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Know the Drunk Driving Penalties Facing Virginia Drivers

The state of Virginia is extremely tough on drunk drivers. If you have never been arrested for a DUI, you may not realize that driving under the influence of alcohol is not a traffic violation or a civil violation, but it is a criminal offense in Virginia. You can be asked to take a breathalyzer test, handcuffed, taken to the police station, arrested for DUI, and required to go to court.

If you drive in the state of Virginia, it is always wise to know the rules of the road. In Virginia, drivers may be convicted of drunk driving when their blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above .08. If a driver's BAC is higher than .08, the driver can have their driver's license suspended for seven days or longer if the driver has a prior DUI offense or breath test refusal.

If a driver's BAC is below .08, the driver may still be convicted of DUI in Virginia. If a police officer believes there is proof that the driver was driving under the influence of drugs that impaired their driving, police can arrest that driver on DUI, even with a BAC of zero.

In addition, anyone under the age of 21 who is caught driving with a .02 BAC level can face jail time, a six-month license suspension, and $500.00 fine. Drivers under 21 who have a BAC of .08 or higher will face the same penalties as drivers over 21.

What are the Drunk Driving Penalties Facing Virginia Drivers?

The penalties differ depending on whether a driver had a prior DUI conviction. All offenses typically include fines, jail time, license suspension, and require the convicted driver to complete an alcohol safety action program.

A first time offender faces:

  • One year driver's license revocation

  • Fine - $250, and additional fine of $500 - $1,000 if passengers are under 18 years of age

  • Ignition Interlock Device if BAC is .15 or higher

  • Jail time - five days if BAC is .15-.20

  • Jail time - ten days if BAC is above .20

  • Jail time - five days if passengers are under 18 years of age

A second time offender faces:

  • Driver's license suspended for 60 days or until you go to trial

  • Three years driver's license revocation

  • Fine - $500, and additional fine of $500 - $1,000 if passengers are under 18 years of age

  • Jail time - minimum of 20 days up to one year

  • Jail time - if arrest is made within five years of first offense, 20 days in jail is mandatory

  • Jail time - if arrest is made within ten years of first offense, 10 days in jail is mandatory

  • Jail time - additional jail time may be added depending upon the BAC level

  • Ignition Interlock Device required upon returning to driving

If a driver is convicted of a third DUI offense, a minimum fine of $1,000 is required with indefinite driver's license suspension. Also, a Class 6 Felony will be on that driver's record, plus that driver will need to serve a six-month jail term. There are other penalties that driver may face in addition to the ones listed above.

Because DUI charges are serious and are considered a criminal offense, consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Virginia regarding your drunk driving allegations is wise. Before you go to trial, talk to a Virginia drunk driving lawyer who can help you understand your rights.

If you have been arrested in Virginia for DUI, contact an attorney skilled in Virginia DUI law. Call T. Kevin Wilson, an experienced Virginia DUI defense lawyer at the Wilson Law Firm, toll free at (800) DUI - LWYR or (703) 361-6100 today. We'll fight to get your charges lessened.

 

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