Albo & Oblon lawyer, David Albo, is a leader in the Virginia General Assembly (state legislature). Here he summarizes Virginia's DUI laws -- in plain English. To read the "unabridged" law, click here.
§ 18.2-266 in English: There are five ways to violate Virginia's DUI law -- (1) operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level above 0.08, (2) operating a vehicle while "under the influence" of alcohol; (3) operating a vehicle while "under the influence" of drugs; (4) operating a vehicle while "under the influence of both alcohol and drugs; and (5) operating a vehicle with a blood cocaine level of 0.02, a blood methamphetamine (“speed,” “meth,” “ice”) level of 0.10, a blood phencyclidine (“PCP,” “angel dust”) level of 0.01, or a blood 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“MDMA,” “ecstasy”) level of 0.10.
§ 18.2-267 in English: Before being arrested, an accused can submit to a preliminary breath test if one is available. This test cannot be used against you at the trial for DUI, but can be used against you during pretrial motions and other non-DUI charges. There is no penalty for refusing this preliminary breath test and the arresting officer has to advise you of this.
§ 18.2-268.2 in English: If arrested for DUI within three hours of the alleged offense, you must submit to a breath test and/or, in some circumstances, a blood test. If you refuse, there are consequences. See the next statute.
§ 18.2-268.3 in English: If you unreasonably refuse the breath or blood test one time, you will lose your license on a civil basis. If you refuse for a second time, it is criminal offense (up to six months in jail) and you will lose your license for three years. If you refuse a third time, it is a more serious criminal offense (up to one year in jail) and you will lose your license for three years. The fact that you refused can also be used as evidence in the DUI trial.
§ 18.2-268.9 in English: The breath test (and in a different section the blood test) is governed by very specific laws and regulations. These regulations are intended to help assure fair tests. The test should conform with these regulations.
§ 18.2-270 in English: The punishment for violations of DUI varies depending upon whether the offense is a first, second, or subsequent offense. It also depends upon whether the blood alcohol level exceeded certain amounts. It also depends upon whether a child was in the car at the time of the arrest. A DUI conviction can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. For a first offense, where one has a blood alcohol level below 0.15, jail would be unusual. However, there is a mandatory 5 day jail sentence for having a blood alcohol level at 0.15 or above, and a mandatory 10 day jail sentence for having a blood alcohol level at 0.21 or above. Second and subsequent offenses have increased mandatory minimum penalties. Ultimately, a felony DUI carries a mandatory minimum penalty of six months in jail. The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor DUI is one year in jail; the maximum for a felony DUI is 5 years in prison. (In addition to jail, there are other penalties, such as a license suspension, alcohol education/treatment, and an ignition interlock device).
§ 18.2-270.1 in English: In some instances, the court must require one convicted of DUI to install an "ignition interlock" device on their car. This is a breath test device that one must blow into in order to start the car; and to blow into when directed to do so by the device while driving
§ 18.2-271 in English: If convicted of DUI, you will lose your driving privileges in Virginia for one year. A second conviction will result in a three year loss. A third conviction will result in an indefinate loss (at least 5 years). Under certain circumstances, a court can permit one to have limited driving privileges (such as driving to and from work).
§ 18.2-271.1 in English: Those convicted of DUI must enter and complete an alcohol education program administered by the state.
REMEMBER, THIS PAGE IS ONLY ALBO & OBLON'S SUMMARY OF VIRGINIA'S DUI LAWS, CLICK HERE TO READ THE "UNABRIDGED" LAWS.