In Virginia, drunk driving is punished by statues that refer to it as driving while intoxicated, or driving under the influence of alcohol. The legal limit for drinking and driving in Virginia for an adult is .08. What that means is that if you have a blood alcohol content of .08 or more in Virginia, you are deemed to be drunk and guilty of DWI.
But that’s not the end of the story. The statute also says that basically any person who is under the influence of alcohol, no matter what level, is guilty of DWI. Therefore, even if your blood alcohol level is below a .08, you can still be charged with DWI or drunk driving.
We see this a lot of times in courts where I practice around Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Fredericksburg. Typically it’s the borderline cases, like a .07 blood alcohol content, but I’ve seen people charged with drunk driving when their blood alcohol content was only .05.
In those cases, the Commonwealth does not get a presumption that you are intoxicated. They have a little work to do to try to prove that in your unique case, even if that lower level of blood alcohol content, that you were, in fact, too impaired to drive.
Some factors can be used by the Commonwealth to try to prove this, such as:
- Your driving behavior.
- Whether or not you were maintaining your lane.
- Whether or not you used your turn signals.
- Whether or not you obeyed the speed limit.
- How you responded to the officer’s commands and instructions and questions.
- Whether or not you were able to produce your license and registration.
Those are just a few of the things the Commonwealth can use to try to show that a .05 or .06 blood alcohol content is still too impaired to drive.
This is why it’s critical if you’re facing any charge of DUI in Virginia to call me ASAP, so we can help you begin your defense. There may be arguments we can make to fight the case, especially if your blood alcohol content was below a .08.
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