DUI/DWI

A DUI/DWI charge is a serious offense that carries serious penalties. It can be an embarrassing and frustrating experience, and if you are convicted the penalties not only affect your personal freedom, but they will also significantly affect your wallet. A DUI/DWI conviction will also affect your ability to find or maintain a job, and you can also expect your automobile insurance premiums to skyrocket.

DUI vs. DWI? DUI and DWI are interchangeable terms for the same basic offense – operating a vehicle under the influence of any substance that alters your ability to drive. You may be convicted of DUI/DWI if the prosecution can prove that you had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or more.

What are the penalties for a DUI/DWI offense? In Virginia, a DUI/DWI conviction is a Class I misdemeanor – in other words, Virginia classifies a DUI/DWI offense as the most serious type of criminal misdemeanor.

Penalties that apply to all misdemeanor DUI/DWI convictions

  • Up to one year in jail,
  • Mandatory minimum jail sentence for certain BAC levels and case facts
  • Up to an indefinite suspension of your driver’s license/privilege
  • Completion of ASAP (Alcohol Safety & Awareness Program) at your own expense
  • A total of 6 points on a Virginia drivers license, which will remain on your DMV transcript for eleven years
  • Between a $250.00 and $2500.00 fine
  • You must attend ASAP classes at your own expense
  • Your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 12 months
  • If you are granted a restricted driver’s license, you must pay for and use an ignition interlock device
  • If your BAC level was between .15-.20, you must serve at least 5 days in jail
  • If your BAC level was above .20, you must serve at least 10 days in jail
  • If you had a child passenger in your vehicle at the time of the offense you must service at least 5 days in jail – with an additional fine between $500.00-$1000.00
  • If your BAC was above .15, your vehicle must be equipped with an ignition interlock device for the first 6 months after the restoration of your driving privileges

Second Offense (within a 5-year period) Mandatory Minimum Penalties 

  • You must service at least 20 days in jail
  • Your fine will be at least $500.00
  • If your BAC level was between .15-.20 during your second offense within a 5-year period, you must serve at least a total of 30 days in jail
  • If your BAC level was above .20 during your second offense within a 5-year period, you must serve at least a total of 40 days in jail
  • Your vehicle must be equipped with an ignition interlock device for the first 6 months after the restoration of your driving privileges

Second Offense (within a 10-year period) Mandatory Minimum Penalties 

  • You must serve at least 10 days in jail
  • Your fine will be at least $500.00
  • If your BAC level was between .15-.20 during your second offense within a 10-year period, you must serve at least a total of 20 days in jail
  • If your BAC level was above .20 during your second offense within a 10-year period, you must serve at least a total of 30 days in jail
  • Ignition interlock device if you get a restricted license
  • Your vehicle must be equipped with an ignition interlock device for the first 6 months after the restoration of your driving privileges

Third Offense (within a 5-year period) Mandatory Minimum Penalties 

  • Felony conviction
  • You must serve at least 6 months in jail
  • Your fine will be at least $1000.00
  • If your BAC level was between .15-.20 during your third offense within a 5-year period, you must serve another 10 days in jail, in addition to the 6 months
  • If your BAC level was above .20 during your third offense within a 5-year period, you must serve another 20 days in jail, in addition to the 6 months
  • Your vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture to the state of Virginia
  • Your vehicle must be equipped with an ignition interlock device

Third Offense (within a 10-year period) Mandatory Minimum Penalties

  • Felony conviction
  • You must serve at least 90 days in jail
  • Your fine will be at least $1000.00
  • If your BAC level was between .15-.20 during your third offense within a 10-year period, you must serve at least a total of 100 days in jail
  • If your BAC level was over .20 during your third offense within a 10-year period, you must serve at least a total of 110 days in jail
  • Your vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture to the state of Virginia
  • Your vehicle must be equipped with an ignition interlock device

Fourth Offense (within a 10-year period) Mandatory Minimum Penalties

  • Felony conviction
  • You must serve at least 1-year in jail
  • Your fine will be at least $1000.00
  • Your vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture to the state of Virginia
  • Probation for up to 3-years
  • Your vehicle must be equipped with an ignition interlock device

While the penalties outlined above are the minimum and maximum possible penalties for each variation of DUI/DWI offense, the judge may impose any amount of jail time in between the minimum and maximum range of penalties.

Why should I consult an attorney? DUI/DWI laws in Virginia are purposefully very complex. The printed Virginia Code regarding DUI/DWI is in excess of 40 pages, and nearly every year the General Assembly amends the law in the order to complicate and raise the already severe penalties for DUI/DWI.

Attorney Paracha makes it his purpose to know the intricacies of the law and applies his unique knowledge to challenge the complexities of the law for your immediate benefit. It is undoubtedly important for you to trust your attorney and be comfortable with your defense approach to make sure that your case results in an outcome as close as possible to the mandatory minimum, if not a dismissal of the charge altogether.

If you have been charged with DUI/DWI, contact The Paracha Firm immediately for no-fee consultation.

 

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