Talk to an agent: (757) 716-7144
Press play below to listen to our audio commercial:

What You Have To Know About DWI in Virginia

When it comes to car insurance in Virginia, one of the worst things that can happen to you is to be charged for driving under the influence. Even though that most of the people know that drinking and driving is by default a bad idea, driving with alcohol in our blood system has happened even to the best of us. Perhaps not too often or too much but just enough to be pulled by the police questioned and tested for alcohol. Here follow an overview on how to behave, how the police officers approach this matter, the DUI laws, your rights, your obligations and what that can mean to your car insurance premiums.

Giveaways signs for DUI

Here follows a list of signs that help the officers to detect drunk drivers on the highways. The list is sum of symptoms of probabilities that the person behind the wheel is driving under the influence of alcohol. This list is derived from a research made by the National Highway Traffic Administration:

–              Weaving

–              Drifting

–              Wide turns

–              Swerving

–              Delayed response to traffic signals

–              Appearing to be drunk

–              Following too closely

–              Speed more than 10 mph below the limit

–              Straddling center of lane marker

–              Stopping without any cause or need

–              Almost striking an object or vehicle

–              Headlights off

–              Decelerating or accelerating rapidly

–              Turning illegally or abruptly

On the other hand incidental speeding is not seen as a symptom of DWI, but as quicker reflexes and judgment, often seen by the officers as a sign of sobriety.

What to say if asked by the police officer if you have been drinking?

If it’s late night it’s highly likely that the police officer will ask you that question. If you had few drinks you have the right not to answer that question. The Fifth Amendment gives you the right not to answer questions that incriminate you. Something like: “I would like to speak to my attorney before I answer that” should be the best thing to say. But, if you had only one or two beers you can tell the officer about that. That won’t incriminate you because one or two beers won’t show on the BAC test and it may explain your alcohol breath. However, you need to know that in the State of Virginia if pulled by a police office and asked to do a BAC test you must take it. Otherwise you risk an arrest and an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for at least seven months.

Signs and symptoms that you might be driving under the influence

Here is a list of signs and symptoms of driving under the influence that the police officers are taught at the academies. Very often they apply that knowledge in practice.

–              Inability to follow directions

–              rumpled, disorderly clothing

–              Swaying/instability on feet

–              Red, watery, glassy and/or bloodshot eyes

–              Odor of alcohol on breath

–              Leaning on car for support

–              Combative, argumentative, jovial or other “inappropriate” attitude

–              Staggering when exiting vehicle

–              Slurred speech

–              Disorientation as to time and place

–              Fumbling with wallet trying to get license

–              Failure to comprehend the officer’s questions

–              Stumbling while walking

–              Swaying/instability on feet

–              Inability to follow directions

–              Flushed face

What if asked to do a field sobriety test?

You can be asked to perform all sorts of field sobriety tests by the police officers. Test such as finger to nose, alphabet recitation, modified attention or position, fingers to thumbs, hand pat, one leg stand, etc. Most of the police officers will ask you to do few tests before they make their mind. However, unlike the breath test you are not obligated by the law to do take any field sobriety test. The police officers ask for such tests if your BAC is below the minimum and they still suspect that you are under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, polite refusal is highly recommended action.

Self-representation or a lawyer

Self-representation is not recommendable course of action even that you can do it if you like. But, considering how complex area is driving while intoxicated that is not a popular move. The best course of action is if you hire an attorney that is specialized in this area and that has plenty of experience in handling DWI cases. A reputable DWI lawyer can review your case for potential defects such as maintenance records and calibration for the breath machine, suppress evidence, have blood samples independently analyzed, find expert witness for your trial and eventually negotiate reduced sentence or lesser charge.

What about sentencing enhancement?

This can mean much bigger trouble for you if certain facts exist. The most serious is if this is not your first conviction for similar or the same offense within ten years’ time period.  Other types of sentencing enhancement may include:

–              You had a child in your car while driving intoxicated

–              There was iVAury or property damage

–              The driver had a CDL

–              The defendant is under twenty one

In addition to that you need to be aware that in case of a serious bodily iVAury cause by your DWI elevates the offense to a felony. In case of death the charge can elevate to manslaughter or even murder charge.

What if you are convicted of DWI?

In such case you will need to pay $1.000 a year surcharge for a period of three years. The surcharges can be paid at monthly rates of $83 per month for thirty six months.

What about the risk of doing jail time?

Most of the convicted DWI drivers do community service programs instead of actual jail time. (1)

What about the “Ten year rule”?

This means that a ten years old DWI conviction does not count as a prior conviction if charged for DWI again. The main point is that DWI driver will not receive sentencing enhancement if his previous DWI conviction is older than ten or more years.

Regardless whether you are convicted for DWI or no, there is one more thing that you can do in order to get the lowest possible care premiums. Enter your zip above on this page and see how much you can save on your car insurance in Virginia. That is the most effective way to find the best and cheapest car insurance company on the territory of Virginia.