It doesn't matter if you live in the state of Virginia or another part of the country, a DUI conviction can change your life in many ways.
With this in mind, an arrest for driving under the influence is something you should take seriously. It's up to you to understand your legal rights and to determine which defense strategy puts you in best position to avoid a conviction.
Virginia Code Section 18.2-266 makes it illegal to drive under the influence. Even so, many people make the mistake of drinking and then getting behind the wheel of their vehicle.
Even if this is your first offense, penalties can include the following:
- Class 1 misdemeanor. This can result in a fine of up to $2,500, as well as jail time up to 12 months. While most first time offenders won't go to jail, it's not out of the question.
- License suspension. Here's something many people don't know: If you are convicted of driving under the influence in Virginia, the law requires that you lose your license for a minimum of one year. It can be even longer if you have been convicted of the same crime in the past.
- Mandatory ignition interlock. With this device, you are unable to start your vehicle unless you first prove that your system is free of alcohol. You will blow into the device before starting your car, as well as at set intervals while it's in drive.
As you can see, there is nothing about a DUI conviction that you should take lightly.
Most people realize they shouldn't drink and drive, but everyone makes mistakes every now and again.
If your DUI case is moving through the court system, you need to understand what you can do to minimize your punishment. By understanding your legal rights and common penalties, you'll have a better idea of the DUI defense strategy that puts you in the best position to avoid the most serious trouble.