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Things you may not know about Virginia’s DUI laws

If there are two things that just about everyone knows about drunk-driving charges it’s 1.) a BAC of .08 or higher is illegal here in Virginia, and 2.) multiple DUI convictions can lead to felony charges of worsening severity.

But as so many of our readers probably know, there are a lot of other laws concerning drunk-driving charges — some of which you may have never heard of or known. In today’s post, we’d like to look at a few of these laws, especially because some of them can lead to legal consequences in the end.

You can’t request a blood test instead of a breath test. A lot of people believe that they can substitute a blood test for a breath test after being pulled over for a DUI because they were told by a friend that they could do this or because they saw it done on a television show once.

Unfortunately, trying to do this is Virginia could lead an officer to believe that you are refusing a breath test, which is considered a crime in our state. Don’t forget too, if this would be your second time refusing a breath test and you were convicted the first time, charges against you are immediately escalated to a Class 2 misdemeanor, which carries steeper charges and consequences.

Your BAC doesn’t have to be .08 or higher to receive a DUI. In Virginia, if your ability to operate a vehicle is impaired because of alcohol, you can face DUI charges. This is true even if your BAC is under the legal limit.

License suspensions and revocations affect you ability to drive all vehicles, including mopeds. It’s well known that a person’s driver’s license can become suspended or revoked because of a DUI conviction, which can make getting around quite difficult in some areas of the state. But because Virginia only requires a government-issued photo ID to ride a moped, some people believe that this is an acceptable alternative for someone with DUIs on their record.

If you believe this, then you are mistaken because it is illegal in our state for a person to operate a moped if their driver’s license has been suspended or revoked because of a DUI conviction or other alcohol-related offense. It’s worth pointing out too that DUI laws also apply to moped drivers, which means operating one of these vehicles while intoxicated is illegal.

Sources: The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, “Virginia Is Tough On Drunk and Drugged Drivers,” July 1, 2014, Accessed June 29, 2015

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, “Vehicles Services, Mopeds,” Accessed June 29, 2015

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