Parker, Pollard, Wilton, and Peaden - Attorneys at Law

Category Archive: Criminal Law

  1. Ignition Interlock Devices: Painful Consequences of DUI

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    In Virginia, all those convicted of DUI must now have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle in order to drive on a restricted license, even if it’s a first DUI and there is no evidence of blood alcohol content at all. An ignition is a pain for a number of reasons: it is not inexpensive; it is difficult to coordinate installation; the driver has to blow into it each and every time the vehicle is started.

    Of course, an ignition interlock device is only one negative consequence of a DUI. When you add the other direct, incidental and consequential costs (fine, court costs, counseling, increased insurance, limitation on where and when you can drive during the restricted driver’s license period) the total costs for being convicted of a DUI escalate.

  2. Virginia Texting-While-Driving Law

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    The police can, and will, pull you over for “texting-while-driving.” Texting-while-driving covers the operation of a motor vehicle while manually entering letters/text in a handheld personal communication device as a means of communicating with another person. The term also includes reading any email or text message transmitted to the device or stored within it.

    For a first-time offense, the fine is $125. For a second, or any subsequent offense, the fine is $250.

    If a police officer stops you, be courteous. He or she will likely treat the incident as a routine traffic stop and may ask for your license, registration, and insurance information. The officer may even ask you for your cell phone. If you feel uncomfortable surrendering your phone, you may refuse. If the officer doesn’t have a warrant, he/she cannot seize it without your consent.

    The following are specifically exempted from being defined as “texting-while-driving”: reading a name or number stored within the device while operating a motor vehicle; reading Caller ID information while operating a motor vehicle; using factory-installed or aftermarket GPS or wireless communication devices as part of a digital dispatch system; and operating a motor vehicle and using a device to report an emergency. Finally, any action performed on a personal communication device while being lawfully parked or stopped does not qualify as “texting-while-driving”.