DUIs are fairly common in Virginia, so it is a good idea to understand your rights and duties while driving to avoid DUI charges and to have basic knowledge of how to deal with them if you are ever stopped under suspicion of drunk driving. Below is a brief guide to the DUI laws in Virginia.

Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) in Virginia

In Virginia, you can be charged with a DUI if you are found driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. The law also recognizes that blood alcohol concentration cannot be the absolute marker of impairment, so you can be considered under the influence even if your BAC is lower than 0.08% when your ability to operate the vehicle is otherwise impaired.

If you are under the age of 21 and are found driving with any amount of alcohol in your system, you will receive an administrative license suspension. If your BAC is over 0.02% and less than 0.08%, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year, and you will pay a fine of $500. Your penalty may also include at least 50 hours of community service. If your BAC was 0.08% or higher, your penalties will be the same as anyone over 21.

Implied Consent Laws in Virginia

As per the implied consent laws in Virginia, if you are driving a motor vehicle on Virginia highways, it is assumed that you have consented to submit to a blood or breath test to determine your BAC. You are still allowed to refuse the test, but your refusal will have severe consequences.

For a first refusal, your license will be suspended for one year. A second refusal will lead to a three-year suspension and a Class 1 misdemeanor charge.

DUI Penalties in Virginia

What To Expect After a DUI Arrest in Virginia

After you are arrested for a DUI in Virginia, the arresting officer will request a sample of your blood or breath to determine your BAC. If your BAC is higher than 0.08% or you refuse to submit to the test, your license is automatically suspended for seven days.

However, if this is your second DUI, your license is suspended for 60 days or until your trial, whichever is the earliest. If this is your third DUI within five years, your license will be suspended until your trial, and you may be denied bail before the trial. The arresting officer will serve you a notice of suspension and take possession of your license, which will then be delivered to the magistrate.

During this suspension period, you can request the district court to review the suspension. The court will rescind the suspension if you can prove that:

  • There was no probable cause for the arrest
  • There was no probable cause for the issuance of the warrant or
  • There was no probable cause for the issuance of the petition

Your license will be returned to you after the suspension period is over or if it is rescinded.

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Last Update: June 25, 2024

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