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What should I know about impaired driving in Virginia?

Impaired driving is a very serious problem throughout this nation, and Virginia isn't an exception to that. When you think of impaired driving, you can't think about only alcohol these days. Instead, you have to think about alcohol and drugs. Essentially, you would have to include anything that could alter your ability to drive in a safe manner when you think about impaired driving.

What is BAC?

Your blood-alcohol concentration is the percentage of alcohol that is in your blood. The BAC is the basis of the drunk driving laws as they pertain to alcohol in Virginia. This state has a BAC limit of .08 percent for all drivers who can legally consume alcohol. If your BAC is at or above that limit, you will face criminal charges. It might shock you to learn that even with a lower BAC, you might still face charges if there is evidence that you are impaired.

What kind of drugs are associated with impaired driving?

Any drug that alters your mental state can lead to impaired driving charges. These can be illegal drugs, prescriptions or over-the-counter medications. Even if your BAC is .00 percent, you can face criminal charges if it is proven that you used a drug that affects the skills you need to drive.

Who is most likely to drive impaired by drugs or alcohol?

Impaired driving because of alcohol is more common in the age group of 21 to 34 years old. Impaired driving because of drugs is more common in 16- to 20-year-olds.

No matter what age group you fit into or what type of impaired driving charge you are facing, you need to find out what penalties you face and what options you have to resolve the case.

Source: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, "Drinking and Driving Frequently Asked Questions," accessed Sep. 16, 2016

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Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

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