As you know, in addition to my profession as an attorney, I am also Chairman of the Committee that writes the laws in the State of Virginia. As of July 1, 2017, there are many new laws pertaining to rulings on Driving under the Influence (DUI) and Driver’s Licenses. In essence, these laws provide more clarity on revocation or suspension of licenses including period of suspension and uses, punishments for repeated DUI’s, changes to refusal of blood or breath tests under implied consent, and alternatives to loss of license with first time marijuana convictions. A DUI Lawyer Fairfax VA needs to know these new changes.
Revocation or suspension of driver’s licenses; laws of other jurisdictions. If somebody is convicted in another state of an offense that is substantially similar to a law in Virginia which would cause their license to be suspended or revoked, then the Commissioner of the DMV will apply the Virginia license suspension laws on the driver. The controversy is in the determination of whether the law is substantially similar. DUI Lawyer Fairfax VA and the DMV often are in disagreement over whether laws are or are not substantially similar. This law also creates a process for anyone who believes that the Commissioner incorrectly determined that the other state’s law was substantially similar and allows them request a review of their revocation or suspension. Provides that when the Commissioner makes the determination that a law is substantially similar, the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles is limited to reviewing only the text of another state’s laws. The Commissioner cannot look into the facts of the offense. The bill also provides that if the Commissioner cannot reasonably determine from the text of the other jurisdiction’s law whether such law is substantially similar to the law of the Commonwealth, the Commissioner may, if available, review a certified copy of the final order of the person’s conviction in the other jurisdiction. The bill also establishes a process for any person whose driver’s license was administratively revoked or suspended prior to July 1, 2017, on the basis of a conviction in another state to request a review of such revocation or suspension. The provisions of the act do not apply to any disqualification of eligibility to operate a commercial motor vehicle imposed by the Commissioner pursuant to the Virginia Commercial Driver’s License Act.
Driving commercial vehicle while intoxicated; penalties. This law makes the penalties for DUI and commercial DUI the same while also increasing the minimum sentencing on Commercial DUI for repeated offenses or offenses committed while transporting minors. Harmonizes the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) and commercial DUI. Strangely enough, DUI Lawyer Fairfax VA rarely see commercial DUI. The police usually just charge regular DUI. The bill imposes the same punishments for a regular DUI into the commercial DUI section — a $250 mandatory minimum fine for a first offense of commercial DUI and mandatory minimum sentences of five days if the person’s blood alcohol level was at least 0.15 and 10 days if the person’s blood alcohol level was more than 0.20. The bill increases from five to 20 days the mandatory minimum sentence for a second offense committed within five years, adds a 10-day mandatory minimum sentence for a second offense committed within five to 10 years, and imposes a $500 mandatory minimum fine for any second offense committed within a 10-year period. The bill also imposes additional mandatory minimum sentences for a second offense committed within 10 years of 10 days if the person’s blood alcohol level was at least 0.15 and 20 days if the person’s blood alcohol level was more than 0.20 as well as an additional $500 mandatory minimum fine. The bill raises the penalty for a third offense committed within 10 years from a Class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days, or 30 days if the three offenses were committed within five years, to a Class 6 felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days, or six months if the three offenses were committed within five years, and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. The bill adds a penalty for a fourth or subsequent offense committed within a 10-year period that includes a mandatory minimum sentence of one year and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. The bill also provides that a person convicted of commercial DUI after being convicted of certain felony DUI or DUI-related offenses is guilty of a Class 6 felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. The bill also provides that the punishment for any person convicted of commercial DUI who was transporting a minor at the time of the offense shall include an additional mandatory minimum sentence of five days and an additional fine of at least $500 and no more than $1,000. Finally, the bill provides that the mandatory minimum punishments are cumulative and mandatory minimum sentences must be served consecutively.
Ignition interlock; duration; installation. This law clarifies that the number of days where someone is required to have an ignition interlock is calculated from the day the court issues him a restricted license, and the count of the number of days is paused between expiration of the court issued license and the issuance of a new license by the DMV. Provides that the period of time during which a person is (i) prohibited from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system or (ii) required to have an ignition interlock system installed on each motor vehicle owned by or registered to him is calculated from the date the court issues him a restricted license. The bill further provides that this period of time is tolled upon the expiration of the restricted license issued by the court until such time as the person is issued a restricted license by the Department of Motor Vehicles. One tip that a good DUI Lawyer Fairfax VA may tell his clients is that you don’t have to have interlock for first time offenses, if you don’t want to drive at all for a year. So if you are on Metro, then don’t do the hassle of Interlock!
DUI; implied consent; refusal of blood or breath tests. The United States Supreme Court held that in a DUI blood test case, the withdrawal of blood is so invasive, that it will require a search warrant if the penalty of Refusal is criminal. Breath Tests were not held to be so invasive, so breath tests can still have criminal punishments. Since our law had criminal punishments on Refusal for blood, it was Unconstitutional to require a blood test without a search warrant. With this bill, if a Defendant wishes to refuse a blood test for alcohol of drugs, there is no criminal penalties. Breath tests Refusal remains criminal for repeat offenders. Eliminates the criminal penalties for refusing to submit to a blood test to determine the alcohol or drug content of a defendant’s blood upon arrest for a DUI-related offense under the law on implied consent. The bill also increases to a Class 1 misdemeanor the criminal penalty for refusing to submit to a breath test under the law on implied consent for an offense committed within 10 years of a prior offense of refusal or of another DUI-related offense. The bill also extends to blood tests performed by the Department of Forensic Science pursuant to a search warrant the rebuttable presumption that a person is intoxicated based on the person’s blood alcohol level demonstrated by such tests. The bill also provides that an application for a search warrant to perform a blood test on a person suspected of committing a DUI-related offense shall be given priority over other matters pending before the judge or magistrate. Finally, the bill establishes a rebuttable presumption applicable in a civil case for punitive damages for injuries caused by an intoxicated driver that a person who has consumed alcohol knew or should have known that his ability to drive was or would be impaired by such consumption. This bill is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S. Ct. 2160 (2016). DUI Lawyer Fairfax VA need to know this new case like the back of their hand. The bill contains an emergency clause.
Patron: Bell, Robert B.
Driving on a suspended or revoked license; period of suspension. This law clarifies that the additional suspension period for driving on a suspended license due to failure to pay court costs and fines will run at the same time as the current suspension period. Provides that any driver’s license suspension imposed upon a person for the failure to pay court-ordered fines and costs shall run concurrently with any other period of license suspension, revocation, or forfeiture imposed upon such person. The bill also provides that in the event that a person whose license has been suspended for the failure to pay court-ordered fines and costs is convicted of driving on a suspended or revoked license, the additional period of license suspension imposed as a result of that conviction runs concurrently with the underlying suspension for the failure to pay court-ordered fines and costs. Under current law, such additional suspension period does not commence until the expiration of the previous suspension or revocation.
Restricted driver’s license; purposes. Adds travel to and from a job interview to the list of purposes for the issuance of a restricted driver’s license. The bill provides that a person issued a restricted driver’s license for this purpose is required to maintain on his person written proof from the prospective employer of the date, time, and location of the job interview.