The punishment for subsequent DUI offenses becomes more severe as the number of offenses increases in Virginia. It becomes progressively difficult to convince the court that the offender made a simple mistake because it begins to be seen as a pattern of behavior.
Fairfax, VA, criminal defense law firm Kassabian and Kassabian, PLC, has a great deal of experience working with people accused of multiple DUI offenses. John Kassabian understands that multiple DUI charges can profoundly affect the accused's life and works with them to craft an appropriate defense.
DUI IN VIRGINIA SECOND OFFENSE
If someone has been charged with more than one DUI in Virginia, the penalty increases over the first conviction. A second DUI conviction within five years, or within 10 years, results in a fine of no less than $500.
There is also mandatory jail time for a second DUI in Virginia. The mandatory minimum sentence is 20 days' confinement in jail, and the offender could be sentenced to up to one year in jail if the second offense was committed within five years of the first offense and a mandatory minimum fine of $500. The mandatory minimum sentence is 10 days for a second offense committed within five to 10 years after the first DUI offense; additionally, there will be a mandatory minimum fine of $500. The jail sentence increases where the blood alcohol content (BAC) is at least 0.15 but not more than 0.20, and increases yet again where the BAC level is more than 0.20.
Of course, offenders also lose their licenses for second offenses. A second DUI finding results in a court-ordered drivers' license suspension of three years. Additionally, no restricted operator's license will be issued by the court during the first four months of a license revocation as a result of a second DUI conviction committed within 10 years of a first DUI offense. The punishment only gets worse where a second DUI offense is committed within five years of a prior DUI finding, in that the court will not issue a restricted operator's license for a one year period.
DUI IN VIRGINIA THIRD OFFENSE
It stands to reason that a third DUI conviction within 10 years would carry even harsher penalties. Whereas previous convictions may have resulted in a Class 1 misdemeanor, a third conviction results in a Class 6 felony. The mandatory minimum fine rises to $1,000, and the mandatory jail time for a third DUI in Virginia increases to 90 days. If the third offense happens within five years, then the mandatory jail term is six months. A third DUI leads to indefinite license suspension.
Any subsequent offense (fourth, fifth, and so on) within 10 years means minimum jail time of one year and a minimum fine of $1,000.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE DRIVES ON A SUSPENDED LICENSE?
Let's say that someone with a suspended license because of a DUI has no other means of transportation, but needs to drive to work, needs to drive for health care services, or even faces an emergency situation and decides to drive. If that individual is pulled over and the police officer suspects the person's driver's license is revoked or suspended due to loss of driver's license for a DUI conviction, unreasonable refusal, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter or other criminal offense listed in Virginia Code Section 18.2-272, the police officer will ask the driver to undergo a breath and/or blood test to determine if the blood alcohol content is 0.02 percent or more. As of July 2021, the driver can now be convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor and is subject to significant additional administrative revocation of their driver's license.
Since the consequences grow exponentially with each DUI conviction, it is important for those who have been charged with DUI to seek legal counsel. Criminal defense attorney John Kassabian of Kassabian and Kassabian, PLC, in Fairfax, VA, serves DUI defendants in Prince William County and Fairfax County. He can help you craft a defense. Contact John now for a free consultation.