In Virginia, if you are convicted three times or more within a ten year period, it is considered a felony. A felony DUI/DWI charge carries far more severe penalties than a 1st or 2nd offense. Felony charges can be assigned to drivers who have been convicted for DUI/DWI three (or more) times within 10 years. However, in situations involving fatal accidents or other loss of life, felony charges for involuntary manslaughter or aggravated manslaughter are possible.
Third DUI/DWI Conviction
A third DUI/DWI conviction is always considered a Class 6 felony. Class 6 felonies under Virginia Code §18.2-10 are punishable by a prison sentence of 1-5 years in addition to a fine of up to $2,500. The mandatory minimum penalty for a felony DUI conviction includes jail time and a minimum fine of $1,000. Depending on whether the third conviction happened within five or 10 years, the penalties will vary accordingly. To read about the penalties for a third DUI/DWI conviction, please read:
Fatal Accidents and Manslaughter Charges
If you caused an accident while under the influence of alcohol which resulted in the death of someone else, it is possible to be charged with either involuntary or aggravated under the Virginia Code §18.2-36.1.
Involuntary manslaughter is a Class 5 felony. You can be sentenced to one to 10 years in prison, fined up to a maximum of $2,500 or both. However, a judge or jury can lower the sentence.
On the other hand, aggravated involuntary manslaughter will give you a minimum prison sentence of one year and a maximum of 20 years. Involuntary manslaughter becomes aggravated involuntary manslaughter if the court finds that your conduct displayed a “reckless disregard for human life”.
An additional penalty for a felony DUI/DWI charge includes vehicle forfeiture. If you are convicted of felony DUI/DWI, Virginia state authorities will have the power to confiscate your vehicle if you are the sole owner and operator.
Don’t Risk a Felony DUI Conviction
A felony DUI/DWI conviction requires a minimum penalty of fines and jail time. However, the severity of your charge will dictate the actual penalty assigned. In situations involving fatal accidents, the potential penalties could be life-altering.
If you are facing a charge for felony DUI/DWI in Virginia – call The Brown Firm PLLC immediately or contact us online. Our DUI defense attorneys have extensive courtroom experience, including jury trials. Regardless of what type of proceeding will occur, we are confident in our abilities to represent your best interests to a judge, a prosecuting attorney, or a jury.