DWI & DUI Penalties

When someone is charged with a DUI, the most common question they have for a DUI attorney is, what kind of DUI penalties do I face? This is understandable because people understand how serious this offense is and they worry about the practical implications a DUI conviction can bring. While each case is different and the exact penalty a person faces will be based on a number of factors, Virginia statues do outline the penalties you can expect to face when charged with a DUI.

If you are facing your first DUI, you can expect to face a license suspension, at least a $250 fine, an alcohol education class, and an ignition interlock device. If you are found to have an especially high BAC (.15+) you will face mandatory jail time. For a first-time offender, in most cases it is possible to get a restricted license to allow you to drive to work, school, and doctor’s visits.

For a second time offender, the DUI penalties get more severe. If the second offense happens within 5 years of your first, you can face between one month to one year in jail, twenty days of which is mandatory. A second offense within ten years will result in a mandatory ten days in jail. This mandatory jail time will be increased if you are found to have a BAC higher than .15. You will also not be eligible for a restricted driver’s license and will have to have an ignition interlock for a longer period of time.

A third charge for DUI is a felony. A conviction can bring a maximum sentence of five years in jail. You will face a fine between $1000-$2500 and have your license suspended indefinitely. You will not even be able to appeal for a restricted license until 3 years have passed and even then the judge may not grant it. This charge is extremely serious and requires a DUI attorney right away.

For your information, the Virginia statutes governing driving under the influence are found below. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact a DUI attorney at The Law Offices of Patrick N. Anderson today.

§ 18.2-270. Penalty for driving while intoxicated; subsequent offense; prior conviction.

A. Except as otherwise provided herein, any person violating any provision of § 18.2-266 shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum fine of $250. If the person’s blood alcohol level as indicated by the chemical test administered as provided in this article or by any other scientifically reliable chemical test performed on whole blood under circumstances reliably establishing the identity of the person who is the source of the blood and the accuracy of the results (i) was at least 0.15, but not more than 0.20, he shall be confined in jail for an additional mandatory minimum period of five days or, (ii) if the level was more than 0.20, for an additional mandatory minimum period of 10 days.

B. 1. Any person convicted of a second offense committed within less than five years after a prior offense under § 18.2-266shall upon conviction of the second offense be punished by a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and by confinement in jail for not less than one month nor more than one year. Twenty days of such confinement shall be a mandatory minimum sentence. 2. Any person convicted of a second offense committed within a period of five to 10 years of a prior offense under § 18.2-266 shall upon conviction of the second offense be punished by a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and by confinement in jail for not less than one month. Ten days of such confinement shall be a mandatory minimum sentence. 3. Upon conviction of a second offense within 10 years of a prior offense, if the person’s blood alcohol level as indicated by the chemical test administered as provided in this article or by any other scientifically reliable chemical test performed on whole blood under circumstances reliably establishing the identity of the person who is the source of the blood and the accuracy of the results (i) was at least 0.15, but not more than 0.20, he shall be confined in jail for an additional mandatory minimum period of 10 days or, (ii) if the level was more than 0.20, for an additional mandatory minimum period of 20 days. In addition, such person shall be fined a mandatory minimum fine of $500.

C. 1. Any person convicted of three offenses of § 18.2-266 committed within a 10-year period shall upon conviction of the third offense be guilty of a Class 6 felony. The sentence of any person convicted of three offenses of § 18.2-266 committed within a 10-year period shall include a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days, unless the three offenses were committed within a five-year period, in which case the sentence shall include a mandatory minimum sentence of confinement for six months. In addition, such person shall be fined a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.

2. A person who has been convicted of § 18.2-36.118.2-36.218.2-51.418.2-51.5, or a felony violation of § 18.2-266 shall upon conviction of a subsequent violation of §18.2-266 be guilty of a Class 6 felony. The punishment of any person convicted of such a subsequent violation of § 18.2-266 shall include a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.

3. The punishment of any person convicted of a fourth or subsequent offense of § 18.2-266 committed within a 10-year period shall, upon conviction, include a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year. In addition, such person shall be fined a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. Unless otherwise modified by the court, the defendant shall remain on probation and under the terms of any suspended sentence for the same period as his operator’s license was suspended, not to exceed three years.

4. The vehicle solely owned and operated by the accused during the commission of a felony violation of § 18.2-266 shall be subject to seizure and forfeiture. After an arrest for a felony violation of § 18.2-266, the Commonwealth may file an information in accordance with § 19.2-386.1. If the information is filed, the Commonwealth shall notify the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles that the property is subject to seizure. The Commissioner shall act upon such notification pursuant to the provisions for certification and notice applicable to a seizure under § 19.2-375, except that the Commissioner shall serve the written notice of the seizure upon the registered owner and lienor in accordance with the requirements of §8.01-296. Any seizure shall be stayed until conviction and the exhaustion of all appeals at which time, if the information has been filed, the Commonwealth shall immediately commence seizure of the property in accordance with § 19.2-386.2. An immediate family member of the owner of any motor vehicle for which an information has been filed under this section who was not the driver at the time of the violation may petition the court in which such information was filed for the release of the motor vehicle. If the immediate family member proves by a preponderance of the evidence that his immediate family has only one motor vehicle and will suffer a substantial hardship if that motor vehicle is seized and forfeited, the court, in its discretion, may release the vehicle. In the event the vehicle was sold to a bona fide purchaser subsequent to the arrest but prior to seizure in order to avoid seizure and forfeiture, the Commonwealth shall have a right of action against the seller for the proceeds of the sale.

D. In addition to the penalty otherwise authorized by this section or § 16.1-278.9, any person convicted of a violation of §18.2-266 committed while transporting a person 17 years of age or younger shall be (i) fined an additional minimum of $500 and not more than $1,000 and (ii) sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of confinement of five days.

E. For the purpose of determining the number of offenses committed by, and the punishment appropriate for, a person under this section, an adult conviction of any person, or finding of guilty in the case of a juvenile, under the following shall be considered a conviction of § 18.2-266: (i) the provisions of § 18.2-36.1 or the substantially similar laws of any other state or of the United States, (ii) the provisions of §§ 18.2-51.418.2-266, former § 18.1-54 (formerly § 18-75), the ordinance of any county, city or town in this Commonwealth or the laws of any other state or of the United States substantially similar to the provisions of § 18.2-51.4, or § 18.2-266, or (iii) the provisions of subsection A of § 46.2-341.24 or the substantially similar laws of any other state or of the United States.

F. Mandatory minimum punishments imposed pursuant to this section shall be cumulative, and mandatory minimum terms of confinement shall be served consecutively. However, in no case shall punishment imposed hereunder exceed the applicable statutory maximum Class 1 misdemeanor term of confinement or fine upon conviction of a first or second offense, or Class 6 felony term of confinement or fine upon conviction of a third or subsequent offense. (Code 1950, § 18.1-58; 1960, c. 358; 1962, c. 302; 1975, cc. 14, 15; 1982, c. 301; 1983, c. 504; 1989, c. 705; 1991, cc. 370, 710; 1992, c. 891; 1993, c. 972; 1997, c. 691; 1999, cc. 743945949987; 2000, cc. 784956958980,982; 2002, c. 759; 2003, cc. 573591; 2004, cc. 461937946950957958962; 2006, cc. 82314; 2009, c. 229.) § 18.2-270.1. Ignition interlock systems; penalty. A. For purposes of this section and § 18.2-270.2: “Commission” means the Commission on VASAP. “Department” means the Department of Motor Vehicles. “Ignition interlock system” means a device that (i) connects a motor vehicle ignition system to an analyzer that measures a driver’s blood alcohol content; (ii) prevents a motor vehicle ignition from starting if a driver’s blood alcohol content exceeds 0.02 percent; and (iii) is equipped with the ability to perform a rolling retest and to electronically log the blood alcohol content during ignition, attempted ignition and rolling retest. “Rolling retest” means a test of the vehicle operator’s blood alcohol content required at random intervals during operation of the vehicle, which triggers the sounding of the horn and flashing of lights if (i) the test indicates that the operator has a blood alcohol content which exceeds 0.02 percent or (ii) the operator fails to take the test. B. In addition to any penalty provided by law for a conviction under § 18.2-51.4 or 18.2-266 or a substantially similar ordinance of any county, city or town, any court of proper jurisdiction (i) may, for a first offense, (ii) shall, for a second or subsequent offense and, (iii) shall, for an offense where an offender’s blood alcohol content equals or exceeds 0.15 percent, as a condition of a restricted license or as a condition of license restoration under subsection C of § 18.2-271.1 or 46.2-391, prohibit an offender from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a functioning, certified ignition interlock system for any period of time not to exceed the period of license suspension and restriction, not less than six consecutive months without alcohol-related violations of the interlock requirements, and shall require that such a system be installed on each motor vehicle, as defined in § 46.2-100, owned by or registered to the offender, in whole or in part, for such period of time. Such condition shall be in addition to any purposes for which a restricted license may be issued pursuant to § 18.2-271.1. The court may order the installation of an ignition interlock system to commence immediately upon conviction. A fee of $20 to cover court and administrative costs related to the ignition interlock system shall be paid by any such offender to the clerk of the court. The court shall require the offender to install an electronic log device with the ignition interlock system on a vehicle designated by the court to measure the blood alcohol content at each attempted ignition and random rolling retest during operation of the vehicle. The offender shall be enrolled in and supervised by an alcohol safety action program pursuant to § 18.2-271.1 and to conditions established by regulation under § 18.2-270.2 by the Commission during the period for which the court has ordered installation of the ignition interlock system. The offender shall be further required to provide to such program, at least quarterly during the period of court ordered ignition interlock installation, a printout from such electronic log indicating the offender’s blood alcohol content during such ignitions, attempted ignitions, and rolling retests, and showing attempts to circumvent or tamper with the equipment.

C. In any case in which the court requires the installation of an ignition interlock system, the court shall direct the offender not to operate any motor vehicle which is not equipped with such a system for the period of time that installation is ordered. The clerk of the court shall file with the Department of Motor Vehicles a copy of the order, which shall become a part of the offender’s operator’s license record maintained by the Department. The Department shall issue to the offender for the installation period required by the court, a restricted license which shall appropriately set forth the restrictions required by the court under this subsection and any other restrictions imposed upon the offender’s driving privilege, and shall also set forth any exception granted by the court under subsection F.

D. The offender shall be ordered to provide the appropriate ASAP program, within 30 days of the effective date of the order of court, proof of the installation of the ignition interlock system. The Program shall require the offender to have the system monitored and calibrated for proper operation at least every 30 days by an entity approved by the Commission under the provisions of § 18.2-270.2 and to demonstrate proof thereof. The offender shall pay the cost of leasing or buying and monitoring and maintaining the ignition interlock system. Absent good cause shown, the court may revoke the offender’s driving privilege for failing to (i) timely install such system or (ii) have the system properly monitored and calibrated.

E. No person shall start or attempt to start a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock system for the purpose of providing an operable motor vehicle to a person who is prohibited under this section from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system. No person shall tamper with, or in any way attempt to circumvent the operation of, an ignition interlock system that has been installed in the motor vehicle of a person under this section. Except as authorized in subsection G, no person shall knowingly furnish a motor vehicle not equipped with a functioning ignition interlock system to any person prohibited under subsection B from operating any motor vehicle which is not equipped with such system. A violation of this subsection shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

F. Any person prohibited from operating a motor vehicle under subsection B may, solely in the course of his employment, operate a motor vehicle which is owned or provided by his employer without installation of an ignition interlock system, if the court expressly permits such operation as a condition of a restricted license at the request of the employer, but such person may not operate a school bus, school vehicle, or a commercial motor vehicle as defined in § 46.2-341.4. This subsection shall not apply if such employer is an entity wholly or partially owned or controlled by the person otherwise prohibited from operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock system. G. The Commission shall promulgate such regulations and forms as are necessary to implement the procedures outlined in this section. (1995, c. 486; 1996, c. 841; 1997, c. 691; 1998, cc. 783840; 1999, c. 734; 2000, cc. 958980; 2004, c. 961; 2007, c.686; 2008, c. 862.)

 

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