You may have experienced that terrible moment when you glanced in your rearview mirror and wondered if you might be over the legal limit. Perhaps you had three beers, but it was spread over several hours time. Or maybe you had one strong drink just 10 minutes ago. There are a million questions that may flash through your mind, one of which may be: Is DUI a felony offense in Virginia?
The answer is … it depends.
Your first move after an arrest should be to obtain competent legal counsel. At The Wilson Law Firm, our Virginia DUI defense attorneys can tell you whether or not your DUI arrest constitutes a legitimate felony charge, and offer you much more. At our law firm, we have the knowledge, skills, and determination to see our clients through a vigorous defense against DUI charges.
When is DUI a Felony in VA?
Many DUI arrests result in a drunk driving misdemeanor charge; however, some arrests will result in a felony charge. According to Virginia law, anyone who has three DUI offenses “committed within a 10-year period shall upon conviction of the third offense be guilty of a Class 6 felony.”
A DUI can also be charged as a felony when there is an accident with injuries. In addition to the criminal charges there could also be separate personal injury litigation. In the most famous instance of this, O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murder at his criminal trial, but liable for wrongful death in his civil litigation.
Penalties for a Class 6 Felony Conviction:
- A Class 6 felony is a serious matter, and a conviction can result in:
- A mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days in jail
- A mandatory minimum fine of $1,000
- A mandatory loss of driver’s license for an indefinite period of time
- Potential loss of certain professional licenses or certifications
- A required Ignition Interlock system for every vehicle you own, co-own, or operate on a regular basis
A defendant convicted of a third DUI in Virginia may be declared a habitual offender if all three of their DUI convictions took place within a 10-year period. Habitual offenders may lose their driving privilege indefinitely, although in most cases they will be able to petition for reinstatement of restricted privileges in three years, with full privileges in five years.
When you’ve been charged with a Class 6 felony for drunk driving, there are several options that a capable DUI criminal defense attorney will discuss with you. Our lawyers will not only look at the facts of your case to see if there is a chance to have your case thrown out completely, but we will provide you with other legal options as well. Some potential felony DUI options include:
- Get the traffic stop disallowed and the charges dropped if there is proof you were stopped illegally.
- Negotiate to downgrade the felony charge to a misdemeanor charge
- Challenge a previous DUI conviction to reduce collective prior DUIs to one DUI conviction
- At The Wilson Law Firm, we provide you with options, but the decisions are always yours.
Contact an Experienced Virginia Felony DUI Attorney Today
Is a DUI a felony in Virginia? The Virginia DUI lawyers at The Wilson Law Firm will give you the guidance you need to obtain the results you deserve. Contact us to schedule your free, confidential initial consultation today.