FREE Car Insurance Comparison

Currently insured?

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Compare Quotes from Top Companies and Save

Currently insured?

DUI Laws in Virginia

Here's what you need to know...
  • Drunk driving in Virginia is defined as anyone with a BAC of 0.08 percent while driving a motor vehicle
  • In VA, a person arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence is charged with two separate offenses
  • A person who refuses a breath test can result in a three-year license suspense
  • A person with a DUI is assigned to a high-risk group of drivers, which increases insurance premiums
  • The best way to avoid drunk driving convictions is to not drink and drive

The state of Virginia is known for having very tough drunk driving laws. Drunk driving is not a traffic violation offense; it is a criminal offense requiring the person who was driving drunk to be handcuffed and taken to the police station.

Then he/she will have to go to court, and anyone wanting to plead innocent will probably need an attorney.

Compare state car insurance to find the best auto insurance in seconds with our FREE comparison tool!

Virginia DUI Requirements
adobestock_21499451-1600x1600

Drunk driving in Virginia is defined as anyone driving a motor vehicle — which includes boats and other watercraft — and has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent and can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).

A person under the influence of drugs (including prescription drugs) who impairs his/her driving can also be arrested for a DUI even if the BAC tests zero for alcohol.

Impaired driving means that driving skills, judgment, coordination, and/or response time are affected.

Virginia DUI Laws

According to Virginia DUI law (section 18.2-266), a DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor. A person who is arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence is charged with two separate offenses:

  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs (prescription or illegal), or a combination of both
  • Violating the Virginia “per se” laws

These two separate violations comprise the Virginia DUI laws.

It is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 percent or greater.

These test results will be produced in court and used to prove the driver guilty of a DUI. But, in Virginia, a person who is driving and deemed impaired can also be cited for a DUI even if his/her BAC is not .08 percent or greater.

If it is determined that the amount of alcohol the person drank has impaired his/her ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, an officer can cite the person for a DUI regardless of the BAC level.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

Currently insured?

Breathalyzer Test

A person that has been stopped for probable cause for another traffic offense cannot refuse to take a DUI breath test if the officer of the law suspects that the person has been drinking or is intoxicated. If the person refuses to take the breath test, it is considered a misdemeanor.

If the person has a prior conviction for refusing to take a breath test or has a prior conviction for a DUI and he/she refuses to take a breath test, the penalty for that refusal can result in a three-year license suspension.

If a person is involved in an accident and the law enforcement officer has probable cause to think the person is drunk, the person can be arrested for a DUI without a warrant, anytime or anywhere within three hours of the accident.

Virginia DUI Penalties

Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles can impose its own suspensions immediately when a person is arrested, even before he/she goes to court. This is called an Administrative License Suspension.

When a person is arrested for his/her first DUI or refusal to take a breath test or has a BAC of .08 percent or higher, his/her license is automatically suspended for seven days. If it is a second offense, the license is automatically suspended for 60 days or until the person goes to court.

The third time a person offends the DUI law, his/her license is suspended until trial.

Once a person is convicted, the following penalties will also apply:

First Drunk Driving Conviction

dollarphotoclub_79342954-1600x1600A person’s first conviction will result in a five-day minimum of jail time if there was a passenger under the age of 18 in the vehicle, or if the BAC was .15 to .20 percent. The jail time is increased to ten days if the BAC was above .20 percent.

A minimum fine of $250 is imposed, and an additional fine of $500 to $1,000 is imposed if a passenger in the vehicle was under the age of 18. The driver can face a suspension of his/her license for up to one year and may have to complete an Alcohol Safety Action Program.

An Ignition Interlock Device will be required if the BAC is .15 percent or above.

– Second Drunk Driving Conviction

If the second drunk driving offense happens less than five years of the previous conviction, jail time can be from 20 days to one year, along with an additional five days minimum if a passenger in the vehicle is under age 18. Additional jail time of ten days to one month is added, along with an additional ten days if BAC is .15 to .20 percent.

If the BAC is above .20, an additional 20 days jail time is added. The license suspension time increases to three years, and the fine is $500 minimum and between $500 and $1,000 additional if a passenger in the vehicle is under age 18.

– Third Drunk Driving Conviction

If the third conviction is within five years of the previous conviction, a six-month minimum jail time is added. If within ten years of previous conviction, 90 days minimum jail time is added. Regardless of the length of time between convictions, an additional five days minimum is added if a passenger in the vehicle was under age 18.

The fine for the third conviction is a minimum of $1,000 with a $50 additional for the Trauma Center Fund. A person’s license could be suspended indefinitely, though the person can petition the court for reinstatement of the license after five years. If the license is reinstated, an Ignition Interlock Device will be required.

In 2010, changes to the Virginia DUI law required that a person convicted of a DUI who continues to drive with a suspended license will have his/her car impounded. The car will remain impounded for a minimum of 90 days.

Also, the changes to the law state that any person that is driving a school bus while intoxicated will be convicted on a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. Auto insurance laws vary by state, so make sure you know your state-specific laws!

Virginia Drunk Driving Statistics

Table charts with data and statistics
The state of Virginia has been keeping statistics on drunk driving fatalities since 1982. In that year, 56 percent of all accident fatalities were related to alcohol, and in 2009, only 37 percent of vehicle fatalities were related to alcohol.

While Virginia is tough on drinking and driving and has harsh fines, the Virginia Traffic School, and other alcohol awareness programs have decreased the number of drunk-driving fatalities.

More drivers are less inclined to drink and drive, but there are still people who do not pay attention to the warnings and information.

Teenagers are especially susceptible to drinking and driving. In 2006, 46 teenagers were killed in drunk-driving accident fatalities, which is almost one per week.

Virginia DUI Insurance

AdobeStock_75961762-1600x1600When a person is convicted of a DUI in Virginia, he/she will probably have to have FR44 insurance, which is a certificate of financial responsibility.

Minimum car insurance in Virginia is $25,000 for bodily injury for one person and $50,000 for bodily injury for all people in one accident, along with $20,000 property damage coverage.

If a driver has been convicted of a DUI and has to carry FR44 insurance, those coverage limits are doubled to $50,000 for bodily injury for one person in an accident, $100,000 bodily injury for all persons involved in the accident, and $40,000 property damage insurance.

A person with a DUI is assigned to a high-risk group of drivers, so insurance premiums will also increase for the additional auto insurance coverage required along with the high premium costs for high-risk drivers.

If a person has a DUI conviction, it may be difficult to find affordable automobile insurance. There are some insurance companies in Virginia who insure these high-risk drivers with FR44 insurance, and the driver should shop around with several of these high-risk car insurance companies to compare online auto insurance premiums and coverage.

The best way to avoid drunk driving convictions is not to drink and drive. A person should always have a designated driver if he/she is drinking or be prepared to take a taxicab or other means of transportation rather than driving a personal car.

A person’s alcohol tolerance depends on his/her height, weight, sex, physical condition, and percentage of body fat.

What one person can tolerate when it comes to alcohol may well mean too high a BAC in another person. Driving with a child in the car with a BAC over the limit will automatically result in a mandatory minimum of five days in jail, along with 80 hours of community service.

Enter your ZIP code below to find Virginia car insurance for FREE!

Copyright © 2018 · All Rights Reserved · Car Insurance Comparison · Terms & Conditions · About Us · Privacy Policy · Contact Us · Site Map · Resources

Currently insured?