Holiday Cheers

Gavel, Alcoholic Drink & Car Keys on a Gradated Background - Drinking and Driving Concept.

The holidays are a time for family and friends to gather to celebrate. For many of us, “holiday cheer” involves consuming alcohol at parties and other gatherings.  Unfortunately, drinking and good judgment do not go hand in hand.  In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving accidents in the U.S., that’s an average of 1 fatality every 53 minutes*.

In most states, when operating a motor vehicle, boat or watercraft you are legally considered driving or operating under the influence (DUI) if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent of higher. If you are under the age of 21, you will receive a DUI for a BAC of 0.02 or higher.

So what if poor judgment lands you in this situation? Here’s what you need to know:

First, contact your attorney. If you are a member of Legal Resources, the attorney’s fees to represent you for a first offense DUI are fully covered by the plan. Remember, fines, court costs, or penalties assessed are your responsibility.

Here is what else you can expect:

Administrative License Suspension:  Your license will be automatically suspended for 7 days if your BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, OR if you refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer test.

Penalties

  • Minimum $250 fine
  • Suspension of your license for 12 months
  • One year on probation
  • Ignition interlock device installed on at least one of your vehicles and any vehicles you operate as a condition of restricted driving privileges.
  • Enrollment in an Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) at your own expense

Penalties and fines become more severe for subsequent DUIs. For example, you face a minimum fine of $500, potentially have your license suspended for at least three years, and face up to a year in jail.

Additionally, if your BAC is above 0.15%, you may face more than 5 days in jail automatically.

It is important to note that unless and until you are granted restricted driving privileges, you are not allowed to drive at any time, for any reason, while your case is pending.  If you are caught driving during this time you will likely be arrested and taken to jail.

For more information:

Virginia DMV

DUI Explainer

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Stats

*National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812231.pdf

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