The Commonwealth of Virginia takes DUI (Driving Under the Influence) very seriously. Even for first time offenders, a conviction can dramatically affect your life in a number of ways, including harsh fines, mandatory driver’s license suspension and possible incarceration.
Consult the Right Attorney
If you are charged with DUI, it is important to consult with an experienced DUI attorney right away. Several of the lawyers at the Reed Law Firm specialize in the defense of drunk driving offenses in Prince William County, Manassas, Fairfax, Stafford and surrounding jurisdictions. Our attorneys stand ready to assist you and offer free consultations to help you understand the charges you may be facing.
Drunk driving laws in Virginia can be complicated depending on the specific circumstances accompanying the charge and the level of a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest. Prior charges on a driver’s record can complicate matters further. The following is a summary of the possible consequences you could be facing in the event of a conviction.
A conviction of a first offense of driving while intoxicated is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum fine of $250, and 1 year license suspension. See, Virginia Code § 18.2-270, § 18.2-271. In certain circumstances, a restricted license may be permitted by the court. The court must order the installation of an ignition interlock device on the first offense, and enrollment into an alcohol education and treatment program. See, Virginia Code § 18.2-270. A defendant with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of between .15 and .20 must serve five days jail. There is mandatory minimum jail time of 10 days for a BAC greater than .20.
Second Offense within 5 years
A second DUI conviction within 5 years will result in a mandatory minimum of 20 days in jail and a $500 fine. See, Virginia Code § 18.2-270. The court will not allow suspended jail time, meaning a defendant must serve at least 20 days in jail. A defendant with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of between .15 and .20 must serve an additional mandatory 10 days in jail. There is mandatory minimum jail time of an additional twenty 20 days for a BAC greater than .20. In addition to the harsh criminal penalties, the offender’s driver’s license will be suspended for at least 3 years.
Second Offense within 10 years
When a second DUI offense occurs within 5 to 10 years, the mandatory minimum fine remains $500, with a minimum of 30 days and up to 1 year in jail. See, Virginia Code § 18.2-270 10 days in jail are mandatory. A defendant with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of between .15 and .20 must serve an additional mandatory 10 days. There is mandatory minimum jail time of an additional 20 days for a BAC greater than .20. Additionally, the court is required to suspend the defendant’s driver’s license for at least 3 years.
A person convicted of a third DUI in 10 years is guilty of a Class 6 Felony. See, Virginia Code § 18.2-270. A mandatory jail sentence of 90 days and a minimum fine of $1000 will be ordered. If the third DUI occurred within a period of 5 years, there is a mandatory jail sentence of 6 months. In both cases, the offender’s driver’s license will be suspended indefinitely.
Fourth or Subsequent Offense
A person convicted of a fourth DUI within a 10 year period will spend a mandatory jail sentence of 1 year and pay a minimum $1000 fine. See, Virginia Code § 18.2-270.
Know Your Rights and Protect Your Interests
An experienced attorney can help you to negotiate with the prosecutor to lower your fine, help you keep your license, reduce or eliminate a jail sentence, plea the matter down to a lesser charge, or in some cases, to have the case dismissed. Because every case is different, and to help you determine whether our firm can help you, we offer free consultations for all traffic related cases. Please contact usto schedule your free consultation today.