Virginia Police Officer Charged With DUI/DWI On Christmas Eve
A Virginia sheriff’s deputy faces criminal charges for alleged DUI/DWI during a shift on Christmas Eve, according to an article by CBS17.
On December 24, at approximately 7:15 p.m., a local sheriff’s office contacted the Virginia State Police and requested assistance with reports of an intoxicated officer on duty.
After responding to the request for assistance, state troopers located the police car in question in the 6100 block of Warren Newcomb Drive in Fairlawn. According to reports, the car was damaged after crashing into a curb.
The state troopers arrested the deputy driving the vehicle for misdemeanor DUI/DWI. After booking into the New River Valley Regional Jail at approximately 10:30 p.m., the deputy in question posted bond and secured their release from custody about one hour later.
While this officer awaits further developments in their legal case, it seems like an opportune time to review Virginia laws against and penalties for DUI/DWI offenses.
Virginia Laws Against DUI
The state laws against DUI/DWI appear under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-266. From a general standpoint, this section makes it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while:
- Under the influence of alcohol (DUI);
- Impaired by alcohol by any drug, whether narcotic, pharmaceutical, or otherwise (DWI);
- Impaired by alcohol by any combination of drugs (DWI); or
- Impaired by a combination of alcohol and drugs (DWI).
The requirements for impairment under Virginia law are fairly straightforward. If a person cannot drive safely due to alcohol or drug consumption, it can qualify as impairment under Virginia law.
Virginia Penalties for DUI/DWI
The state penalties for DUI/DWI appear under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270. On the first or second offense, DUI/DWI is typically charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. As outlined below, though, the minimum level of punishment can fluctuate:
- First DUI/DWI — Features a mandatory minimum of $250 in criminal fines;
- Second DUI/DWI (within 10 years) — Features a mandatory minimum of $500 in criminal fines and 10 days in jail; or
- Second DUI/DWI (within 5 years) — Features a mandatory minimum of $500 in criminal fines and 20 days in jail.
On the third, fourth, or subsequent offense within five to 10 years, DUI/DWI is normally charged as a Class 6 felony. As with the misdemeanor version, the felony version of DUI/DWI has a shifting scale of penalties:
- Third DUI/DWI (within 10 years) — Features a mandatory minimum of $1,000 in criminal fines and 90 days in prison;
- Third DUI/DWI (within 5 years) — Features a mandatory minimum of $1,000 in criminal fines and 180 days in prison; or
- Fourth or Subsequent DUI/DWI (within 10 years) — Features a mandatory minimum of $1,000 in criminal fines and 12 months in prison.
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