Though the overall number of alcohol-related accidents dropped between 2009 and 2010, Fairfax County still managed to lead the pack among Virginia counties in alcohol-related deaths in 2010. Nevertheless, drunken driving fatalities are a problem across the entire state. Between 2006 and 2010, Virginia averaged 243 DUI deaths per year, which represents approximately 37 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Drunk driving is a dangerous decision. The typical effects on the body of a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 (the legal limit) are decreased reaction time, judgment and concentration, as well as impaired vision and hearing. By the time BAC reaches 0.10, there is an obvious deterioration of reaction, as well as slurred speech and slow thinking. Combine that with several thousands of pounds of metal moving at high speeds and the result is a recipe for disaster.
In Virginia, There Are Serious Penalties for DUI, Even for a First-Time Conviction
Even if a drunk driver does not hit or kill anyone, the consequences of a DUI charge and conviction are serious. After an arrest, there is a good chance one will spend the night in jail; but that's the least of one's worries.
For a first offense and subsequent DUI conviction in Virginia, the penalty is at least five days in jail, a fine of at least $250 and a one-year driver's license suspension. If the driver's BAC was 0.15 or higher, the law requires the placement of an ignition interlock device in the driver's car. For a second DUI conviction, the fine increases to a $500 minimum, the license suspension increases to three years and the jail sentence can increase to one year.
A DUI Conviction Often Carries Lifelong Consequences
Virginia law drops the hammer on habitual offenders, beginning with a third DUI conviction. The minimum jail term is 90 days if the offense occurred within 10 years of a previous DUI offense. If the time between offenses is only five years, a minimum of six months in jail is required and one's driver's license is suspended indefinitely. Moreover, a third DUI conviction is a class six felony, which can have a lifelong impact on one's chances of employment, schooling and even where one can live.
The bottom line is that drinking and driving is simply not worth it. The consequences range from fines to incarceration to a serious blow to one's ability to earn money and live. Because the consequences are so dire, if you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI offense, it is crucial to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your situation and your options.
Contact Our Fairfax DUI Lawyers
At the Fairfax County law office of Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC, we provide aggressive advice and defense representation to clients facing drunk driving charges in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. We know the law and we have the knowledge necessary to help you fight against drunk driving charges and related civil penalties. Contact Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC, to discuss your case at 703-691-8333.
Talk to an experienced DUI/DWI lawyer about your case. Contact Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC for a free consultation.