Driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated is a very recurring offense that many drivers face in Virginia. It is a serious offense and may lead and result to serious punishments and penalties in the state. In Virginia, driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated are regarded as interchangeable in terms of the penalties associated with them, however the terms themselves have a slight difference in terms of their meanings and interpretation. Despite the fact that many states differentiates between those two terms, Virginia governs both of the terms under one statute.
However, in Virginia and under its laws, the terms have the following meaning and definition.
Driving under the influence refers to driving while intoxicated; drunk driving. In Virginia, a driver may be charged with such offense regardless of his/her blood alcohol content. Drivers are charged with such an offense if the alcohol they consumed caused them to be unable to properly drive and in accordance with the laws in Virginia.
On the other hand, driving while intoxicated slightly differs in terms of meaning from driving under the influence. Driving while intoxicated is an offense charged towards the driver if his/her blood alcohol content is above 0.08% regardless if he/she is able to drive properly. Hence, the difference is that driving under the influence is a charge that drivers face if they are unable to drive due to alcohol consumption, without specifically stating what the blood alcohol content is while driving while intoxicated is a charge that drivers face if they are unable to drive due to their blood alcohol content being over 0.08%.
Nonetheless, both these terms, as mentioned above, are interchangeable in terms of the penalties associated with them. Driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence drivers are subject to the following penalties in accordance to the laws of Virginia:
- A person whether driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated may be subject to a maximum of 12 month jail sentence with a minimum of five days mandatory sentence in case his/her blood alcohol content was at least 0.15% and ten days if his/her blood alcohol content was 0.20% or more;
- Both situations, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated drivers, may be subject to a fee in the range between $250 and $2,500; and/or
- Both situations, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated drivers may have their licenses suspended for a period not exceeding one year as a maximum.
As a result, due to driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence being interchangeable terms, it is recommended for a driver charged with any of these offenses to contact and even hire an attorney at law that is highly experienced in the field. It is never recommended that the driver represents himself/herself in court defending his/her case or even research the difference between those two terms. A lot of out-of-state drivers are not familiar with Virginia’s laws and statutes on driving while intoxicated and/or driving under the influence.
If you need a Virginia DUI Lawyer to help you with your DUI case in Virginia, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Virginia DUI Attorneys can help you.