Although Virginia is known for being tough on drunk drivers, one officer may have gone too far in his attempts to remove drunk drivers from the state's roadways. A police officer in Virginia was recently charged with committing perjury during driving under the influence, or DUI, testimony.
The officer was known for striving to have as many DUI arrests as possible within the department and received an award for having the most DUI arrests in 2008. Over a span of two years the officer has arrested over 100 drivers for drinking and driving violations and, during an interview, stated that he planned on "boosting" this number.
These charges hurt the officer's credibility, something that may bring previous DUI arrests made by the officer into question.
DUI laws in Virginia
A DUI arrest is made when a driver allegedly violates state law. In Virginia, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.08 or higher. A person could still receive a DUI charge with a lower BAC if the officer believes the driver's ability to operate the vehicle is significantly impaired.
Penalties associated with a DUI conviction can be severe. They include, but are not limited to:
- Minimum $250 fine and one year driver's license revocation with first offense
- Minimum $500 fine, three-year driver's license revocation, and up to one-year imprisonment with a second offense
- Minimum $1,000 fine, indefinite driver's license suspension, and felony charges with the third offense
In addition to these penalties, installation of an ignition interlock device is also required beginning with the first offense. After a first offense, the device is installed on the vehicle that the driver primarily operates. Second and subsequent offenses result in the installation of the device on all vehicles owned, co-owned, or operated by the driver.
The severity of penalties can also increase under a wide variety of circumstances including the presence of a child in the vehicle at the time of the offense, receiving consecutive offenses within a five-year period, and driving on a suspended license.
These are just a few of the potential criminal penalties that can be applied to a DUI conviction, but it is important to note that the negative implications of a DUI conviction extend beyond criminal penalties. Those with a DUI on record can also have difficulties finding employment and housing. More and more employers are running background checks and may look unfavorably upon a candidate with a DUI on record. Landlords may also prefer to choose a tenant without a criminal record.
Because of the wide-reaching impact, a DUI conviction can have on a person's life, it is important to take DUI charges seriously. If you or a loved one is charged with a drunken driving crime, contact an experienced DUI attorney to discuss your situation and better ensure your legal rights are protected.