Many of those who are charged with DUI in Virginia have never been in legal trouble before, so the experience can be genuinely frightening. A DUI arrest can lead to a conviction, a criminal record, stiff fines, a lengthy probation term, and even jail time.
If you’re convicted of driving under the influence in Virginia, the charge will never be erased from your criminal record. In the state of Virginia, DUI offenses cannot be expunged in any capacity. This means, any time you’re required to have a background check, apply for a job, or undergo any similar kind of process, your DUI will be public information.
Under Virginia state law, driving under the influence is a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. All class 1 misdemeanor charges in Virginia have the possible penalty of a jail sentence up to one year, and/or a $2500 fine.
Anyone convicted of a DUI, even if it’s their first time, will accrue six points on their license. Those who have never gotten a DUI before (“first offenders”) have mandatory penalties as well. A first offender will be required by the courts to pay a fine of at least $250 and will need to take VASAP, which are alcohol education classes facilitated by the state government. For a first DUI offense and/or breath test refusal, your driver’s license will be “administratively” suspended for seven days by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
First offenders are also required to install an ignition interlock system on their vehicle for six months. Ignition interlock systems make it so you cannot turn on your vehicle unless you undergo a breathalyzer test first, and your breath shows no sign of alcohol in your blood system.
Will I Go To Jail If I Have A First Offense DUI In Virginia?
While it’s possible to go to jail for a first offense DUI in Virginia, most first offenders don’t. Most judges won’t incarcerate someone convicted of a first offense DUI but, if there are aggravating factors, it’s possible. As always, it’s important to remember to comply with law enforcement officers and never put yourself in a situation where a charge is increased due to your behavior.
Aggravating factors vary. A particularly high blood alcohol content level is a commonly occurring aggravating factor. When operating a motor vehicle, boat or watercraft in Virginia, you are legally considered driving or operating under the influence (DUI) if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher. Anything that’s unusually high is considered an aggravating factor. A blood alcohol level of 0.15 or above carries a mandatory jail sentence of five days – even for those guilty of a first offense. A blood alcohol content higher than .20 adds an additional ten days to the mandatory jail sentence, for a total of 15 days.
If the DUI results in an accident, this is another aggravating factor in which a first offender may be penalized with jail time. Additionally, if the first offender resisted arrest in any capacity, became violent or uncooperative with the law enforcement officer, a jail sentence may be imposed as well.
Will I Lose My License If I’m Convicted Of A First Offense DUI In Virginia?
Unfortunately, license suspension is a mandatory consequence of a first offense DUI in Virginia. In some circumstances, and especially with the help of a lawyer, you may be able to secure a restricted driver’s license, which allows you by law to drive to work, doctor’s appointments, court-mandated programs, church or other religious services, and other mandatory, pre-designated destinations.
The state of Virginia is notoriously tough on DUI offenders, even those with a first offense. The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC is a trusted Virginia DUI attorney who has years of experience fighting for first offenders. With his help and the help of his trusted legal team, you can fight to minimize and reduce your penalties as best as possible, with the ultimate goal being to drop the charges entirely.
Schedule A Free Case Evaluation With DUI Lawyer The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC As Soon As Possible
A first offense DUI charge is taken very seriously under Virginia state law. WIthout the help of The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC, you could pay high fines, face jail time, and even lose your license. It’s crucial that you work with a trusted, hardworking law firm who have experience solving this specific issue.
Call today and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC as soon as you have been arrested in Virginia to learn how you can reduce your DUI charges and penalties.