DUI in Virginia: Defined by the Code

“Driving under the influence” is a serious charge. Most people charged with a first (1st) offense (and many times, those charged with a subsequent offense, too), are shocked that they are in such a situation.

If you have a pending charge and the offense is alleged to have occurred in Fairfax County or a different area in Northern Virginia, then strongly consider immediately calling or submitting a case evaluation request to Vincenzes Law PLLC: Ask for Brent, Fairfax DUI lawyer.

Fairfax DUI Lawyer Suggestion: Understand the Basics

Generally speaking, there are numerous ways for one to be charged with driving while under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol in Virginia.  This section of the Code of Virginia is a suggested starting point for those seeking an explanation of a basic DUI law.  It addresses:

  • which specific drugs are named in the statute, including;
  • the blood concentration limit(s) of the specifically named substances, and;
  • whether there are any other drugs that can lead to a DUI arrest in Virginia.

If faced with a first or subsequent DUI: speak with a qualified attorney.  If you are in the Northern Virginia area, your case may very well be heard in Fairfax.  Many attorneys offer free consultations: if charged, then speaking with a Fairfax DUI lawyer may be the best course of immediate action.

Fairfax DUI Lawyer Simple Breakdown of the Basics of Code of Virginia (§ 18.2-266)

it is against the law to operate a vehicle, engine or train:

  • with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
  • “under the influence of alcohol” (yes, even if below .08).
  • under the influence of any narcotic or intoxicant (or combination of drugs)…”to a degree which impairs his ability to drive…safely.”
  • under the influence of alcohol combined with drugs “to a degree which impairs his ability to drive…safely.”

Additionally, these specific substances and blood concentration limits are mentioned:

(note: just because a person is charged with DUI, it does not mean they will not be also charged with possession of cocaine or any other banned substance, in a addition to DUI based on the consumption of said substance).

(note: the blood concentration levels deemed unlawful under this code section are “equal to, or greater than” the number listed below)

  • Cocaine: 0.02 milligrams per liter of blood
  • Methamphetamine: .1 milligrams per liter of blood
  • Phencyclidine: .01 milligrams per liter of blood
  • 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine: .01 milligrams per liter of blood

What about other drugs?  Are these the only drugs that matter?

No.  Above, see the third bullet point under the first section (just under the link to (§ 18.2-266), which clearly states that it shall be unlawful for a driver of a “motor vehicle, engine or train” to operate it “under the influence of any narcotic or intoxicant (or combination of drugs)…’to a degree which impairs his ability to drive…safely.”

Involuntary Intoxication: Date-rape drugs and others

The Code also includes the word “self-administered” in reference to the narcotic/intoxicant sub-section, and thus, if you were slipped a drug (as sometimes does unfortunately happen), then that drug would not be legally deemed “self-administered.”  Of course, an officer may not know this and a driver unknowingly intoxicated and unsafe to drive could still get arrested.  It would then (hopefully) be sorted out by the legal system.  Any person charged with DUI should seriously consider a lawyer.  Even if they truly are innocent based on a scenario such as the “date-rape” drug scenario (involuntary intoxication), it is very important to meet with a lawyer, as he or she will be in the best position to explain what evidence that would be very helpful, depending on the facts of your case.  Some evidence could potentially be time sensitive, so procrastination is not a good idea if a decision to consult an attorney has been made but not acted upon.

Although research is a great idea, sometimes those charged with a DUI in Virginia do not have the time nor the desire to learn about, or research all of the possible legal consequences.  These people just want to talk to an attorney, right away.  This is perfectly understandable, as even a first DUI can truly be a life-changing event.  Fairfax DUI lawyer, Brent Vincenzes of Vincenzes Law PLLC, can generally meet with a person with a pending DUI charge within 1-2 business days, or sometimes, even the same day.  If a person is in jail, it may be possible to schedule a bond hearing for the very next morning.

Image credits:

“Brandy Glasses And Key” courtesy of Naypong /

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