DWI, DUI, and drunk driving are all synonyms for violations of Virginia Code 18.2-266.
This code section includes driving while under the influence of alcohol as well as driving while under the influence of drugs or marijuana.
In Virginia, a first offense of DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a potential for a jail sentence for up to one year. Second convictions and cases where drivers have elevated blood alcohol carry mandatory jail time.
Drivers who are convicted will suffer the suspension of their operator’s license. Unreasonably refusing to give a blood or breath sample is a separate case with separate penalties.
DUI is a criminal offense and persons operating motor vehicles can be convicted even if the operation occurs on private property. A conviction for DUI can have consequences that will affect your life for many years and can cost thousands of dollars.
Police officers are usually given special training in making arrests in drunk driving cases and they will usually ask a series of questions designed to determine whether, and what, you have been drinking, how much you had to drink, and when you had your last drink. They will also ask whether you have consumed any medications that may have had an additive effect to the alcohol. Often, drivers are asked to perform field sobriety tests to determine whether their motor skills are impaired. A field breath test will often be offered to give he police officer a quantitative reading of blood alcohol content. Normally, the police will make detailed notes about a person’s answers to questions about alcohol consumption and about their performance on field sobriety tests. Frequently, a person’s answers are introduced into evidence as part of the government’s case against them. If a breath or blood test was taken, the results of this test should be available at court.