Virginia takes drunk driving very seriously even if it’s a defendant’s first offense. The penalties for drinking and driving in Virginia can vary based on numerous factors. But those who have been arrested for a second or third offense can face serious consequences.
Penalties for a second DUI offense
If a person has been arrested for a second DUI in Virginia within ten years of the first it will be a Class One Misdemeanor. A defendant will face a minimum of $500 fine and one month in jail. If a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) registers between .15 and .20 they will receive an additional 10 days in jail. If the BAC is over .20 they will receive an additional 20 days in jail. A defendant’s driver’s license will also be suspended for 3 years. If a person’s driver’s license is suspended because of a DUI they will need to install an ignition interlock system on their car. This means that their car will not start if there is any alcohol in the driver’s system.
Penalties for a third DUI offense
If a person has a third DUI offense within 5 years of their second DUI offense, they will face jail time of at least 6 months and at least a $1,000 fine. A third DUI is considered a Class Six Felony and a judge could sentence a defendant of up to 5 years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. A defendant’s vehicle may be seized, and they may also never get their driver’s license back again.
Importance of a criminal defense attorney
If a person has been arrested for a DUI in Virginia, they may want to speak with a legal professional who is skilled in criminal defense. An attorney understands what is at stake and can help their client understand the charges they are facing. They can aggressively defend their client against these charges and help reduce the potential penalties that their client is facing.