Generally speaking, traffic laws pertaining to driving under the influence are similar, but there are some important differences between Virginia DUI laws and those in other states you need to be aware of if driving in the state of Virginia.


Many states have laws on the books that differentiate between "driving under the influence" and "driving while intoxicated." But in Virginia, DUI and DWI are classified (and prosecuted) in the exact same manner.

Blood Alcohol Content = BAC While Driving

All states use blood alcohol content (BAC) as the measurement to determine if a suspect should be charged with DUI. However, whereas many states use the BAC level at the time a breath or blood test was taken, Virginia law uses the BAC while driving as the legal yardstick. This means defendants can present evidence to argue that their BAC while driving was lower than when the test was administered.

Trial de Novo

Many states have one trial court where DUI and other cases are tried before juries. But in Virginia, DUI cases are heard in General District Court, where there are no jury trials. So if a DUI defendant invokes their constitutional right to a trial by jury, the case is remanded to the state's Circuit Court in what is known as a "trial de novo" - and the original verdict is removed from the defendant's record.

Trial Courts Determine Penalties, License Issues

In some states, a court establishes the guilt or innocence of a DUI defendant and decides on accompanying penalties or fines; but the status of the defendant's driver's license is handled in another venue. In Virginia, the same judge or jury determines a verdict, fines, incarceration time, and the suspension or revocation of driver's licenses.

No state is faster at moving cases through the system than Virginia. In the face of a defending a criminal charge, the decision of who will be your lawyer will be one of the most important decisions you make in your life. Before you speak to any lawyer, get a FREE copy of Bob Battle's consumer guide, How to Choose a DUI Lawyer in Virginia

Virginia DUI attorney Bob Battle aggressively defends criminal defendants who have been charged with felony crimes such as repeat DUI charges. For proven legal help with your criminal case, contact Bob Battle to schedule your legal consultation today - 804-673-5600.

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