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What are Virginia’s DUI penalties?

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

The state of Virginia assigns harsh repercussions toward those convicted of driving under the influence. Even first-time offenders may face unexpectedly strict penalties, and repeat offenders could look at significant jail time. Persons charged with a drunk or drugged driving offense might wish to confer with an attorney to understand the possible outcome.

Consequences of DUI conviction in Virginia

Criminal penalties vary from state to state. Someone arrested for a DUI in Virginia might not realize blood alcohol concentration levels could increase penalties for a first-time offender. A BAC of less than 0.14% does not necessarily mandate stiff sentencing, but levels of 0.15% and higher do come with minimum sentencing. Expect a license suspension of 12 months, a fine and other penalties. Be mindful that a BAC of 0.08% is the threshold for driving under the influence.

DUI offenses often result in misdemeanor charges, but some drivers may face felony charges. A prior conviction history or repeat offenses could influence both charges and sentencing. Defendants should realize that some charges may result in a possible 12-month jail term.

A DUI conviction also results in six points on a driving record. Those points end up added onto any points already appearing on that record.

Dealing with the aftermath of an arrest

DUI penalties in Virginia may come with heavy fines and mandatory jail time. If you are a defendant accused of this crime, consulting with a defense attorney is probably your best option for navigating the court system. Persons accused of driving under the influence in Virginia remain presumed innocent until proven guilty. There may be instances in which the arrest is improper. A driver struggling through a cold might operate a vehicle in a way that appears as if he or she is under the influence. The cold might even affect a field sobriety test although a breathalyzer or blood test shows no illicit substances. When dealing with controversial arrests, a defense attorney could prove helpful. One might also be of assistance when dealing with sentencing. In some cases, a judge has the discretion to fine the guilty party up to $2,500 and send that person to jail for up to 12 months. Part of the job of the defense counsel is to negotiate for the lower end of the sentencing options.