Most of us in Virginia and across the U.S. are familiar with warnings from the Surgeon General. The “WARNING”, outlined in a thin black box on tobacco products, informs consumers about the dangers of smoking. In turn, this has raised the public’s overall awareness of the dangers, not only of the nicotine found in most cigarettes, but also of secondhand smoke. The warning sign, however, says nothing of the legal consequences of smoking in a vehicle that now exist in Virginia.
What You Need to Know About the Secondhand Smoke Law in Virginia
A law was passed on July 1, 2016 in Virginia making it unlawful for anyone to smoke in a vehicle when a minor under the age of eight is present in that vehicle. The penalty is a $100 fine (the Department of Motor Vehicles does not assign demerit points to the driver).
A police officer will not stop or arrest a driver who is smoking in a vehicle when a minor is present unless that driver is being stopped for a moving, equipment or criminal violation. For example, if a driver is pulled over for running a red light, the driver may also receive a civil penalty of $100 if smoking while driving with a minor.
What You Should Know About Legal Trends in DUI Cases
Virginia legislators are also concerned about protecting our children from the effects of drinking and driving. Most of us know that Virginia laws place substantial penalties on individuals operating a motor vehicle when under the influence of alcohol. These penalties are even greater when transporting someone who is 17 years old and under. A judge can fine that driver between $500 and $1,000 and sentence that driver up to five days in jail, in additional to the usual penalties. Some cases are even being pursued as a felony if the offender’s behavior is extraordinary, either by driving behavior or extreme intoxication.
Davies, Barrell, Will, Lewellyn & Edwards, PLC is committed to helping clients by providing sound legal solutions. If you have any questions, our professional team is here to help. Call us today at (540) 825-6000 to make an appointment.