Norfolk DUI Attorney
Understanding Virginia DUI Laws
In Virginia, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving with a suspended license and reckless driving are categorized as serious traffic offenses, punishable by jail, fines and license suspensions. Our firm’s Serious Traffic Offense Panel (STOP) practice group ensures the highest level of representation of persons charged with these and other traffic infractions.
The statutes governing serious traffic offenses, especially driving under the influence, change frequently. It has become a special area of criminal law and it is crucial that your attorney possess exacting expertise in this arena. Our STOP attorneys have over a century of collective legal experience in area courts and have spent decades developing the knowledge and relationships that are beneficial for our traffic court clients.
At Protogyrou Law, we understand how a conviction of a charge of a serious traffic offense can affect our client’s freedom, pocketbook, insurance, job and family. Our Norfolk DUI defense attorneys take your future seriously.
Virginia Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limit
In Virginia, it is against the law to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08 percent. However, the legal limit for commercial drivers is .04 percent, while underage drivers (motorists under 21 years old) have legal limit of .02 percent.
What are the Penalties for DUI?
A first DUI offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum 12-month jail term, a fine not exceeding $2,500, and driver’s license suspension for up to 12 months. However, if your BAC was at least .15 percent upon arrest, then a conviction results in a minimum jail sentence of five days. If your BAC was more than .20 percent, then the mandatory jail term is 10 days.
A second DUI offense is still considered a misdemeanor, but comes with more severe penalties. You could be facing one year in jail, fines up to $2,500, 3 years of license suspension , mandatory alcohol education and probation.
If it is you third DUI offense than you will be charged with a felony and could see up to 5 years in prison, permanent suspension of your license as well as the standard DUI penalties.
Types of DUI Charges
Our firm handles the following types of DUI cases in Virginia:
- First DUI
- Multiple DUIs
- DUID (DUI with Drugs)
- Underage DUI
- Commercial DUI
- DUI with a Child Passenger
- DUI Vehicular Assault
- DUI Vehicular Homicide
According to Virginia’s implied consent law, if you refuse to take a post-arrest breath test, it is considered a civil offense, punishable by license suspension for one year. A second refusal within 10 years is a Class 1 misdemeanor with license suspension for three years.
Field Sobriety Tests
If you are pulled over for a DUI, the officer is likely going to perform one of the 3 Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST):
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test - In this test the officer will observe the eyes of the person in question as they slowly move a pen or small object back and forth to look for indicators in each eye that the person is impaired.
- Walk-and-turn test - In this test, the officer instructs the person to take nine steps in a straight line and the return back. The officer is looking for signs that the person is impaired such as not being able to keep their balance or not following the instructions properly.
- One-leg stand test - In this test, the officer instructs the person to stand with one foot in the air and hold it for about 30 seconds. The officer looks for signs of intoxication such as swaying, hoping or using their arms to balance.
Ready to Help You Avoid Serious Penalties from Traffic Violations
Did you know that simply paying off a traffic ticket really means admitting guilt? Not only are you subject to a fine, but also points on your driver’s license that could result in license suspension and increased insurance premiums. As we mentioned before, certain traffic offenses like reckless driving are considered criminal offenses that carry serious penalties like jail time. Protogyrou Law can determine if there are any available defenses that apply to your case and help you avoid serious penalties.
Call (757) 267-6611 for more information about our experienced and skilled legal services.