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DUI/DWI Overview

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Virginia Beach DUI Lawyer

Aggressive defense of your driving privileges

Some resort towns may be lenient with drunken drivers, but Virginia Beach is not one of them. Throughout the commonwealth, law enforcement has gotten much stricter with motorists who choose to drink and drive.  Messman Law, PLC vigorously defends drivers accused of DWI/DUI offenses, challenging the commonwealth to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Our steadfast lawyers are with you every step of the way from your first call to us to the final resolution of the charges against you.

Virginia DWI/DUI laws explained

The distinction between DWI and DUI has been blurred over the years. Essentially, a DWI (driving while intoxicated) is proven by forensic evidence collected through chemical testing that demonstrates the excessive presence of an intoxicant, such as blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.08 percent. On the other hand, DUI (driving under the influence) is proven by reliable observation of impaired driving and associated behavior, such as the inability to perform a field sobriety test. An officer’s observations are routinely supported by video evidence from patrol car’s dashboard cameras.

DWI/DUI is not a traffic violation. It is a misdemeanor crime and even a first conviction means the loss of your license and can result in stiff fines and up to 12 months in jail. DUI repeat offenders face longer license revocations, harsher fines and longer jail sentences. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is possible under certain circumstances to plead to a lesser offense of reckless driving involving alcohol, or “wet reckless.” An experienced Virginia Beach DUI attorney can assess whether your circumstances merit a plea bargain.

Implied consent to chemical testing on Virginia’s public highways

Drivers hoping to beat a DWI charge by opting out of chemical testing should know that Virginia has an implied consent statute, which makes it a crime to unreasonably refuse a blood or breath test. A first refusal results in an automatic 12-month license revocation. That’s in addition to any revocation you receive if convicted of the DUI. Second and third refusals are misdemeanors punishable by longer license revocations, fines and jail time. If you are pulled over and refuse a chemical test, you face an uphill battle for license reinstatement. Your Virginia Beach DUI lawyer must somehow demonstrate that your refusal was reasonable under your particular circumstances.

Baby DUI laws target underage drivers

Virginia has a zero tolerance policy towards drivers under 21 who drink and drive. For youths, the threshold BAC for a DWI is 0.02 percent and can result in a one-year revocation of their license. A BAC over .08 percent subjects them to the same penalties as an adult.

Sailors beware: DWI/DUI covers boats as well

In a beachfront community, it’s important to emphasize that the same DWI/DUI laws are in effect on the waterways. It is illegal to operate a motorized watercraft in Virginia waters with a BAC over 0.08 percent. It’s also prudent to note that intoxication is the number one cause of accidental drowning.

Contact a determined DWI/DUI defense attorney in Virginia Beach

Messman Law, PLC offers spirited DUI defense for motorists from Norfolk to Virginia Beach and throughout the Chesapeake region. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us at or contact our office online.

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