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Overview of Virginia DUI Laws (Part A)

Virginia DUI laws differ from DUI laws in other states, and there are several significant distinctions that can affect your DUI case. Knowing these laws can help you in beating your Virginia DUI charges.

Virginia DUI and Virginia DWI are the Same Offense

Driving under the influence (DUI), and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are usually considered as different offenses in most states. Typically speaking, DUI is a more serious criminal offense than DWI. But in Virginia, intoxicated is defined as: "A condition in which a person has consumed enough alcoholic beverages to observably affect his or her manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior."

According to state code, it is illegal to drive in Virginia "while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs." And so there is no difference between a Virginia DUI and a DWI charge.

Virginia Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Laws Refer to BAC While Driving

Another key difference in relation to DUI laws in other states is that a Virginia DUI is based on a person's blood alcohol content (BAC) while they are driving, as opposed to their BAC reading at the time of taking a blood or breath test
.

Therefore, Virginia DUI defendants can present evidence that their BAC while driving was lower than their blood or breath test indicated. A good Virginia DUI attorney may use an expert's testimony to effectively prove this argument.

Virginia
Drivers' "Implied Consent" to a BAC Test

Under Virginia DUI statutes, any driver on the state's highways has given their "implied consent" to a BAC reading if they are arrested for a Virginia DUI
. This means that if a police officer charges you with DUI, you will have to give a blood or breathalyzer test. And if the reading indicates a BAC level of .08 or above, you can be found guilty of a Virginia DUI.

However, in 2007 an Appeals Court ruled that a presumption of guilt is unconstitutional based on a BAC reading, and that in DUI statutes, the words "shall be presumed" should be interpreted as "may be inferred."
Therefore, a judge can no longer presume guilt, but may only infer it if a driver's BAC is .08 or above. This allows you and your Virginia DUI lawyer to question the test's validity in court.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Virginia, there is no time to waste! Contact Virginia DUI Lawyer Bob Battle to schedule your legal consultation today - 804-673-5600.

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Bob Battle
100% of my practice is devoted to serious traffic defense and criminal litigation in state and federal courts