A Comparison of Virginia Statutes for a First Offense of Driving While Intoxicated with Those of 49 States and the District of Columbia

Report No: 71-R3

Published in 1971

About the report:

With respect to those statutory factors bearing on the severity of the sentence (fine, jail sentence, and license revocation), it was concluded that the Virginia Code authorized sanctions that, if consistently imposed, would make the penalty for driving while intoxicated one of the more severe in the nation. On the other hand, the state appeared to be extremely facile with respect to those statutory factors affecting the rate of detection, apprehension, and conviction. Subsequent to the issuance of this report the state acted on one of its recommendations: the statutory authorization of quantitative breath analysis as admissible evidence. Other recommendations were (1) lessening the severity of the present penalties for DWI if it should be determined that the harshness of present sanctions was causing a reluctance in police to arrest and courts to convict for DWI, and (2) lowering the presumptive level in blood tests to 0.10%.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • W. Allen Ames

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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