To convict one of DUI or DWI, a prosecutor must prove (1) that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle; and (2) that at the time of operation he either (a) had a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of 0.08 or more, (b) he was “under the influence of alcohol,” (c) he was “under the influence” of a narcotic or other self-administered intoxicant or drug or a combination of such drugs to a degree which impaired his ability to operate a motor vehicle safely; or (d) he was under the combined influence of alcohol and any drug or any combination of such drugs to a degree which impaired his ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
There are related offenses, such as “Involuntary Manslaughter,” where an alcohol-impaired individual is in an accident that results in death of another. Also, “Refusal of Tests” results in a civil penalty. One commits this violation by refusing to submit to a blood or breath test after being arrested for DUI. The punishment is a one year license suspension in addition to any punishment for the underlying DUI.
Typically, however, DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment is up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. The mandatory minimum punishment, for a first offense with a low blood alcohol level from a breath or blood test is (1) a one year driving license suspension; (2) successful completion of a substance abuse program called the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP); and a fine of at least $250.00. Regarding the license suspension, the judge is authorized to reissue a restricted license, allowing one to drive to and from work and other limited trips during the license suspension period.