Drunk driving, or driving under the influence, is responsible for about 10,000 fatal car accidents a year. One of the best ways to protect your vehicle along with yourself and other people from drunk driving accidents is to use a designated driver.

Designated drivers are drivers who agree to abstain from drinking for an evening so that they can be responsible for driving other people home. The Wilson Law Firm in Virginia recommend that appointing a designated driver helps reduce the risk of drunk-driving related crashes. It also helps drinkers stay out of legal trouble. But it can be difficult for those who designate themselves as driver not to want to drink whilst enjoying a social occasion. Many of us think that by having just one drink we will still be below the limit and therefore ok to drive.

However, the permitted blood alcohol level is below 0.08% yet many of us do not even know what the limit is. Add to this an ignorance of how many drinks or what kind of drinks will put us over the limit and you can see how easy it is to get caught out. Being the designated driver and abstaining from alcohol for the evening is never going to be easy, especially if you enjoy a social drink, but better this than risking the consequences listed below.

Consequences of Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is illegal because of the danger it presents to the driver and others on the road. Every state will have their own laws with regard to drunk driving violations and some of the toughest are found in the state of Virginia. If you are arrested for DUI, you need to contact a lawyer as soon as possible and one which practises within the state in which you were stopped. If this is Virginia then you need to contact a Virginia DUI attorney immediately.

In addition to jail time if you are convicted, you face consequences such as:

• Loss of your driver’s license for a year or more.
• Impoundment of your vehicle for 10 days.
• Having to attend an alcohol awareness program to learn the consequences of drunk driving
• Community service
• Having to pay restitution for any property damage or personal injury you caused while driving under the influence of alcohol.

In addition, you will have a criminal record, which can interfere with getting jobs and apartments.

How to Avoid Drunk Driving Charges

The best way to avoid a criminal record for DUI is to get a designated driver. Many drivers think that they can get away with drinking and driving if they are careful and haven’t had that much to drink. However, this is risky. If you break any traffic laws, a police officer can pull you over and test you for alcohol use. You may also get caught at DUI checkpoints where police are stopping all vehicles and checking for sobriety.

If you do not use a designated driver and you have a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher, you’ll be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. At this point you need to contact your lawyer to represent you and look at the options of getting you a reduced sentence or even an acquittal.

In Virginia and some other states it’s also become common for defense attorneys to ask for rehabilitation for first-time offenders. This is an alternative sentencing program in which you are required to complete a certain amount of rehabilitation for alcoholism instead of going to jail. If you are a first time offender then talk to your Virginia criminal lawyer about such a program.

You can avoid these problems as well as the potential guilt over having hurt or killed someone else by using a designated driver. Some people ask their friends to serve as designated drivers, while others hire a professional designated driver from a car service. Either way, using a designated driver can help prevent damage to you, others on the road and your vehicles.