What Happens in Virginia if I Get a Second or Third DUI

What Happens in Virginia if I Get a Second or Third DUI

Drunk driving repeat offender - Pack Law Group

Virginia takes drunk driving very seriously, even when it’s a first offense. The consequences of being convicted of a second or third offense vary depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and how long it’s been since your first conviction. If you’re facing a repeat conviction, it’s essential to understand the penalties you’re up against. You will need an experienced DUI attorney in Virginia to help you fight or reduce the charges.

Penalties for a Second DUI Offense in Virginia

You can expect stiffer penalties if your second DUI charge comes within five years of the first. It is considered a Class One Misdemeanor and comes with an automatic $500 fine. A second DUI within five years also calls for a minimum one-month jail sentence, with no possibility of being released before you have served 20 days in jail.

You are considered legally intoxicated in Virginia if you have a BAC of .08 or greater. If the arresting officer records a BAC between .15 and .20, you automatically receive an additional 10 days in jail. This doubles to 20 days for a BAC greater than .20.

A second conviction that comes five to 10 years after the first is also a Class One Misdemeanor. It comes with a jail sentence of 30 days, of which you must serve at least 10 days. If your offense falls into this category and your BAC was between .15 and .20, you will receive an extra 10 days on your sentence and the amount of your fine doubles from $500 to $1,000. For a BAC over .20, jail time is an additional 20 days and the fine amount remains $1,000.

You can also expect suspension of your Virginia driver’s license for three years. You may be able to apply for a restricted license in four months if your first DUI charge was five to 10 years ago. You must wait one year if the first charge was within the last five years.

Additionally, you are required to have an interlock ignition system installed in your vehicle if your driver’s license has been suspended. This system comes equipped with a breathalyzer that you need to blow into before the vehicle will start. It will not start if your BAC is over the legal limit.

Penalties for a Third DUI Offense in Virginia

If you are convicted of a third drunk driving offense within five years of your second charge, you can expect a minimum $1,000 fine and six months in jail. The jail sentence is at least 90 days if it has been longer than five years since your last DUI offense.

A third DUI in Virginia is considered a Class Six Felony, regardless of how long it has been since your last charge. A judge could sentence you for up to five years in a state penitentiary and impose a fine of up to $2,500. You face an indefinite suspension of your driver’s license and seizure of your vehicle for a third DUI offense as well.

The penalties listed here for second and third drunk driving convictions are only the minimum the state requires. Judges have the discretion to impose much harsher penalties depending on the situation, such as an extremely high BAC or driving intoxicated with minors in the car. Prosecutors also have a lot of freedom in deciding how to charge you for a second or third DUI.

Hire an Experienced Virginia DUI Attorney as Soon as You Have Been Charged

Keep in mind that being charged with DUI doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guilty of DUI. However, you can expect immediate and aggressive action by the prosecution. For this reason, it’s important to seek your own representation as quickly as possible.

Matthew Pack and W. Cameron Warren are both experienced DUI defense attorneys. Mr. Warren previously worked as a prosecutor and has police training in the apprehension of drunk driving suspects. As a defense attorney, this knowledge is invaluable when it comes to understanding the perspective of the prosecution. Mr. Pack’s extensive courtroom experience challenging the evidence presented by the prosecution could mean the difference between a successful outcome and possible jail time. Please don’t hesitate to contact Pack Law Firm to start the process of your legal defense against a DUI charge. Contact our office at (540) 586-7225 or online by using our website contact form.inia

Drunk Driving Accidents in Virginia

Drunk Driving Accidents in Virginia

Drunk driving and car accidents - Pack Law Group

In Virginia, you are under the influence of alcohol if your blood alcohol measures at a certain level or above. For drivers over age 21, anything over 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration is against the law. The amount decreases to 0.02 percent for drivers under 21 and 0.04 percent for commercial drivers. Virginia has little tolerance for impaired driving and the consequences of a conviction can be significant.

If you are pulled over and a police officer requests that you take a breathalyzer, it is in your best interest to take the breathalyzer test, regardless whether you feel impaired. Refusing to comply can bring a one-year suspension of your driver’s license, even if it is the first time you have ever been stopped. The Virginia DUI defense attorneys at Pack Law Group will challenge the legality of the test later if necessary.

Is a Drunk Driver Always at Fault in a Car Accident?

Although many people assume that a driver found to be under the influence is always responsible for a car accident, this isn’t always the case. For example, someone with no alcohol in their system who rear-ends you at a stoplight would be the at-fault driver. However, the responding police officer will give you a sobriety test if he or she suspects that you have had too much to drink. You will be charged with a DUI if your BAC is over .02, .04, or .08, depending on your circumstances.

Many people who have consumed alcohol before driving panic in the aftermath of an accident. This causes them to make the poor decision of leaving the scene, which makes the situation and the consequences significantly worse. It is critical in a case like this to remain at the scene and contact Pack Law Group immediately for legal assistance.

Who Pays for Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident?

This can be a complicated question to answer if you were legally intoxicated at the time of the accident but didn’t necessarily cause it. If a police officer gets a reading on your breathalyzer that is above the legal limit, he or she will probably assume that you caused the accident. You may not feel like you have much of a defense in this situation, which is why you need to work with an experienced Virginia DUI defense attorney. It’s likely that you will still face charges for impaired driving, but we will argue on your behalf that you’re not responsible for paying damages to the other party.

Virginia law enables juries to award compensatory damages to accident victims. This money is intended to make the injured person as whole as possible by offering compensation for the following:

  • All medical expenses related to the accident, including future medical costs
  • Actual lost wages and loss of earning potential, if applicable
  • Ongoing pain and suffering
  • Replacement of damaged property, such as the other party’s vehicle and any valuable items contained within it

The more severe the injuries and other losses, the higher the payout the accident victim can receive. As the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit, the money to settle the case would be paid by your insurance company. Many lawyers for plaintiffs advise clients not to accept the first offer an insurance company makes. This is how personal injury cases end up in court.

Virginia Code § 8.01-44.5 allows juries to award additional compensation to people injured in a car accident if the actions of the other driver were particularly reckless. Punitive damages can be up to $300,000 and drunk driving falls into this category. If awarded, punitive damages can be much higher than compensatory damages because they are intended to punish the impaired driver.

Don’t Automatically Accept Blame for Injuries or Damages

Getting charged with drunk driving is difficult enough. However, you shouldn’t feel obligated to pay for the injuries or damages of the other party if your actions didn’t directly cause the accident. We urge you to contact us at Pack Law Group to determine if we can represent you in the DUI case or the personal injury case. Matthew Pack and W. Cameron Warren have successfully argued countless complicated cases like yours. We represent people in Bedford, Virginia and the surrounding communities and are here to help you through a stressful time. Contact our experienced DUI defense attorneys at (540) 586-7225 or online by using our website contact form.