Every 53 minutes in America, a life is lost in a drunken driving crash; this equates to 27 people every day. (Madd, 2013) If you are like most people this statistic just made you gasp for air. Drunk driving not only affects the person behind the wheel but it puts the safety of others that are not under the influence at risk. Fortunately, Virginia has some very strict penalties to discourage driving under the influence.
In Virginia, whether you are operating a motor vehicle, boat, watercraft or moped and have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher you are considered driving under the influence. However, Zero Tolerance law makes it illegal for anyone under the age 21 to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or above and are considered driving under the influence and will be penalized the same as a person age 21 or older. (Stim, 2014) Also a driver can be charged with driving under the influence if stopped by law enforcement and have an open container is in view. Consequently, driving under the influence offenses or refusing to take a breath test will automatically suspend ones driver’s license for a minimum of seven to sixty days or until trial, whichever comes first. Subsequently once convicted of driving under the influence penalties will follow. Mandatory fines will be a minimum of $250-$1000. (Stim, 2014)
Jail time can be a minimum ten days to a year or more. Drivers’ licenses can be revoked for a minimum of one year to indefinite. Additionally, the driver will be required to obtain SR-22 insurance which is a form filed by your insurance company proving mandatory proof of financial responsibility is in place and can be very expensive. Undoubtedly, continuing to drive with a suspended license because of a driving under the influence related offense is a class six felony and a mandatory term of one to five years or fine of $2,500 or both will be enforced. (Stim, 2014) Equally important Virginia has an agreement with other states to share information about convictions like driving under the influence. Not to mention a driver can be charged with a driving under the influence offense regardless of their blood alcohol concentration as long as impairment can be proven. Impairment is usually proven from observation of the police officer, the drivers’ physical appearance and sobriety test. In fact simple things can cause a police officer to pull you over for example: (MADD, 2013)
• Making a turn widely
• Sudden braking
• Being overly cautious
Many of the above examples are things that we all are guilty of on a regular basis and are completely sober. As a result you can be charged with an offense...