What to know about DUI in Virginia
Photo of Attorneys T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez walking outside.
Photo of T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez

What to know about DUI in Virginia

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2021 | Criminal Defense

DUI stands for driving under the influence, though other states may use different initials. Drunk driving is illegal in all states and Washington D.C. because intoxication impairs judgment. While drivers in North Chesterfield, Virginia, should not drink and drive, it helps to know the state laws and possible penalties.

Overview of DUI in Virginia

Virginia considers drivers of watercraft or vehicles intoxicated if they register a blood alcohol content of .08. The driver can also get a DUI under .08, if their ability to drive is impaired from drugs or alcohol. They can not register more than .1 mg per liter for methamphetamine or more than .02 mg per liter of cocaine or PCP.

A CDL driver can not register more than.04 on a chemical test, and their license can get suspended for refusing a test. Virginia has a law that makes it possible for drivers to get a DUI even if they are not actually driving if they have actual physical control of the vehicle. While there is no standard definition of physical control, a driver sleeping in the vehicle with keys in the ignition may be charged.


A first DUI offense commonly includes penalties of a maximum $2500 fine, up to one year of jail, and a maximum one-year license suspension. If the BAC for a first offense is between .15 and .20, a minimum five-day jail term is required.

A second offense carries possible penalties of up to a one-year jail term, a three-year license suspension, and up to a $5,000 fine. The driver must serve a minimum of ten days in jail with a BAC of .08, 20 days with a BAC between .15 and .20.

All offense levels require the driver to install an ignition interlock device for six months or longer after license restoration. Implied consent laws make refusing a chemical test a punishable offense with a penalty of a one-year license suspension.

Virginia has some of the toughest DUI laws, but mistakes can happen. In some cases, the driver may get leniency for a first offense. Some first offenders may plea down to a “wet reckless,” which is a lesser charge.