In Virginia, The “D” in “DUI” Does Not Always Mean “Driving.” Get the Facts on Virginia Driving Under the Influence Laws.
Consider this: You’re an upstanding citizen. You always try to “do the right thing.”
To you, this means never drink and drive. And that’s always a good rule to follow.
So, one night you leave the bar in Arlington or Fairfax and you think to yourself, “I probably shouldn’t drive until I’ve sobered up a bit.”
That’s good thinking, so far.
You get into your car, lean the seat back, turn on the radio and/or the heater (if it’s been a cold night) and you decide to be safe and “sleep it off.”
A loud KNOCK on your window wakes you up and you’re startled to see a police officer outside your car telling you to roll your window down. At this point, maybe you’re thinking he’s going to congratulate you for deciding not to be a danger to others by drinking and driving, right?
He’s getting ready to bust you for DUI. WHaaaaaat??!!
Most people know that the “D” in “DUI” literally stands for “Driving.” But did you know that Virginia DUI Law, IN REALITY, prohibits “Operating” a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. What’s the difference? Well, “Operating” has nothing to do with “Driving” and includes simply having the car radio on or the heater on –even though the engine is “off”!! Again, you ask, “Whhaaaaaat?”
But wait, there’s MORE!
In 2014 the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that a person listening to his radio, with the engine “off” IN HIS OWN DRIVEWAY could be found guilty of DUI! Yup. You read that right. The case is here: http://law.justia.com/cases/virginia/supreme-court…
Still, some Virginia prosecutors and certain Virginia judges may be more lenient toward a person who was not actually “driving” their car, though technically was “operating” their car while over the legal limit of .08 Blood Alcohol Content (“BAC”). That makes sense if you think about it and remember that the primary focus of DUI laws is to save lives. Although “legally” speaking, a person who is sitting (or even sleeping!) in his car is technically within the reach of the law, the harm he is causing is nowhere near the potential harm he could cause if his car was moving down the road, through traffic and around pedestrians or bicyclists.
In cases like this, some prosecutors may be open-minded enough to consider perhaps amending your DUI charge to a traffic offense which doesn’t mention anything involving alcohol or intoxication.
Whether they make that decision or not is often dependent on
the QUALITY and RESPECTED SKILLS of the DUI Defense Attorney they know they have to deal with.
Take Immediate Action and contact the experienced and knowledgeable Virginia DUI Attorney Eric Clingan at THE Nova Law Firm, (703) 352-9347. Your case, and the details you provide, will give Eric Clingan valuable insight into your DUI case so that he may apply the strongest strategy towards your DUI defense. Let Eric Clingan and The NoVa Law Firm prove to you what so many others already know. Eric is The Attorney You Turn To.