Answering your Frequently Asked Virginia DUI/DWI Questions

 

A DUI/DWI charge in Virginia is a serious charge that can come with scary consequences. It’s normal for someone going through the process of being charged for a DUI/DWI to have a lot of questions because multiple outcomes are possible.

At Parks Zeigler, our experienced DUI defense attorneys are ready to help you understand the ins and outs of your case and answer your questions. Listed below are some of the most common questions asked about DUI cases in Virginia. If you still have questions regarding your case, contact us today to get connected with a trusted Parks Zeigler DUI defense attorney.

I was just arrested for a DUI. What are my rights?

After you are taken into custody, you must take a blood or breath test to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). Refusal to do so will lead to legal consequences; however, you do have the right to refuse answering questions. Once you are under arrest, you have the right to an attorney and have the attorney present with you during your questioning. Legally, you have the right to defend yourself and challenge your DUI charges.

What are the consequences of a DUI in Virginia? For an underage DUI?

The consequences of a Virginia DUI charge vary based on the specifics of the case. In Virginia, you are legally considered driving under the influence if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher.  it’s even lower for those under the age limit. The consequences you face will depend on your BAC at the time of your offense. These penalties include (but are not limited to):

  • Fees and fines ranging from $250 to $2,500
  • Suspension of your driver’s license up to 12 months
  • Restriction of your driver’s license
  • Mandatory installment of ignition interlock
  • Completion of the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP)
  • Community service
  • Mandatory jail time

Certain situations like driving with a minor, committing property damage, or refusing to cooperate with law enforcement will increase the consequences of your charge. These situations could require consequences like higher fines or mandatory jail time. Additionally, a higher BAC will lead to more intense repercussions. If your BAC was anywhere from .15 to .20 there’s a mandatory five days in jail. A BAC greater than .20 requires 10 mandatory days in jail.

Virginia adheres to a Zero Tolerance Law when it comes to underage drinking and driving. Any alcohol found in your system will require a $500 minimum fine and a one-year license suspension if you are under the age of 21. In some situations, the court will allow the defendant to complete community service instead of paying the $500 fine.

Will I lose my license?

A judge’s decision to suspend a license is mandatory. If you receive a DUI or DWI charge in Virginia, there is no way working around the license suspension or restriction penalty. When you are first arrested for DUI, your license is suspended for a seven-day minimum. The judge in your court case will determine the length of your suspension or restriction. You most likely will be required to install an ignition interlock on your vehicle before you are permitted to drive again.

Does anything change if I’m not a VA resident?

Even if you don’t permanently reside in Virginia, if you are arrested for DUI you are subject to local DUI penalties which include fines, probation, or jail time. You are required to attend all court hearings unless the Virginia court allows a local attorney to stand in for you. Additionally, the majority of the states follow the interstate Driver’s License Compact. This means your license will most likely be suspended in your home state, and a charge in Virginia would count as a DUI conviction in your home state.

Am I legally obligated to complete a field sobriety test?

In short, no. There’s no legal obligation to perform a field sobriety test. There are several instances where you may have to refuse a field sobriety test, especially if there are physical health or environmental implications. It’s important that you alert the police officer administering these tests if you suffer from any medical conditions or health problems like asthma, vertigo, etc.

What are the consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test?

It’s important to note that refusing to blow in the handheld portable breathalyzer (used on the side of the road) is not the same as refusing to blow into the Intox EC/IR II testing device. Legally, you are obligated to refuse blowing into the handheld portable breathalyzer without consequences; however, you cannot refuse to blow into the Intox EC/IR II without legal consequences. A conviction for unreasonably refusing the breath or blood DUI test will result in an immediate one-year license suspension.

How can an attorney help me with my DUI case?

DUI charges are serious, and such serious cases require serious, seasoned attorneys to protect your rights and defend you in court. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help you understand and work through your DUI case during and after you are charged.

Your need for legal representation doesn’t end after your case has closed. DUI charges (especially serious charges) can leave a trail of complications for life after serving your penalties. The DUI defense team at Parks Zeigler is here to answer your questions and help you cut through the legal jargon as you move on with life after your charges. Get in contact with our DUI attorneys today to get the legal counsel you deserve for your case.

The Attorneys at Parks Zeigler Can Help Answer Your Questions

If you or someone you love is facing a DUI or DWI charge, you need an experienced DUI defense attorney to help you successfully fight your Virginia DUI violation. Call 888-691-9319 or fill out this short form today.

 

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