DUI and DWI Charges and Penalties in Virginia
DUI and DWI are very similar crimes in Virginia. You can be charged with DUI in our state if you drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. You might face DWI charges if you were driving while intoxicated due to alcohol or drug use, even if your BAC is less than 0.08 percent.
DUI and DWI are Class 1 misdemeanors. You could face these punishments for a first offense:
- Jail sentence of up to 12 months
- A fine of up to $2,500
- Suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year
- Successful completion of the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP)
Five Types of Evidence Used by Prosecutors in DUI Cases
Although every DUI and DWI case is unique, there are types of evidence typically used by the police to charge someone with drunk driving and by the prosecutor to convict them of this crime. Evidence that could be used against you includes the following:
- Physical evidence. Open containers of alcohol found in your vehicle and lab test results are common types of physical evidence that could be used in your DUI case.
- Testimony of the officer and witnesses. The police officer could testify about any signs of intoxication exhibited by you, such as weaving between lanes, running a red light, or having bloodshot eyes or the odor of alcohol on your breath. Eyewitnesses could also testify about how you were driving or your consumption of alcohol if they witnessed this.
- Your statements. If you made any incriminating statements when pulled over for DUI or at the police station, the prosecutor would use these statements against you in court.
- Field sobriety tests. If you agreed to perform any field sobriety tests, like the one-leg stand or walk and turn, the officer conducting the test could testify about how your performance showed that you were intoxicated.
- Blood or breath test results. Under Virginia law, you impliedly consent to take a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test if you are arrested for DUI in Virginia. These test results can be used to convict you.