Coates & Davenport, P.C.

When may penalties for a DUI in Virginia be enhanced?

While the winter holidays are a popular time for drinking, people in Virginia can be accused of drunk driving at any time of the year. Being accused of DUI can be an intimidating experience. This is especially true given the significant penalties one can face if convicted of a DUI.

If it is the first time a person is convicted of DUI, he or she may face a fine of anywhere from $250 to $2,500. In addition, his or her driver's license may be suspended for one year. A first-time DUI conviction will also permanently appear on one's criminal record, and a person will need to use an ignition interlock device. However, there are situations in which these penalties will be enhanced.

For example, if a person's blood-alcohol concentration was 0.15 percent or more at the time of the arrest, he or she may face five to 30 days in jail. In addition, a person in such a situation may be fined $250 to $400. Also, a person will lose the privilege to drive for 12 months. A person will also be required to use an ignition interlock device.

There are other circumstances in which the penalties one faces for a DUI conviction will be enhanced. For example, the more DUI convictions a person has, the harsher the penalties will be. In addition, a person will face harsher penalties if there was a child in the vehicle when the DUI occurred, if the person was operating a commercial vehicle, if the person refused to take a breath test, if another party was injured due to the DUI, or if a person was under the legal drinking age.

It goes without saying that being convicted of DUI can significantly affect a person's life. Therefore, it is important for anyone accused of DUI to wage a strong defense against the charges they face. With the right criminal defense strategy, it may be possible to reduce the penalties one faces, or it may even be possible to have the charges dismissed under certain circumstances.

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