Here Are Some FAQs About DUI Traffic Stops

Q: What is the legal limit for blood toxicity?

A: Generally, it’s illegal for someone to drive while impaired by illicit substances or alcohol. However, that does not mean that prescription drugs are excluded. Driving while impaired is defined as a state where you’ve drunk or used enough alcohol or drugs, respectively, to the point where your brain prevents you from critical reasoning and driving safely. Many studies believe impairment occurs to a lot of individuals way before they think they’re drunk or high.

From an objective standpoint, if your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or higher and you began driving on the road, you would be Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). For people under 21, the legal drinking age in the United States, in practically every state you will be considered driving under the influence if your blood alcohol content is greater than 0.1% or 0.2%, subject to which state you live.

Q: How do police determine a driver is under the influence?

A: Police typically have three different methods to determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol:

  1. Evidence of reckless driving – Usually, a police officer will pull you over if they see that you are showing symptoms of driving under the influence. These signs may be swerving, speeding, driving too slowly, refusing to stop, failing to yield, and similar indications that tell an officer you’re driving while impaired. However, if you have a valid reason as to why you were driving that way, an officer will likely let you go with either a ticket or warning. If you’re pulled over an officer will usually be looking at your eyes and will see if they can smell alcohol on your breath.
  2. Field Sobriety Tests – If you’re pulled over, and an officer believes you’re driving under the influence, they may ask you to exit your vehicle to complete field sobriety tests. Which may include walking in a straight line, standing on one leg, or a speech tests. The office will be observing your eyes for any pupil dilation or blurriness. If you failed one or more of the previous tests, you would likely be subject to a chemical test.
  3. Chemical Blood Alcohol Level Tests – If you’ve failed a field sobriety test, an officer will take you in to complete a blood alcohol level reading. These tests are typically done by testing blood, urine or breath sample. The blood test is straightforward and easily measures the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. The urine and breath tests are completed based on a mathematical formula that determines your blood alcohol content from a sample. If your reading states above a 0.08% blood alcohol level, you will receive a DUI unless you manage to convince the judge that you weren’t impaired or driving unsafely. Keep in mind; several lawyers build a drunk driving defense by challenging the mathematical formula used in the tests.


Speeding Ticket

Virginia Driver’s License Points System

To punish repeat offenders, Virginia uses a driver’s license points system. Every time you’re convicted of a moving violation, points are added to your record. If you get too many points, your license will be suspended.

Here’s an outline of the penalty points for various moving violations in Virginia:

  • Speeding 1 to 9 mph over the limit – 3 points
  • Speeding 10 to 19 mph over the limit – 4 points
  • Speeding 20 mph or more over the limit – 6 points
  • Following too closely – 4 points

Speeding Ticket Fines

Virginia is serious about curbing speed violations in the State and has introduced speeding fines that can top $3,000.  More accurately, these are the fines imposed for speeding plus any reckless driving felony/misdemeanor violations you also incur.  Typically, a driver will pay $5.00 for every mph he or she is driving over the speed limit plus court fees of $62.00.  Add to that the new civil penalties for Reckless Driving and you are looking at a tremendous fine!  Additionally, these civil remedial fees are not one-time payments.  You will be put on a scheduled payment plan where you will owe the specified amount annually:

3-Point Demerit Violations at $5.00 for every mph over the posted speed limit:

  • Speeding 1-9 mph above the posted speed limit

4-Point Demerit Violations at $5.00 for every mph over the posted speed limit:

  • Speeding 10-14 mph above the posted speed limit
  • Speeding 15-19 mph above the posted speed limit
  • Speeding 10-19 mph above the posted speed limit

6-Point Demerit Violations at $5.00 for every mph over the posted speed limit plus all civil remedial fees:

  • Reckless driving – speeding in excess of 80 mph – Misdemeanor – $350.00 for each of the following 3 years
  • Reckless driving – speeding in excess of 80 mph – Felony – $1000.00 for each of the following 3 years