Whether you call it a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or a DUI (driving under the influence), for drivers age 21 and over, a 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) is the legal limit for the charge in Virginia and across the country. Drunk drivers put themselves and others at serious risk, which is why the charge carries serious penalties. These penalties differ according to how many offenses the driver has committed. We summarize the penalties here.
First DUI Offense
If you're a first-time DUI offender, you're facing a mandatory minimum $250 fine and driver's license revocation for one year.
Second DUI Offense
A second offense DUI carries a mandatory minimum $500 fine and driver's license revocation for three years. Jail time is also possible up to one year, with a mandatory minimum of 10 days if your last offense was within 10 years, or 20 days if your last offense was within five years.
Third DUI Offense
Three convictions within 10 years comes with a mandatory indefinite revocation of your license, a minimum $1,000 fine, and prosecution as a Class 6 felony. A third offense in 10 years also requires permanent forfeiture of your vehicle if you're the sole owner and a minimum 90-day jail term. A third offense within five years has a minimum six-month jail term.
Fourth or Subsequent DUI Offense
Drivers with four convictions are subject to a mandatory minimum one-year jail term.
Additional Penalties for a High BAC
If you have a BAC between 0.15% and 0.20% at the time of your arrest, you'll receive a mandatory minimum five-day jail term in addition to all other penalties for a first-time offender. If it's your second offense within ten years, you'll receive a mandatory minimum 10-day jail term in addition to all other penalties.
If your BAC is 0.20% or higher at the time of your arrest, you'll receive a mandatory minimum 10-day jail term in addition to all other penalties for first-time offenders. If it's your second offense within 10 years, you'll receive a mandatory minimum 20-day jail term in addition to all other penalties.
Protecting Your Rights
Any DUI charge will be reported to the Central Criminal Records Exchange by law enforcement officers at the time of your arrest. Having a criminal record can make it difficult to obtain employment and housing.
If you've been charged with a DUI, hiring a skilled defense attorney is the best way to protect your rights. T. Kevin Wilson has extensive experience handling drunk driving cases in Virginia. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.