Is there a difference between DUI and DWI in if you have a charge in Fairfax,Virginia?
In Fairfax, DUI charges are brought under Virginia Code § 18.2-266. That code section has several independent parts. It reads:
18.2-266. Driving motor vehicle, engine, etc., while intoxicated, etc.
It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train (i) while such person has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more by weight by volume or 0.08 grams or more per 210 liters of breath as indicated by a chemical test administered as provided in this article, (ii) while such person is under the influence of alcohol, (iii) while such person is under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature, or any combination of such drugs, to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely, (iv) while such person is under the combined influence of alcohol and any drug or drugs to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely, or (v) while such person has a blood concentration of any of the following substances at a level that is equal to or greater than: (a) 0.02 milligrams of cocaine per liter of blood, (b) 0.1 milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood, (c) 0.01 milligrams of phencyclidine per liter of blood, or (d) 0.1 milligrams of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine per liter of blood. A charge alleging a violation of this section shall support a conviction under clauses (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v).
If you look carefully at the code section, you will see that the charge can be proven by establishing any one of the independent sections.
- Section (i) of the statute makes it a crime to drive when that person has a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08 percent or more by weight by volume. This is considered a DWI, because you are considered legally intoxicated above that level of alcohol in your blood.
- Sections (ii), (iii), and (iv) are all considered DUI, or under the influence, because it requires that the government establish, via evidence other than a chemical test that you are showing actual signs of impairment. Actual impairment is not required under section (i) of the statute.
- Finally, section (v) of the statute is also a considered a DWI because that section specifies limits of drugs that may be present in your blood. You are presumed to be intoxicated if the government can show those levels of drugs in your blood.
In sum, there is a difference between DWI and DUI in Fairfax County. However, that difference is inconsequential because a Fairfax County law enforcement officer will charge it under a single statute and the only thing that shows on a criminal or traffic record is a violation of that statute as a whole, not the individual subparts of the Virginia DUI statute.
If you need help with a DUI or a DWI in Fairfax County, Alex Gordon and Carlos Wall have decades of experience helping people through these difficult times. Let us put our experience fighting DUI and DWI charges in Fairfax to work for you. Contact us at email@example.com or call us today at 703.218.8416 for a Free Consultation.