Virginia Driver Charged With DUI/DWI After Wrong-Way Accident
Five people received medical treatment after a man from Ashburn, Virginia allegedly committed DUI/DWI and caused a crash, according to an article by Loudoun Now.
Law enforcement reported that this accident occurred on January 7 just before 9:30 p.m. At that point, the Virginia man was driving Loudoun County Parkway, heading in the wrong direction. The Virginia man then allegedly caused a head-on collision with another passenger vehicle.
As a result of this accident, first responders transported five people for medical treatment at local hospitals. In addition to the driver of the other vehicle and two passengers, the Virginia man and his passenger also sustained injury.
Even though the authorities continue to investigate this accident, the Virginia man already faces criminal charges for drunk driving. While this case continues to evolve, it seems appropriate to review the laws against and punishment for DUI/DWI under Virginia law.
Virginia Laws Against DUI/DWI
The laws against DUI/DWI appear under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-266. This section makes it illegal to:
- Drive under the influence (DUI) of alcohol;
- Drive while impaired (DWI) by alcohol;
- Drive while impaired (DWI) by one or several drugs; or
- Drive while impaired (DWI) by a combination of alcohol and one or several drugs.
Under Virginia law, a driver becomes impaired when they cannot operate their vehicle in a safe and legal fashion. This is a broad standard that can apply to many types of driving behavior, if the driver consumed alcohol or drugs beforehand.
Virginia Punishment for DUI/DWI
The punishment for DUI/DWI appears under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270. This section establishes separate penalties for DUI/DWI, largely based on the number of previous offenses. Though an elevated blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) or the transportation of a minor can also trigger enhanced punishment.
From a general perspective, the criminal penalties for DUI/DWI under Virginia law are as follows:
- First Offense — Is a Class 1 misdemeanor with criminal fines of at least $250 and, for elevated BACs, a minimum jail sentence of five to 10 days;
- Second Offense — If the second offense occurs within five to 10 years, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor with criminal fines of at least $500 and a minimum jail sentence of 10 to 20 days;
- Third Offense — If the third offense occurs within five to 10 years, it is a Class 6 felony with criminal fines of at least $1,000 and a minimum prison sentence of three to six months; or
- Fourth or Subsequent Offense — If the fourth or subsequent offense occurs within 10 years, it is a Class 6 felony with criminal fines of at least $1,000 and a minimum prison sentence of 12 months.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about Virginia criminal charges for DUI/DWI, we can help. Contact the Leesburg DUI & DWI lawyers at Simms Showers LLP for a consultation.