In the state of Virginia, driving while drunk or driving while under the influence of self-administered drugs (DUID) is a crime. Driving under the influence (DUI)or (DUID) occurrences are taken very seriously because they can have devastating consequences. DUIs can result in serious injuries, or even death, of the driver or other individuals on the road. If you are facing a DUI charge in Virginia, it is important to have an attorney who will provide the best defense under the circumstances. Understanding the charge and its consequences is important at the outset of a DUI charge.
Virginia law defines driving under the influence as being “unlawful for any person to drive or operate any motor vehicle engine or train while such person has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more.” Additionally, if the driver is a commercial driver, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is lowered to 0.04%. Finally, since the legal drinking age is 21 in Virginia, drivers under the age of 21 who are found with a BAC of .02% can be charged with a DUI.
Charges and Penalties
The severity of the DUI charge and the penalty depends upon how many DUI charges the defendant has faced before, if any. Unsurprisingly, the more DUI convictions that a person has, the more severe the charge and penalty will be.
- First Offense: The first time that an individual is charged with a DUI, he or she will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. The minimum penalty is a fine of $250 and up to 12 months in jail and suspension of your driver’s license for 12 months. The maximum penalty for this type of charge is a fine of $2500 and 12 months in jail and suspension of your driver’s license for 12 months. The punishment increase to a mandatory minimum of at least 5 days in jail if your BAC is 0.15% or higher. Higher than 0.20 % you face at least 10 days in jail.
- Second Offense: The penalty for a second offense DUI is double that of the first offense. There is a mandatory minimum fine of $500. Additionally, there is “confinement in jail for not less than one month.” 10 days of this sentence are considered a mandatory minimum sentence if the second DUI is within 10 years of the first DUI conviction. This penalty applies if the individual has committed two DUIs within 5 to 10 years of each other. If the second DUI offense is committed within less than 5 years from the first DUI conviction 20 days in jail are mandatory in addition to other penalties.
- Third Offense: The third DUI offense a person faces within ten years results in a Class 6 felony. Felonies are serious crimes and will hinder you in many walks of life, such as your job. This carries a sentence of a minimum penalty of 90 days in jail. A fourth or subsequent offense committed within 10 years shall include a penalty of a minimum of 1 year in the state penitentiary.
*Please note other penalties may be imposed by the court in addition to the ones stated here.
As you can see from the detailing of the first, second, or third DUI offense, the charges and severity of the penalties only increase. If you are facing a DUI charge in Virginia, you need a dedicated DUI defense attorney to represent you. The defense attorneys at Greg Baker Attorneys at Law, PLLC are here to help you. We know that facing any type of criminal charge can be difficult, and you do not have to face this alone. We pride ourselves on helping members of the community and providing the best defense possible. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out how we can help you.