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Dozens of New Laws in Virginia; Including Tougher Penalties for Teens Who Drink and Drive

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 2-Jul-2008

As of July 1, 2008, some of Virginia’s incomprehensible laws will no longer be on the books.  For example, restaurants in Virginia can now serve sangria (a mixture of red wine, fruit, triple sec and brandy), as legislators as have disposed of a law that prohibits restaurants from serving drinks that mix wine or beer with liquor.  Legislators have also done away with the "marriage offer" loophole, which protected men who sexually attack girls between the ages of 14 to 16 as long as they offer to marry the victim.  However, as the Washington Post reports, most of the new laws that take effect July 1st will concern Virginia drivers.  The Virginia General Assembly voted in March to introduce more severe penalties for teens who choose to drink and drive.  The rationale is that tougher penalties will deter underage persons from drinking and getting behind the wheel and also help to reduce the number of accidents involving teens who drink and drive.   The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports that 46 teens died in alcohol related car accidents in 2006 alone. 

Under the old laws, persons under the age of 21 who had consumed some alcohol, but were not legally drunk before attempting to operate a motor vehicle faced community service, fines and a license suspension of up to six months.  However, under the new measure, the same offense (referred to as a "Baby DUI" by some defense attorneys) subjects those charged with a mandatory one-year driver’s license suspension, up to one year of jail time, and a maximum fine of $2,500. 

Virginia news outlets are also reporting other new and visible "law changes for drivers including:

  • Driver’s licenses issued after July 1, 2008 will be valid for eight years instead of five; the $4 per year cost will remain the same; and those who fail a driver’s license test three times will have to attend attend a training school before they can try again;
  • Any drivers that ignore a police officer’s order to pull over and the officer is killed in an ensuing pursuit would face up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine;
  • School bus drivers will be prohibited from using cell phones or other wireless communication devices while driving; they can still use two-way radios."

Previously on the D.C. Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:

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