Driving under the influence of alcohol is without a doubt a very serious matter. Many people face drunk driving charges in Virginia, and many times judges can use their discretion in sentencing a person. Proposed law changes in the Virginia House of Delegates would increase the penalties for drunk driving convictions. This means that a more rigorous defense may be necessary.
The laws would increase the penalty for those convicted of killing or injuring a person while driving drunk, as well as tighten the restrictions on driving after a DUI conviction. The laws would mandate that anyone convicted of a DUI install an ignition interlock device when they are convicted of a DUI for the first time.
Previously, the laws would only require those convicted of a second offense install the devices. These devices prevent a person with a certain blood alcohol content from starting a vehicle that has it installed.
These laws would make sentencing guidelines more defined for DUI convictions, and could have adverse effects on people. People with low blood alcohol content (BAC) and are convicted of a DUI in Virginia could face similar penalties as those who have a much higher BAC.
Although these law changes might help deter some people from drinking and driving, it is important that the rights of the accused are still preserved, and that a reasonable sentence is handed out to those that are convicted. A criminal defense attorney can help ensure your rights are respected throughout the legal process.
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Bills to strengthen DUI laws working through House," Wesley P. Hester, Feb. 7, 2012