DUI and DWI in Virginia
Virginia law does not distinguish between DWI and DUI.
Both carry the potential for up to one year in jail and up to $2,500, even if it is a first offense. A conviction for DWI or DUI will also require a person to complete the Alcohol Safety Action Plan Course, or ASAP, and that person’s privilege to drive in Virginia will be suspended for a period of one year. While a person may petition the court for a restricted license, as of July 1, 2012, any person requesting a restricted license will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device on his or her vehicle prior to obtaining that restricted license.
If an officer suspects that a driver is under the influence, the officer can ask that person to perform field sobriety tests. Based on the individual’s performance on those field sobriety tests, the officer may ask that person to take a preliminary breath test to determine if alcohol is present in that person’s system. The results of this test are not admissible at trial, but they may provide the officer with probable cause to arrest for suspicion of DWI. Once at the station, the suspect will be read the Implied Consent Statute and offered a breath test. The results of this test are admissible at trial, and if the person refuses to take the breath test, he or she may be charged civilly with Refusal.
The ramifications for a DUI or DWI conviction are long-lasting and expensive. A conviction for this will result in a criminal record that can negatively impact your personal and professional life. An attorney with experience in this field can explain possible defenses to these charges and different mitigation steps that can be taken prior to your trial date.