For most people, we imagine a drunk driver to have habitual problems with alcohol and to be irresponsible. However, for many, drunk driving is the result of unintentional poor planning. We have all been asked by that friend or special someone to stay for just one more drink. The problem is that that one more drink, whether you know it or not, will kick in on your way home and teeter your blood alcohol level above .08. So here is a complete guide for what you need to know about drunk driving in Virginia.
How should I know if I am too drunk to drive?
A lot of people surprisingly struggle with the concept of 0.08. Most people think drunk driving is literal. If you feel drunk and drive, that is drunk driving. However, most people don’t even feel drunk at .08. Everybody’s tolerance is different but it is safe to assume that if you feel any amount of buzzed, then you are beyond 0.08. So how do you know if you are okay to drive? I would suggest you use this handy tool if you will be driving at any point after you have consumed any alcohol.
Another concept people struggle with grasping is what drunk driving looks like. People always say, “Don’t worry, I’ll drive carefully.” That is exactly what police look for in a drunk driver. Things like driving slower than the speed limit, stopping or slowing early before red lights, slow turning, and maintaining distance from other vehicles are all signs of a drunk driver and will get you pulled over and potentially arrested for drunk driving in Virginia.
What can I do if I am pulled over?
If the officer suspects that you have been drinking, he may ask you to submit to a preliminary breathalyzer or a field sobriety test. You may refuse these tests as long as you haven’t been told that you are under arrest. If the officer already has the probable cause to arrest you, such as you smelling like booze, having an open container in your vehicle, or you were swerving everywhere, then he may arrest you and Virginia’s implied consent law comes into play. Implied consent means you, by accepting your license, have already consented to a breathalyzer, blood test, and pee test. If you refuse consent after you are arrested, they can suspend your license for a year. Two years for your second refusal and indefinitely for your third refusal.
What if I am arrested for drunk driving in Virginia?
If you are arrested for drunk driving, your car will likely get towed and you will be brought to jail. The potential jail time you could be facing depends on how many times you have been arrested for drunk driving. If it is your first or second time, you could spend up to a year in jail and be fined up to $2500. If it is your third time, you could spend up to 5 years in jail and your license could be suspended indefinitely. Regardless of how many times you have been arrested for drunk driving, your first action if you are arrested for drunk driving n Virginia should be to get an attorney. The benefit of having an attorney in these types of cases is that they can examine the facts, determine if there is a reason the case should be dismissed or if the charges can be reduced to a wet reckless or a traffic violation.