How Is A DUI Defined In Virginia?
There is no difference between DUI and DWI in Virginia. Virginia Code 18.2-266, defines the state’s definition of driving under the influence. Under these laws, individuals who operate any motor vehicle, car, motorcycle, moped or train with a blood alcohol concentration or BAC of 0.08% or whose driving abilities are impaired by alcohol can be charged with a DUI. The law goes on to state that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any narcotic, drug or intoxicating substance. The legal limit for driving under the influence of drugs is based on the substance.
For example, 0.02 milligrams per liter of blood for cocaine or 0.1 milligram for methamphetamine, 0.01 milligram for PCP or angel dust and 0.1 milligram for MDMA or ecstasy are some examples of intoxicating substances. Virginia Law code section 18.2-266 prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle of any kind, any engine or even a train under the influence of drugs, alcohol or any substance that impairs your ability to drive or operate the safety of a vehicle safely. It is a very broad statute that covers the operation of any kind of movable engine and under any circumstances where your ability to operate that engine is impaired.
Alcohol intoxication is usually what we see people charged with in court, but it also could be due to drugs such as marijuana or cocaine. It could even be due to a prescription medicine that your doctor has prescribed for you. If you are driving under the influence of any prescriptions, you could be charged with a DUI. DUI and DWI are acronyms and are just terms of art used to describe the same thing; Driving Under the Influence and Driving While Intoxicated are referred to as the same crime.
Do You See A Typical DUI Client In Virginia?
I cannot say that there is a typical DUI client in Virginia. Our experience has shown us that DUI really can touch and affect anyone from all walks of life. We have experience representing a very diverse client base. It spans across all races and ethnicities. We have represented professionals such as CEO’s, professional athletes, hourly employees, and students, those looking for work and stay at home parents.
A DUI can happen at any time. It can occur following a family function, a wedding, a happy hour or just a long day after work where you want to stop and have a couple of drinks. It really crosses all sections of life and different times of the day.
What Are The Top Misconceptions People Have About DUI Arrests?
Some of the misconceptions that we commonly see are that people think that their life is over once they are arrested for a DUI. I certainly understand, because when we talk to clients on a daily basis that are facing a DUI, this can be the most serious event that is going on in their lives. Most often in our consultations they make us aware that they are very worried about the outcome, that everything they have worked for thus far in life is going to be over with.
One thing that we try to do is to remind our clients that this is only a small moment in time. We have in our experience, represented a few folks involved with DUIs that end up having negative consequences because of their respective employment due to security clearances and specific restrictions of their jobs. For most of our clients though, I am happy to say that we can get them through this matter and then at some point, they will look back and say that they have become a better person because of it and that they were able to use this as a pivotal time to improve their lives for the better.
We also noticed that some folks think after a DUI arrest they are automatically considered a felon. Generally all DUI charges in Virginia are misdemeanors, there are some factors that can elevate the offense to a felony such as if there is a subsequent third DUI conviction or if there is DUI manslaughter. But except for those extenuating circumstances, most DUIs that we see are Class 1 misdemeanors under Virginia Law. Another misconception that we see is that folks feel that any attorney will suffice. They have heard terrible things from family members or co-workers about their experience with a DUI that it was just useless, and that they should just plead guilty.
You see people who hire an attorney that typically does not practice in the district that they were charged in or they hire an attorney that is the cheapest they can find. The problem with that is police officers have a lot of experience arresting intoxicated drivers and they have a lot of experience testifying in court about drunk drivers. Prosecutors have a lot of experience prosecuting these folks on a daily basis. So it is very important to have an experienced Virginia DUI attorney to fight for your rights. You want an attorney that has real DUI trial experience when you are up against those issues.
For more information on DUI Charges in Virginia, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (703) 552-2462 today.
Get your questions answered - call us to schedule your Free* consultation (703) 552-2462