Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Virginia – FAQ

Dirk Padgett Law has decades of experience in the Roanoke, VA area defending those charged with first-time DUI, repeat or felony DUI, driving under the influence of drugs or controlled substances (DUID), underage drinking and driving, and alcohol-related car accidents. We also continue to enhance our education, having recently received advanced level training from the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys on how to analyze Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) cases.

Here are our answers to some commonly asked questions. Keep in mind that all cases are different. Contact Dirk Padgett Law to speak with an attorney about your specific situation. Consultations are free and there’s no obligation.

  • What is DUI?
    • The Commonwealth of Virginia considers anyone operating a motor vehicle (including mopeds) with Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of more than 0.08% to be Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Someone can also be charged with DUI, however, even if their BAC is less than 0.08% if they show signs of being impaired.
      • NOTE: For persons under the age of 21 years, the BAC threshold for DUI is only 0.02%. More on that below.
    • Someone is considered Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) if their judgment, reaction time, coordination or other factors are impaired by any type of drug. This not only includes illicit (street) drugs, but prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs as well.
  • What is BAC?
    • Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is the measurement of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. In Virginia, a person is legally intoxicated if their BAC is 0.08% or greater.
    • Factors that determine BAC are:
      • Amount of alcohol consumed
      • Time period alcohol in which was consumed
      • Body composition
      • Biological gender
      • Other factors (medication, food, etc.)
  • What is Implied Consent?
    • Virginia’s Implied Consent Law requires any driver arrested for DUI in the Commonwealth to provide a breath or blood sample. Unreasonable refusal to submit to a blood or breath test following an arrest for DUI will result in a separate charge. Punishment for refusal is an automatic driver’s license revocation, fines, and possibly jail time.
  • Can you be charged with DUI on private property?
    • Yes. It is illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This applies to public and private property. There are some legal technicalities regarding the application of the Implied Consent law to those arrested for DUI on private property. 
  • What’s the punishment for DUI?
    • Conviction of DUI is a serious offense in Virginia. Several factors influence the severity and type of punishments applied. Whether this is a first or subsequent offense, whether subsequent offenses have occurred within the past five years, etc. The Virginia DMV has a helpful overview of detailed punishments here.
  • Are there different rules for someone under 21 years of age?
    • Yes. Virginia adopts a zero tolerance policy with regard to underage drinking. The legal age to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol in Virginia is 21 years. Anyone less than 21 years of age who operates a motor vehicle in Virginia can be convicted for Underage DUI with a BAC of only 0.02%. They are also subject to conviction for Standard DUI if their BAC is above 0.08%. 
  • Why should I hire an attorney if I’ve been charged with DUI?
    • Being charged with DUI is a serious offense that, if convicted, can result in severe penalties – fines, suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, even jail time. It’s important that you have legal representation throughout the process to protect and fight for you.

If you have questions and would like to schedule a free, no obligation consultation, Dirk Padgett Law is here to help. Contact us today.


This content is for basic informational purposes only and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.