A penalty for a first DUI in Virginia includes both criminal and administrative action. Additionally, the state of Virginia adheres to a sliding scale of penalties for first offense DUI convictions, based on case-specific considerations, such as blood alcohol content (BAC) and whether a minor passenger (a person under the age of 18) was present in the vehicle at the time of the arrest. Having legal counsel involved from the outset of a DUI case in Virginia is essential in understanding the case-specific penalties faced, as well as for preparing a viable defense strategy.
A first offense DUI arrest results in administrative license suspension of one year. Reinstatement of a license requires completion of an alcohol safety and education program.
If the driver was arrested with a BAC at or in excess of .15, the driver must utilize an ignition interlock device upon reinstatement of his or her license.
First offense convictions carry no mandatory minimum period of incarceration for offenders, except if the offender had a minor passenger in the vehicle (mandatory incarceration of five days), if the driver had a BAC in excess of .15 (mandatory minimum incarceration of five days), or the driver had a BAC in excess of .20 (mandatory minimum incarceration of ten days).
The fine is $250, but if there was a minor passenger present, minimum fines increase by at least $500, but to not more than $1,000. Fines do not include expenses incurred related to completion of terms of the sentence or applicable restitution mandated by the courts.
Convictions can be used in determining the nature of second or subsequent DUI offenses for a period of 10 years.
Getting Legal Help
No statutory language in the state of Virginia prohibits pleading down DUI charges into lesser criminal offenses or even traffic violations. The ability to do so, however, is contingent upon the use of legal counsel and the case-specific nature of each DUI arrest. Likewise, pending case-specific factors, dismissal of charges may also be possible. Consulting with a Virginia DUI lawyer is the only viable means of determining if these defense options are applicable to your case.