The state of Virginia takes a hard-line approach to drive under the influence (DUI). As explained by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, DUI penalties vary according to the number of offenses, as well as some other factors.
Even good, responsible people can receive DUI convictions after drinking one too many while out with friends. Understanding the possible penalties ensures you are aware of your rights according to the law.
All first-time offenders receive a mandatory minimum fine of $250 and the loss of driving privileges lasting one year. How your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of arrest can incur a mandatory jail sentence. Having a BAC between .15% and .19% incurs a mandatory minimum jail term of five days. Having a BAC of .20% or higher incurs a mandatory minimum jail term of ten days.
Elevation of penalties based on BAC accompanies all subsequent offenses and is in addition to whatever initial punishments you receive.
Jail terms may span up to one year for second offenses. The mandatory minimum fine is $200, while the license revocation period lasts three years. In the event this is your second offense within ten years, you will also receive a mandatory minimum jail term lasting ten days. For a second offense within five years, the jail term increases to 20 days.
Receiving three DUIs during a ten-year period incurs an indefinite loss of driving privileges. Additionally, you will receive a mandatory minimum $1,000 fine, a mandatory minimum jail term of 90 days, and a revocation of your vehicle if there are no other owners. Three convictions during a five-year period incur a mandatory minimum six-month jail term in addition to the above punishments.
While BAC is an important metric for determining inebriation, you can also receive a conviction if you are under the legal limit of .08% but appear inebriated and incapable of operating a motor vehicle. If you refuse breath testing, you receive a one-year license suspension regardless of your guilt or innocence.