Driving under the influence (DUI) is treated very seriously in Virginia. Even a first offense results in the suspension of the driver's license, and your arrest for DUI is reported to the Criminal Records Exchange—which means that you may wind up with a criminal record.
A criminal defense attorney can assist you as you go through the process of defending yourself against charges of DUI. John Kassabian of Kassabian and Kassabian, PLC, in Fairfax, VA, helps drivers in Prince William County and Fairfax County. Schedule a free consultation.
PENALTIES INCREASE OVER MULTIPLE OFFENSES
Conviction of any DUI offense results in driver's license revocation. However, the suspension time differs for each subsequent offense. A first offense results in the driver losing their license for one year. But for a second offense, the driver's license is revoked for three years. A third offense is punishable by a mandatory indefinite revocation of the driver's license. This happens regardless of the time period between DUIs.
If someone continues to drive despite their driver's license being revoked for a DUI offense, they will be charged with an additional Class 1 Misdemeanor and anyone convicted of three such revocation violations may be charged with a Class 6 felony, punished by a fine of $2,500 and/or a jail term of one to five years. That person's vehicle may also be impounded.
And, if someone allows another person whose license is suspended for DUI to drive their vehicle, they too may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500, if the vehicle's owner was aware of the driver's license having been revoked.
Driver's license suspension is not the only consequence for being convicted of DUI. Fines range from $250 minimum for a first offense to a minimum $1,000 fine for a third offense. The defendant may also be required to serve jail time for between five days and five years, depending on the number of offenses and the blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest.
Most DUI charges are for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. However, driving while under the influence of other mind- and behavior-altering substances can also land someone in hot water. Authorities will ask you to submit to a sobriety and blood test, and you might face the same consequences as someone driving while intoxicated with alcohol if you are found to be under the influence of a drug, such as marijuana.
If you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test after you have been pulled over for erratic driving when it is reasonable to assume that you have ingested substances, your license will be revoked for one year. If this happens twice, your license gets suspended for three years (and you are charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor).
HELP WITH SUSPENSIONS
Defendants may petition the court to overturn driver's license suspensions, but the process is complex. A criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in matters related to DUI offenses can help you explore all your options for the best possible outcome. John Kassabian can advise you as you navigate the fallout that follows a DUI charge. Call now for a free consultation in Prince William County or Fairfax County.