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Virginia DWI DUI Penalties
Like several other states, Virginia uses a multi-tiered system to set DUI penalties. Under Virginia DWI law, the higher a driver's blood-alcohol content is over the legal limit, the more severe the penalty.
If you have been arrested for committing DWI, also known as DUI, in Virginia, you will want to reach out to a Virginia DUI attorney. Virginia DUI lawyers are knowledgeable about the law and can help you understand your rights and legal defenses.
Levels of Virginia DWI Penalties
Virginia DWI law assesses penalties for drunk drivers depending on their blood-alcohol levels. The higher the blood-alcohol level, the greater the penalty.
The first level for a Virginia DWI offender is if the driver's blood-alcohol content is less than .15 percent. This penalty tier also includes drivers whose blood-alcohol content is below the legal limit of .08 percent but whose driving is impaired due to their level of intoxication.
The next penalty tier is reserved for drivers whose blood-alcohol content is equal to or greater than .15 percent but not more than .20 percent.
The final tier is for drivers whose blood-alcohol content exceeds .20 percent.
Additionally, Virginia, like many other jurisdictions, adds additional penalties for drunk drivers who commit DWI with a minor under the age of 18 in the car.
First-Time DWI Offenders
The first time you commit a Virginia DWI offense, you could face jail time depending on the circumstances surrounding your crime.
If your blood-alcohol content was below .15, you may face the following penalties:
- A mandatory minimum $250 fine
- Driver's license revocation for one year
If your blood-alcohol content was .15 percent to .20 percent, you will also receive a mandatory minimum five-day jail term. If your blood-alcohol content was above .20 percent, you will receive a mandatory minimum jail term of 10 days. You will also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car to prevent you from driving while intoxicated.
If you are caught driving drunk with a minor in your car, you will face a minimum jail sentence of five days and additional fines ranging from $500 to $1,000.
Second-Time DWI Offenders
If you break Virginia DWI law a second time, the penalties increase. All second-time offenders face:
- A mandatory minimum fine of $500
- Driver's license revocation for three years
- Possible jail time for up to a year
- Mandatory minimum jail time of 10 days if the second offense occurred within 10 years of first
- Mandatory minimum jail time of 20 days if the second offense occurred within five years of the first
If you commit a second offense and your blood-alcohol content is .15 percent to .20 percent, you'll receive an additional, mandatory 10 days in jail. If your blood-alcohol content was above .20 percent, then you can expect to have an additional 20 days added to your jail sentence.
If you were caught drinking and driving with a minor in the car on your second offense, add at a minimum an additional five days to your jail term and an additional $500 to $1,000 to the fine. If this was your second time to be given a DWI with a minor in the car, then you will also be penalized with 80 hours of community service.
Third-Time & Fourth-Time DWI Offenders
If you are convicted of a third DWI in Virginia, it is considered a felony. You will also be subject to the following penalties under Virginia DWI law:
- Mandatory indefinite driver's license revocation if within 10 years of the first two DUI convictions
- Mandatory minimum fine of $1,000
- Mandatory minimum six-month jail term if convicted within five years of the first two convictions
- Mandatory minimum 90-day jail term if within 10 years of the first two convictions
- Permanent forfeiture of your vehicle if within 10 years of your first two convictions
Virginia does not specify additional penalties for third-time offenders whose blood-alcohol content is equal to or exceeds .15 percent.
If you are convicted of DWI for a fourth or subsequent time, you will face all the same penalties as your third offense plus a mandatory minimum one-year jail term.