Fairfax DUI Attorney
What Are the DUI Laws in Virginia?
According to Virginia law, a driver is said to be driving under the influence when operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. However, a person with a lower BAC could also be charged if the amount of alcohol in their system impaired their normal faculties and affected their ability to operate their vehicle safely.
If a person is convicted for a first offense, they could be facing up to a year in jail, up to a $2,500 fine, and their driver’s license could be suspended for up to 1 year. There are mandatory minimum jail sentences for DUI, depending on BAC levels.
The mandatory minimum jail sentences for Virginia DUI include:
- No mandatory minimum sentences for a first offense with a BAC of less than .15
- 5 days in jail for a BAC of .15 to .20
- 10 days in jail for a BAC of more than .20
The driver could be facing even more severe consequences for a second or subsequent offense. For example, a second conviction within 5 years of the first DUI conviction can result in a jail sentence of 20 days to 1 year, a minimum $500 fine, and a 3-year driver’s license revocation. They could also be facing additional mandatory jail time for a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or more.
What Are the Penalties for a DUI?
Conviction for a First Offense DUI:
- Mandatory, minimum $250 fine
- Driver’s license revocation for one year
Conviction for DUI second offense:
- Mandatory, minimum $500 fine
- Driver’s license revocation for three years
Three DUI convictions within a ten-year period:
- If your driving privilege is revoked for a first or second DUI offense conviction and you receive another DUI, the license revocation period will run consecutively with the existing revocation period.
- Mandatory, indefinite driver’s license revocation
Conviction for DUI third offense or DWI felony:
- Mandatory indefinite driver’s license revocation
- Prosecution as a Class 6 felony
Conviction for DUI third offense within ten years carries the following additional penalty:
- Permanent forfeiture of your vehicle (if you are the sole owner)
Conviction for DUI fourth or subsequent offense:
- Mandatory, minimum one-year jail term
If you are facing DUI charges, call (703) 940-0001 to discuss your case with our attorney and learn about your legal options.
Restricted Driving Privileges
The driver’s license suspension is the most challenging aspect for many individuals, as it makes getting to work or taking care of necessary family tasks extremely difficult. If the driver has no prior DUI convictions, they may be eligible for a restricted driver’s license, which allows driving for specific purposes, such as work and school, but they must install an ignition interlocking device. If the individual has a prior DUI conviction, they could be eligible for a restricted driver’s license after 4 to 12 months.
Is Your License Suspended Immediately After a DUI in Virginia?
For a third DUI offense and/or breath test refusal, your license will be automatically suspended until you go to trial. Conviction of a DUI offense will result in suspension of your driver’s license and other penalties in addition to the administrative suspension. For a first DUI offense and/or breath test refusal, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for seven days if your BAC is 0.08 percent or higher. For a second DUI offense and/or breath test refusal, your license will be automatically suspended for 60 days or until you go to trial, which ever comes first. If you are arrested for DUI a third or subsequent time within a five-year period, you will not be granted bail while you wait to go to trial.
Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP)
Individuals convicted of DUI in Virginia must complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP). This is a requirement for all DUI convictions, regardless of whether the situation involved alcohol or a prescription drug. The classes must be completed to restore the driver’s license with the DMV.
The typical VASAP classes last for at least 10 weeks, and each is 2 hours long. Defendants with prior records or a history of substance abuse may face additional legal requirements, such as a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program, therapy, or attendance at AA meetings.
What to Do After a DUI
When you are first charged with DUI, you might not know what to do next since it can very overwhelming. At The Law Office of Ann Thayer, we want to assist you every step of the way from the moment you are arrested until your case has been resolved. Take a look below at three things you should do:
Hire an Attorney: Consult a DUI attorney right away. An attorney can help you understand your situation and advise you on the most appropriate course of action. Choose an attorney with extensive experience handling DUIs and someone you will feel comfortable with assisting you throughout the entire process.
Attend the Arraignment: This will often be your first court appearance where you are advised of a right to an attorney and given a trial date. If you have already hired an attorney, they can assist you with the arraignment or even handle it for you so you do not have to appear in person.
Understand the Process: Every case is different, but make sure you understand what is required of you prior to your court hearing, when your court dates are, and things you can do leading up to court to help minimize any consequences you could be facing if convicted. Your attorney will walk you step-by-step through this process and help you to know what to say, what not to say, and what you need to do to maximize your chances of securing a favorable outcome for your case.
Get Advice from a Skilled DUI Lawyer
If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to hire an experienced lawyer to defend your rights. Our Fairfax DUI attorney is a founding member of the DUI Defense Lawyers Association (DUIDLA) and a member of the National College for DUI Defense. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
Facing a DUI charge can be overwhelming, and you are probably concerned about the possible criminal penalties that come with a conviction. Rather than attempting to navigate the complexities of the legal processes on your own or with an incompetent lawyer, seek skilled counsel from an attorney with proven experience.
Our Fairfax DUI lawyer at The Law Office of Ann Thayer, PLLC has represented many clients charged with DUI and is well-versed in Virginia laws. Whether this is your first arrest, or you have prior convictions, we will offer dedicated and personalized legal representation for your case.