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DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED: The Basics

Why is it Important to Consult an Experienced Virginia Beach Criminal Lawyer?

A charge relating to driving while intoxicated can be particularly embarrassing and damaging to one’s reputation. Consult your Virginia Beach Criminal Lawyer for an assessment of your rights if you’ve been charged with driving while intoxicated.

In general, two common charges relate to driving while intoxicated. The more often overlooked offense arises when one refuses to take a breath or blood test. Speak to your local Virginia Beach Criminal Attorney regardless of the circumstances.

It is important to understand your rights. For example, in one Virginia case, the prosecution could not convict the defendant in a situation where an intoxicating drug was administered by a medical service employee.  Every case is fact specific, and therefore, an experienced Virginia Beach Criminal Lawyer is an essential element of your legal defense plan.

Can a Person be Charged for Driving While Intoxicated, Under the Influence of a Non-Alcoholic Substance?

Yes. In Virginia, alcohol is not the only substance covered by the law. For example, the statute under which the offense is charged under prohibits operating a motor vehicle, engine, or train while under the influence of a self-administered intoxicant, narcotic, or drug of any type.

 

In What Situations Might a Person be Charged with Driving While Intoxicated?

Driving or operating a motor vehicle may be a broader concept than meets the eye. In Virginia, scenarios that encompass the notion of “operation” of a vehicle have been found to include the following:

–    sitting in a vehicle with the motor running;

–    attempting to remove the vehicle from an obstacle such as a ditch, by use of its motor;

–    being trapped in an automobile, after an accident, with the keys in the ignition;

1. Jackson v. Com., 274 Va. 630, 652 S.E.2d 111 (2007); Ratliff v. Com.,  53 Va. App. 443 (2009).

2. See e.g., Ratliff v. Com., 53 Va. App. 443, 672 S.E.2d 913 (2009)

3. Nicolls v. Com., 212 Va. 257, 184 S.E.2d 9 (1971).

4. Gallagher v. Com., 205 Va. 666, 139 S.E.2d 37 (1964).

5. Keesee v. Com., 32 Va. App. 263, 527 S.E.2d 473 (2000).