Virginia Police Officer Charged With Drunk Driving
A Virginia police officer who was already on administrative leave now faces criminal charges for alleged drunk driving, according to an article by ABC affiliate WSET.
Law enforcement responded to this DUI/DWI incident on March 27 at approximately 2 a.m. Reports indicated that the Virginia officer in question was driving erratically while traveling northbound on Interstate 81. When law enforcement executed a traffic stop in Washington County, they detected alcohol and suspected intoxication.
During the traffic stop, the allegedly intoxicated Virginia officer underwent field sobriety tests and apparently refused a chemical test. As a result of this incident, this Virginia officer faces criminal charges for DUI/DWI and refusing to submit to chemical testing.
While this case continues to play out in legal circles, it seems like a good opportunity to review the Virginia laws against and punishment for DUI/DWI offenses.
Virginia Laws Against DUI/DWI
The state laws against DUI/DWI appear at Code of Virginia Section 18.2-266. This section prohibits any person from operating a motor vehicle, engine, train while under the influence of or impaired by:
- Drugs; or
- A combination of alcohol and drugs.
A person is considered under the influence of alcohol if they register a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater. Section 18.2-266 also furnishes benchmarks for intoxication based on certain controlled substances, such as cocaine and MDMA. Furthermore, a person is considered impaired as soon as they lose their ability to drive carefully and safely.
Virginia Punishment for DUI/DWI
The state punishment for DUI/DWI appears at Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270. Although there are many different variations of DUI/DWI penalties, this offense is typically punishable as follows:
- First Conviction — Class 1 misdemeanor charges and a mandatory minimum of $250 in criminal fines;
- Second Conviction — Class 1 misdemeanor charges and a mandatory minimum of $500 in criminal fines and five to 10 days in jail;
- Third Conviction — Class 6 felony charges and a mandatory minimum of $1,000 in criminal fines and three to six months in prison; or
- Fourth or Subsequent Conviction — Class 6 felony charges and a mandatory minimum of $1,000 in criminal fines and at least 12 months in prison.
Moreover, Code of Virginia Section 18.2-271 imposes a requirement of driver’s license suspension or revocation for DUI/DWI offenses. On the first or second offense, DUI/DWI offenders will lose their license for 12 to 36 months.
On the third or subsequent offense, these offenders experience permanent revocation of their driver’s license. Upon permanent revocation, a driver must complete various reinstatement requirements to regain driving privileges, including safety courses and payment of all costs and fees.
Do You Need Legal Help?
The skilled Leesburg drunk driving lawyers at Simms Showers LLP are prepared to assist you with your case. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.