Due to the growing lack of social responsibility when it comes to alcohol consumption, states have started cracking down harder on drinking and driving laws. More checkpoints are being put out before and during holidays, and more police are on hand in areas with bars and clubs in order to enforce these laws.
Driving under the influence, otherwise known as DUI, or DWI in some states, is the charge of being intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, drugs, or any combination of the three that can impair your ability to operate a vehicle. The number of drinks you can consume differs depending on your weight, so there is not a very well-defined way to decide if you have surpassed the legal amount. In Virginia, if you are over the age of twenty-one, having a blood alcohol content of .08% is considered enough to charge you with a DUI. If you are under the legal drinking age of twenty-one and have a blood alcohol content of .02%, you will still be charged with a DUI as you are under the legal age of consumption. Commercial drivers also have a specific limit. If you are a commercial driver and have a .04% blood alcohol level, you can be arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
If you choose to drink and drive, you are putting yourself and those around you at risk. As you consume alcohol, your brain functions slow down and become suppressed, making it harder to react as needed. If you are pulled over and suspected of being intoxicated, an officer will ask you to submit to a breath or blood test to determine if there is an alcohol or drug content in your blood. If you cannot complete the breathalyzer test, then they will then use a blood test. If either test comes back under the legal limit, the officer may ask you to find someone else to drive home, but most likely no legal action will be taken. If it is at or above the legal limit, then you will be taken to jail. If you refuse to submit to the test, the state of Virginia can fine you and will suspend your license automatically for up to one year.
When charged with a DUI, the first thing you should do is obtain legal counsel. Driving while intoxicated charge carries a slew of legal and personal consequences and you will want to make sure you completely understand what you face. A DUI attorney will be able to explain what has happened and what to expect over the course of your case, and counsel you as to what actions you need to take next. If you feel you are in need of a DUI attorney, contact Ferguson, Rawls, and Raines P.C. to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys today.
If convicted of a DUI, the aftermath can be life-changing. There are hefty fines associated with the charge along with the court costs. If it is your first offense, you may be required to go to alcohol and accident prevention program which will not only take up your time but typically can cost a lot as well. You will be required to carry SR-22 Insurance. SR-22 auto insurance is a policy that has a higher premium due to being considered a greater liability by the insurance company. These types of policies can be almost triple the cost of standard auto insurance. Depending on the circumstances of your charge, or whether or not it is your first offense, you could also face jail time. On top of these consequences, it will go on your permanent record, and most companies will not hire you if you have a DUI conviction on your record. If you are already a professional or commercial driver, it may cost you your job.
Driving under the influence carries serious consequences. The best way to avoid getting a DUI is not to drink and drive. However, there are now many options available for personal breathalyzer devices to be able to test yourself should you believe you are over the limit. These come in many forms from one-time use to multiple uses. In any case, should you find yourself in the position of being charged with driving under the influence, contact an attorney at Ferguson, Rawls, and Raines P.C. immediately to discuss your best course of action.