An Alcoholic Drink, Car Keys, and HandcuffsDriving under the Influence is a serious criminal offense in Virginia that is aggressively prosecuted. If convicted, you face many harsh long-term costs and consequences in addition to the terms of your sentence. 

First Offense DUI Costs and Penalties

Under Virginia Code § 18.2-266, it is a crime to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, while under the influence of alcohol, or while under the influence of a narcotic drug. A first offense DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor. You may face these penalties and costs if convicted:

  • Jail sentence of up to one year
  • Fine of between $250 and $2,500
  • Driver’s license suspension of up to one year with the possibility of a restricted license with the installation of an ignition interlock device
  • Completion of the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) 
  • Six points on your driving record
  • Permanent criminal record

Second Offense DUI Costs and Penalties

A second DUI is also a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, the penalties are more severe and include:

  • Mandatory minimum jail sentence of 5 days for a second offense within 10 years, or a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 days for a second offense within five years, and a maximum sentence of twelve months in jail
  • Minimum fine of $500 and a maximum of $2,500
  • Driver’s license suspension of three years with the possibility of a restricted license after some time on probation, depending on your circumstances
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for at least six months if a restricted license is granted
  • Permanent criminal record

Third and Fourth DUIs Are Felonies in Virginia

If you are arrested for a third or fourth DUI, you will be charged with a Class 6 felony. You may face these punishments if your third DUI conviction is within 10 years of your second conviction:

  • Prison sentence of up to five years, with a minimum six-month sentence if the conviction is within five years and 90 days if the conviction is within 10 years
  • Minimum fine of $1,000 up to $2,500
  • Indefinite license suspension with no possibility of a restricted license for three years
  • Seizure of your vehicle
  • Permanent criminal record

A fourth DUI conviction carries harsh minimum penalties. There is a minimum one-year prison sentence that can be increased to up to five years and a minimum fine of $1,000 that can be increased to up to $2,500.

When You May Face Enhanced Penalties for a DUI Conviction

In some circumstances, your punishment after being convicted of a DUI can be even more severe. Here are a few situations where this may occur:

  • Elevated BAC. If your blood alcohol content ("BAC")  was 0.15 percent or higher but not more than .20, a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 days applies. A BAC of higher than .20 carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days in jail. These mandatory minimum penalties are even higher for a high BAC in a second or subsequent DUI conviction. 
  • DUI with minors. If you are convicted of DUI and were transporting minors at the time of your arrest, an additional mandatory minimum five-day jail sentence and a fine of $500 to $1,000 applies.
  • Injury accident. You may be charged with DUI maiming, which is a Class 6 felony, if you caused an accident when intoxicated that resulted in victims being injured. The punishment can include one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • Fatal accident. If you caused an accident that resulted in someone’s death when arrested for DUI, you may face involuntary manslaughter or aggravated involuntary manslaughter charges. If convicted, you may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison, have your driver’s license revoked indefinitely, and have your auto seized.

Other Costs You May Pay If Convicted of DUI in Virginia

There are many costs that you may incur if you are arrested for DUI in addition to the fines that you may be ordered to pay. Some of these costs will continue long after you complete your sentence. These include:

  • Bail to be released from jail after your arrest
  • Vehicle towing costs
  • VASAP course costs
  • Interlock ignition installation and monthly expenses
  • License reinstatement fees
  • Dramatically increased auto insurance costs

In addition, a DUI conviction can affect your employment prospects, your ability to find housing, your security clearance, and much more.

Contact Us If You’ve Been Arrested for DUI in Virginia

If you have been charged with DUI in Virginia, you cannot afford to handle the criminal charges on your own given the long-term impact a conviction can have on your life. Our Fairfax DUI attorneys have decades of experience aggressively fighting for the rights of clients facing these charges in Fairfax and Northern Virginia. To learn how we can assist you, start a live chat to schedule your free consultation today.