Virginia DUI Laws – What You Might Not Have Known

You Probably Already Know…

Fairfax dui lawyer

Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, while in an impaired state of mind, is always unlawful.

Due to the serious repercussions of a DUI conviction, those faced with a pending DUI charge should strongly consider consulting:

  • a local Fairfax DUI attorney (if charged in Fairfax County) or
  • a local Prince William County DUI attorney (if charged in Prince William County).

Many attorneys offer a free consultation.  Even if a charged driver has “admitted” to a crime, or has made an incriminating statement, it does not mean that the underlying arrest and/or search was lawful.  For this reason and many others, it is important to seek counsel if charged with DUI (either as a first-time offender, or for a subsequent DUI charge).

Virginia DUI laws – What You Might Not Have Known

Virginia DUI laws are intended to prevent or limit unnecessary fatalities and casualties.  Fatalities have decreased in recent years.

Many traffic fatalities are caused by intoxicated drivers, however, in Virginia, the number of fatalities has decreased significantly since 1988.  In Virginia, the “BAC” “legal limit” is 0.08%.  This does not mean that it is impossible to get arrested or charged with a DUI if under the legal limit.  In fact, any amount of alcohol or intoxicating substance – if it causes a driver to be impaired and operate a motor vehicle in an unsafe manner – may be punishable by the Virginia DUI laws.

Virginia DUI laws – common questions and information

Can I refuse a breathalyzer test in Virginia if pulled over for DUI?

In Virginia, a driver can refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, but it may not be without risk.  The following example is not legal advice (nor is anything on this page or website, but worthwhile to consider):

A driver is pulled over on suspicion of DUI in Virginia, and he or she refuses to take a breathalyzer test.  Then, the officer asks the driver to perform a field sobriety test. An outright refusal of a breathalyzer and field sobriety test may lead to the officer arresting the driver and taking him or her into custody for a blood test.

Field Sobriety Tests for Virginia DUI –fair?

There are several types of “field sobriety” tests, and some are difficult for a number of people to successfully complete sober.  Can you recite the alphabet backwards, beginning with the letter X?  Go ahead and try it.  There are many other various field sobriety tests, and this is just an example of one possible request a law enforcement officer in Virginia might make.

What if I was not under the influence, yet still arrested and charged?

Of course, even if arrested on suspicion of DUI, and even if faced with a current DUI charge, a local Virginia, Fairfax, &/or Prince William County DUI attorney may be able to challenge an unlawful arrest, if (among other possibilities) facts exist to suggest a lack of “probable cause.”  An excellent piece of evidence in many cases is the police officer’s dashboard camera (if that officer actually has a working dash-cam installed in his/her vehicle).  Similarly, a driver’s own dashboard camera may also be very useful for a defense attorney to examine following a DUI charge.  Having footage of a field sobriety test has been the vital piece of evidence leading more than one judge to find a lack of probable cause to arrest the driver in Virginia.  When this happens, and the judge rules in favor of the defense, the accused is free to leave court at a preliminary phase, as the case cannot proceed to trial in violation of the U.S. Constitution (4th Amendment) and/or the Virginia Constitution.

Your Local Fairfax or Prince William County DUI Attorney is on Your Side

Please remember to stay safe: narcotics, including prescription drugs can lead to a dangerously impaired state of mind.  Mistakes do happen, and a Fairfax DUI lawyer, Prince William County DUI attorney, and/or Virginia DUI law firm will not — and should not – personally judge a client.  Instead, one should expect zealous and diligent representation.

Virginia DUI lawyers – including those in Fairfax and Prince William County, seek to facilitate a comfortable atmosphere

Every Fairfax criminal defense attorney, Prince William County criminal lawyer, and Virginia defense firm would likely agree unanimously that, “drunk driving is not responsible.”  With that said, defense lawyers in Virginia also understand the sensitive nature of some individuals when faced with a criminal charge and also, that good people make poor decisions.  Every, or nearly every good Virginia criminal defense attorney will want to know the factual circumstance in its’ entirety, including statements a charged individual made to the police, as well as all other relevant facts surrounding the unique case.

Fairfax Criminal Lawyer’s position

Everything discussed with a Virginia criminal law attorney in the privacy of his or her office and with no other parties present is considered “privileged,” and will not be disclosed to other parties or law enforcement officials.  For the best defense available, it is important the client provides the lawyer with all of the information he or she is aware of.  This is simply to ensure the best possible defense, discovery of helpful evidence, and development of a sound legal strategy given a specific set of facts.  You do not want your lawyer to be surprised by alleged statements or other evidence that the Commonwealth prosecutor has at trial or at a preliminary stage beforehand.

In short, a local Fairfax criminal defense lawyerPrince William County criminal defense attorney – and/or a Virginia criminal law firm are on the side of the person they represent, and no other.

For more information on DUI laws in Virginia:

Or to request a free case evaluation (online) or consultation (in-person) from a local Fairfax County criminal law firm serving Northern Virginia (including Prince William County), see below:

Fairfax DUI Attorney – Free Consultation or Case Evaluation

Visit the Vincenzes Law, PLLC homepage to speak to a Fairfax criminal lawyer as soon as possible.

For charges arising out of Fredericksburg and/or Spotsylvania County, please click here.

If you are located outside of the Northern Virginia area, you may wish to view the Virginia Law Firm Directory website and mobile app to find a local DUI attorney near you.

Virginia DUI articles and resources by Fairfax criminal lawyer – Brent Vincenzes

See for the article, “Virginia DUI Laws are Tough: Fairfax DUI Attorney Explains Why”

See the blog, for the latest article, “DUI in Virginia: Defined by the Code”

See the blog, for the recent article, “Fairfax DUI attorney on 3 DUI basics”

You may also wish to visit the FAQ on some of the basic DUI laws in Virginia

Image Credits:

“Man behind window” courtesy of Graur Razvan Ionut |

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Brenton D. Vincenzes is a lifelong Fairfax County resident and Fairfax Criminal Defense Lawyer. He is a member of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National College of DUI Defense, NORML, and has been awarded the following in 2014-15: Top 100 Trial Lawyer (National Trial Lawyers) Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyer (National Trial Lawyers) Nationally Ranked Top 10 Under 40 Defense Attorney (National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys) 10 Best in Client Satisfaction for Criminal Defense (American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys) Nationally Ranked Top 1% Attorney Award Recipient (National Association of Distinguished Counsel) As a local leader, Mr. Vincenzes mentors troubled youths, volunteers his time to serve at his church, takes select pro bono clients, and strives to improve the community. Mr. Vincenzes represents men, women, and juveniles through zealous and diligent advocacy, strategic planning, and skilled trial work preparation. Mr. Vincenzes' areas of criminal law practice are broad, and include most felonies and misdemeanors such as: reckless driving, DUI & DWI, drug offenses, assault and battery, domestic violence, assault on an officer, destruction of property, alcohol offenses, firearm offenses, larceny, shoplifting, embezzlement, fraud, and other theft offenses, and moving traffic violations among others. His private legal services are available in most Northern Virginia jurisdictions, including Fairfax County, Arlington County, Prince William County, Loudoun County, Stafford County, Alexandria, Manassas, Leesburg, South Riding, and other cities and towns.



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