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DUI versus DUI ‘per se’ in Virginia

| Jun 18, 2021 | Criminal defense |

Summer fun in Virginia means beach days, barbecues and family gatherings that may have not happened for many months. Alcohol is often a part of the celebration, and most people celebrate responsibly. Yet even a responsible drinker can find themselves being pulled over by police on their way home and arrested for drunk driving.

Two types of DUIs in Virginia

Virginia law recognizes DUI “per se,” which is what most of us think of when we think of DUI. If a motorist has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater as shown by a breath test or blood test, they can be arrested for DUI with no further evidence of intoxication needed.

However, did you know that in Virginia you can be arrested for DUI even if your BAC was below the legal limit? In Virginia a motorist can be arrested for DUI if they are under the influence of alcohol to a degree that they can no longer drive safely even if their BAC is below 0.08%.

Determining impairment

There are several ways besides chemical tests that police can determine that a person is too intoxicated to drive. Failed field sobriety tests are a common indicator of impairment. In addition, police may witness the motorist weaving between lanes, speeding up or slowing down. After pulling the motorist over police may observe that the motorist’s eyes are bloodshot, that the motorist smells of alcohol or that the motorist is slurring their speech. The motorist may not understand the questions or directions being asked of them, the motorist may act inappropriately or the motorist may be disoriented. These are some signs that a motorist may be under the influence of alcohol.

Learn more about DUI in Virginia

A DUI can put a damper not only on summer fun, but for many months to come. It is important that Virginians understand DUI laws in their state. This post is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on DUI may be a useful resource for those who want to learn more about this topic.