Arlington DUI Consequences
DUI cases are taken very seriously in Arlington, and, as a result, the consequences for an Arlington DUI can also be very serious. Though Arlington is small in geographic size, it has a lot of residents and a lot of places in which both local residents and visitors can consume alcohol. This means that there are many opportunities for DUIs, which can create a significant public safety issue, and, therefore, the Arlington Police Department, Virginia State Police, and other local entities vigorously enforce Virginia laws for DUI and DWI within Arlington County.
If a person is arrested for suspicion of DUI in Arlington, they should absolutely contact an Arlington DUI lawyer right away. Not only is Arlington an area that is notorious for DUI enforcement, they also provide aggressive and vigorous prosecution of alleged DUI offenders against Arlington DUI consequences. Persons unfamiliar with the Arlington jurisdiction are, therefore, often at a disadvantage in trying cases there without sufficient knowledge of local rules and practices.
It is important to have someone who not only knows their way in a DUI courtroom, but is also familiar with the local rules, practices, and procedures and what the defendant may expect when practicing in Arlington.
Elements of the Crime
DUI is governed by Virginia Code 18.2-266 and 18.2-270, which can be referred to for the four different ways in which a person may be charged with a DUI in Arlington County. The DUI may include driving with a blood alcohol content above the Virginia legal limit, which is 0.08. It may also include driving under the influence of alcohol without a blood test or breath test if the person is noticeably physically and mentally impaired. Additionally, it may be that a person is under the influence of drugs at the first level or under the influence of legal prescription drugs to a level that impairs their ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
Several different ways can be charged if a person is in Arlington County, but whenever they are suspected of being in violation of the statute, they should expect to be charged with a DUI offense.
DUI cases are class 1 misdemeanors for first and second offenses. There are also many opportunities for a DUI case in Virginia, even for a first offense, to result in active jail time, which can be intimidating. Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable by up to 12 months in jail.
In reality, most DUI offenders do not spend 12 months in jail, however, it is quite common that first offenses do result in jail time. This is the case for enhanced BAC cases after an engagement and other cases that involve aggravating factors. For repeat or elevated DUI offenses, there certainly may be an extended period of jail time that will be imposed consistent with the Virginia statutes and mandatory minimum laws.
Is There a Stigma With a DUI Conviction?
Arlington DUI consequences also include the social stigma with being charged and then convicted of a DUI. Being charged with a DUI shows that a person made a series of negative decisions, including consuming too much alcohol or too many drugs.
Second, it shows a person made the poor decision to get behind the wheel of their vehicle. This means that they have put their life in jeopardy, as well as the lives of everyone else on the road. In the age of Uber, ride-sharing, and public transportation, there is really no excuse for a person to use their own vehicle when they are intoxicated.
There is no emergency exception for DUI, meaning that just because a person felt they were under duress and they did not have another option to go home, it is never an excuse to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Next, in Arlington, if a person is convicted of a DUI offense, they can lose their Virginia driver’s license or, for an out-of-state driver, they can lose their privilege to operate in Virginia. They may, however, be eligible for a restrictive license under certain circumstances.
This mandatory twelve-month loss of license, though, can certainly potentially impact a person’s lifestyle. There are a lot of different things that can happen for someone convicted of a DUI the first time, but the 12-month loss of license turns into a major thing.
In addition, Virginia requires ignition interlocks if someone requests a restrictive license. This ignition interlock requirement is new as of July 1, 2012, and requires that a person who asks for a restrictive license, even for the first offense, maintains an ignition interlock device in the vehicle for a minimum of six months. By local practice, this six-month period may be extended, but there is a minimum period of six months.
What Are the Mandatory Penalties for a DUI in Arlington?
A first offense DUI in Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor, which means it is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, and special penalties such as a 12-months loss of the person’s Virginia driving privileges and completion of the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, as well as paying the court costs.
However, by local rule and by statute, a person may have additional mandatory penalties. These mandatory penalties may include additional classes as well as the fact that anyone convicted of a DUI offense in Virginia has a mandatory minimum fine of $250, making the fine range for a first offense is $250 to $2,500. Additionally, there is also a heightened amount of court costs to pay for a DUI conviction.
While a person may need some probation as a result of a first offense conviction, there is not a diversion program or pre-trial program to avoid a conviction in Arlington. Therefore, in order to avoid a conviction, they must prevail at trial.