginia, their meanings are identical. Why? Because there is only one code section under Title 18.2 of the Virginia Code that lays out the charge for when you get arrested for suspicion of driving while drunk.

Under Title 18.2, Section 266 (18.2-266) of the Virginia Code, if you drive under the influence by exhibiting you cannot properly operate a motor vehicle or have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, you can be found guilty of DUI.

Did you know that depending on which county you were charged in, what your BAC is, and how many times you’ve been arrested for a DUI, it carries some mandatory jail and/or harsher punishment? Yes, much like anything in the world, the more times you do it, or meet a certain threshold, you get hammered harder.

Almost anywhere in Virginia, if you are pulled over for a traffic violation, determined to have been drinking and driving, arrested and subsequently blow a 0.08-0.14 BAC, you most likely won’t face jail if you’re convicted. However, if you blow a 0.15-0.20 BAC, you’ll spend a mandatory 5 days in jail. If your BAC is above 0.20, you’ll spend a mandatory 10 days in jail if this was your first DUI arrest. If you’re arrested for a 2nd DUI within 5 years, you face a mandatory 20 days in jail. If it’s your 2nd DUI within 10 years, you’ll spend a mandatory 10 days. If your BAC is above 0.15, the mandatory time doubles, too. If you’re arrested a 3rd time, it’s a felony and you’re in a really rough situation.

But what are the other consequences? Will you be able to drive after a DUI charge? Your license will always be suspended. If you have to spend some time in jail, you’ll eventually be out and will need to get around for work or for your many other responsibilities and obligations. The court won’t allow you to do whatever you want. If you meet the requirements and are eligible, you can receive restricted driving privileges to go to work, school, doctors appointments, drive your kids to school, and go to religious services. But that’s about it. You have to get an ignition interlock so your engine won’t start if it detects alcohol from your breath. All of these regulations are in place because lawmakers believe that because you put your life and the lives of others in danger when you decided to drive after drinking. These are your post-conviction punishments to deter you from doing it again.

But guess what? As of July 1, 2020, you can drive like you were never charged, arrested, or found guilty of DUI. Well, almost. Now, you can go drive to granny’s house and have pie, go get groceries, meet buddies for tee time at the golf course, or get your nails done at your favorite salon. Pretty much you can drive to wherever you desire. You just have to keep the ignition interlock on your car for 12 months. Before, it used to be 6 months and you couldn’t do any of that under more stringent regulations. If you did, you’d get re-arrested and most likely spend some significant time in jail.

Are you facing jail or some of these consequences? You need someone to walk you through this and fight for your life and your rights. Give me a call. Consultations are always free.

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