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