DUI laws in Virginia: What to know, and what’s new

According to the CDC, one person in the U.S. dies in an alcohol-related collision every 50 minutes. To combat the tragic consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI), Virginia has adopted harsh penalties for first-time offenders. Other states that have adopted harsher DUI laws have seen a decrease by as much as 52% in alcohol related deaths, and a reduction in repeat drinking and driving offenses by an average of 67%.

drunk driver holding a bottle behind the steering wheel

Virginia DUI penalties

  • In Virginia, a conviction requires that an ignition interlock device be installed, at the owner’s expense, for a period of no less than six months.
  • In addition to the changes regarding first time offenders, the law provides harsh penalties for a repeat offender. For any driver previously convicted of a felony DUI, a second DUI conviction will automatically be a Class 6 felony, with a mandatory one-year prison sentence.

male driver being arrested by police officer

Measuring blood alcohol concentration

Virginia measures blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to determine if someone is driving under the influence. The permitted limits vary by age and operator’s license type.

  • An adult driver with a BAC of .08% or higher can be arrested for DUI.
  • If the driver is under the age of 21, they can be arrested for DUI with a BAC of only .02%.
  • A driver with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and a BAC of .04% or higher can also be arrested for driving under the influence.

Even if you have a few drinks and think you are fine to drive, your ability to drive safely may be impaired. A person with a BAC of .15 is over 300 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash. A person with a BAC much lower can still have their judgment affected and reaction time slowed. Please don’t drink and drive.

For decades, the personal injury lawyers at Allen and Allen have counseled and guided families and injured persons through the complex legal issues arising out of accidents caused by drunk drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, call Allen & Allen at 866-388-1307 for a free consultation.