Virginia DUI Law: But I Wasn’t Trying to Drive!

We will keep this one short.  Really short.  Must the prosecutor prove that you intended to operate your motor vehicle to convict you of DUI in Virginia?  Nope.

Virginia’s DUI statute was enacted to protect against “what could happen with an intoxicated individual behind the wheel, regardless of whether he intended to be there, turn on the car, or move the vehicle.”  Case v. Virginia, Record No. 2188-12-4 (Va. Ct. App. 2014).  Virginia’s DUI statute accordingly does not incorporate the typical mens rea requirement that the prosecutor must prove the defendant’s intent to commit the criminal act.  Id.  As such, it’s no defense to claim that you weren’t trying to drive.

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Nicholas Solan

About Nicholas Solan

Nicholas Jon Solan is a founding partner of Solan Alzamora, PLLC in Fairfax, Virginia. He specializes in family law and criminal/traffic law, including but not limited to charges for speeding, reckless driving, improper driving, driving on a suspended license, DUI/DWI, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, assault and battery, and eluding the police. He can be reached at (703) 359-0088 or nsolan@SAlawfirm.com or www.SAlawfirm.com.