Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has issued its annual report, and the Commonwealth of Virginia has once again received the highest award of five stars. The report gives a star to states in each of five categories focused on DUI prevention and punishment efforts.
Virginia got a star in each category, just as it did in the 2014 report issued by the organization.
The five categories are as follows:
- ALS (administrative license suspension): laws enabling police officers to confiscate the driver's license of a person arrested for DUI. In our states, licenses are then automatically suspended for seven days for a first-time arrest if the person's BAC (blood alcohol content) is 0.08 percent or higher.
- Ignition interlock device laws: these breathalyzer gadgets installed in vehicles by court order measure any alcohol content in a driver's breath before a vehicle can be started and driven. In Virginia, a first-time DUI offense results in mandated ignition interlock installation.
- Sobriety checkpoints: states that have laws making these DUI prevention screenings legal get a star from MADD.
- Child endangerment laws: another star is awarded to states with these statutes. In Virginia, if you are convicted of having driven while under the influence while having a juvenile (17 years old or younger) in your vehicle, you get a mandatory five days in jail in addition to other penalties. Your fines can be increased by up to $1,000 as well, and you can get "an additional 80-hour community service requirement in addition to all other fines and jail sentences," the Commonwealth says on its DMV website.
If you face these penalties after a DUI (also known as DWI), discuss the potential punishments, circumstances of your arrest and all of your legal options with an attorney experienced in defending Leesburg clients accused of drunk driving.