DUI Charges in Fairfax County
Virginia’s DUI Law, 18.2-266, prohibits driving a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (“BAC”) over 0.08 or at any level that impairs your ability to drive. If you have been arrested for a Fairfax DUI, below are some things to know.
The penalties for a Fairfax DUI range based on two things. First, your alleged BAC. Second, whether you have any previous DUI convictions, and when they were. For a full breakdown of the penalties, you can visit our DUI page.
In general, though, a first offense DUI is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 1 year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. Your license will also be suspended for one year, though you may be eligible for a restricted license with an interlock device. A BAC of over .15, if convicted, will carry 5 days mandatory jail time. That mandatory time goes to 10 if your BAC is .20 or higher.
A third offense DUI is a Class 6 Felony, which can carry serious mandatory jail time, as well.
Process for a Fairfax DUI
Being arrested for DUI is scary and intimidating.
First, you need to know that you do not need to do the Field Sobriety Tests if you are charged with a Fairfax DUI. These optional tests include the Preliminary Breath Test, which is the hand-held breath test, as well as any of the roadside tests like the One Leg Stand, the Walk and Turn, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (following a pen with your eyes).
You are required to take a breath-test when requested after your arrest. This would be via the Intox EC/IR II machine, which is a stationary machine kept at the police station. Failure to take this test can lead to a separate charge for refusal.
If you cannot take a breath-test, or refuse to do so, the police may get a warrant for your blood, which will result in a blood-draw to test your BAC. The results of this test will come well after your arrest, but can result in your charge being amended to included an elevated BAC, if appropriate.
After your arrest for a Fairfax DUI, you will have an arraignment set. This is your first court date. At this date, your charges will be read to you, and the Judge will ask if you plan to hire your own attorney. If you hire an attorney ahead of time, your attorney can enter their appearance and waive this arraignment.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI offense, your case will be handled entirely in the Fairfax General District Court. While there are no jury trials in the General District Court, you have an automatic right to appeal your case to the Circuit Court, where you may have a jury trial. Felony DUIs begin in the General District Court, but are ultimately tried in the Fairfax Circuit Court.