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Virginia ranks 37th in nation in DUI arrest rates

A TV station about two hours east of Lynchburg recently reported that Virginia’s drunk driving arrest rate ranks 37th in the nation. Our rate of arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol was 253.4 per 100,000 residents. The national average is 330 DUI arrests per 100,000, a study by U.S. Drug Test Centers states.

Regardless, the commonwealth’s Department of Motor Vehicles is glad to reassure everyone who visits its website that “Virginia is TOUGH on drunk and drugged drivers.”

The recently released study on drunk driving says the states with the highest DUI rates are as follows:

  • South Dakota
  • North Dakota
  • Wyoming
  • North Carolina
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • Maine
  • Washington
  • Alaska
  • Wisconsin

The states with the lowest rates of DUI arrest are Missouri, Arkansas, Connecticut, Alabama and Ohio.

According to the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control, American adults violate drunk driving laws about 130 million times in an average year.

The study’s authors point out that avoiding motor vehicle crashes is the most important reason not to drink and drive, but that the legal consequences of a DUI arrest are also significant. A conviction in Virginia for a first offense DUI can include the following punishments:

  • Driver’s license revocation for up to one full year
  • A mandatory minimum $250 fine

A second conviction can mean up to a year in jail, a license revocation of up to three years and a minimum $500 fine.

If that second conviction is within five years of the first DUI conviction, you will also be required to spend at least 20 days behind bars.

If you are convicted of DUI three times within a decade, you are subject to an indefinite license revocation.

In addition to the legal ramifications of DUI convictions, there are other penalties that can range from loss of a job or career, loss of academic opportunities, diminishment of future employment opportunities, as well as significantly increased auto insurance rates.