Virginia Beach, VA – Although drunk driving accidents still happen regularly in Virginia and other states, things like strict criminal penalties and awareness campaigns have been shown to be effective at reducing these kinds of crashes. After a collision, there can be criminal charges from the government and civil lawsuits from the victim, which should work as a form of deterrence due to the serious consequences for the driver responsible.
Virginia’s DUI law
The state of Virginia has passed strict laws that contain harsh penalties for anyone who is caught driving after using drugs or consuming enough alcohol to be beyond the legal limit. The limit for alcohol consumption is a blood alcohol concentration of .08. However, police officers in Virginia are also allowed to arrest someone for DUI regardless of their blood alcohol concentration if they believe the person is impaired. In cases where the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is found to be at .08 or above, the jury is instructed that this fact alone is enough for a conviction. There are also lower legal limits for drivers of commercial vehicles and underage drivers, as these are set at .04 and and .02 respectively.
Penalties for drunk drivers
A first offense DUI where there was no accident carries a number of penalties. This is a criminal misdemeanor where fines can range from a few hundred to over two thousand dollars. There are also associated driver’s license suspensions of up to one year. There is also the possibility of jail time, especially if the driver had a high blood alcohol reading of .15 or greater. Drivers who cause accidents while intoxicated and those who have prior DUI records can face much more severe penalties, such as longer periods of a license suspension and jail sentences that can last over a year if the driver was charged with a felony for causing a collision while drunk.
Victim’s rights and non-criminal consequences
A victim of a drunk driving accident may be involved in the process to prosecute the drunk driver by assisting the state with their case. This process is mostly handled by the government, but the victim can be called to assist for a few reasons, such as testifying at trial when necessary or giving input regarding sentencing. However, the victim is also able to try to get back any financial losses that were associated with the collision through a civil accident lawsuit. A negligence case can be used to make the driver pay for healthcare costs, effects on the victim’s income, and pain and suffering. The person responsible for the accident may also have increased insurance costs and difficulty finding employment if they need to drive or operate machinery in their occupation.
Finding a local lawyer in Virginia Beach
USAttorneys.com is a service that connects people with local lawyers throughout the country. They can be contacted for more information at 800-672-3103
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