In 2004 lawmakers tightened Drunk Driving laws. Using a high profile DUI case they set out to make a difference and to reduce this occurrence. A bipartisan group drafted more than 70 bills seeking to stiffen penalties and enacted a near-zero-tolerance for repeat offenders.
Key provisions of the 2004 Virginia drunken driving laws that were driven by this effort were:
- Repeat offenders faced mandatory minimum jail terms ranging from 10 days to six months, depending on the time between offenses. They also faced longer driving license suspensions.
- Motorists caught driving on restricted, suspended or revoked licenses face penalties for having smaller amounts of alcohol in their systems.
- An unreasonable refusal to submit to a breath test by a convicted DUI offender drew a criminal charge in addition to an administrative penalty.
- The state established a new Trauma Center Fund, partly supported by $50 fines levied against many offenders.
Statistics show that DUI fatalities in Virginia have dropped by 21%, as a result of the measures that began in 2004 to lower the incidence of death caused by DUI.
Law enforcement officials and attorneys say strict new laws, especially against repeat offenders, and a cultural shift on how drunk driving is perceived have helped reduce the incidence of drunk driving.
For many years, the Virginia Commonwealth was weaker than other states in enforcing impaired-driving laws. The legal limit is now 0.08 percent down from .015 percent and stronger penalties have been imposed.
These statistics speak volumes, however the actual number of DUI related fatalities is still staggering.
* In 2013, in Virginia there were 8,047 Alcohol-Related Motor Vehicle crashes, 253 fatalities and 5,288 injuries. The average Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was 0.1397.
A look at alcohol related crashes using several local counties – the numbers for 2013 look like this:
|Alcohol Related Accidents||Crashes||Fatalities||Injuries|
* Published by the Virginia Highway Safety Office
The Virginia Highway Office also states that in 2013:
- 253 persons were killed in alcohol-related crashes, a 10.48 increase from 2012.
- 5,288 persons were injured in alcohol-related crashes, a 9.78 percent decrease from 2012.
- 27,333 persons were convicted of DUI, a 4.83 decrease from 2012.
The laws are getting tougher as the public’s opinions are being heard. Two years ago, Virginia made ignition interlock devices mandatory for first-time offenders. First time DUI offenders are faced with a misdemeanor that, in reality feels more like a felony. Employers are less tolerant of alcohol related incidences. Military and other public service careers can be derailed because of a DUI.
The Parrish Law Firm intoxicated driver injury attorney works with northern Virginia residents who have been injured by intoxicated drivers and who are looking for fair compensation. Contact us today for a free case consultation, or call us at 703-906-4229.
A representative of the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC researched and wrote this article with Mr. Parrish’s consent. If you have any questions regarding the legal implications of what you have just read, please send us your question by clicking here so we can have our attorney review it.