Even for a first-time offender, the Virginia Penal Code mandates the suspension of your driver’s license if convicted of a DUI or DWI. Virginia DUI/DWI penalties increase in severity depending on the situation and the history of the driver. Penalties become more severe for every violation past the first conviction. For example, Virginia law may allow for first and second-time offenders to apply for a license with limited privileges, but offenders with more than two convictions will even lose that privilege. Continue reading to learn about the penalties for DUI/DWI in Virginia.
Mandatory License Suspension
In Virginia, any DUI or DWI charge will carry a period of license suspension. However, the duration of the suspension increases with each additional conviction.
- 1st conviction: 1-year mandatory license suspension
- 2nd conviction in 10 years: 3-year license revocation
- 3rd and further convictions within 10 years: Indefinite license forfeiture
Ignition Interlock Device
In some cases, Virginia law dictates that those convicted of DWI or DUI have their vehicles outfitted with an ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device is outfitted into the vehicle operated by the convicted DWI offender, and renders the vehicle inoperable if the vehicle’s operator is unable to ‘blow’ below .02 BAC into the device. Regardless of the number of convictions, anytime an ignition interlock device is mandated to be installed, the vehicle’s operator is required pay for the expense of maintaining and operating the device. Below are Virginia’s interlock requirements base on number of convictions:
- 1st Conviction: For those with a first-time conviction who are seeking restricted driving privileges, a law change in July of 2013 mandates the offender to have an ignition interlock device installed in any vehicle that they may operate. There is an exception, however, for offenders whose jobs’ require them to drive vehicles owned by their employers.
- 2nd Conviction: If an offender receives a second conviction within a ten year time frame, Virginia Law mandates that an ignition interlock device be installed into any vehicle owned or operated by the offender to receive restricted driving privileges. Furthemore, the device must be installed on a vehicle operated by the repeat offender after they receive their license back after the three-year revocation period.
- 3rd and further convictions: An ignition interlock is mandated to be installed on any vehicle owned or operated by a third time offender, and must remain on the vehicle for a period of six months after the conviction.
Those who receive more than two DWI or DUI convictions in Virginia are charged with a felony. Upon receiving the felony conviction, the state may seize and auction off the vehicle of the repeat offender.
Virginia Law mandates that anyone convicted of DUI must be deemed financially responsible enough to operate a vehicle. Those convicted are required to file a FR-44 form with the state, in which they must demonstrate that they have insurance that can cover. These requirements are significantly more expensive than those without convictions, and subsequently will increase your insurance premium.
Additional Penalties for DUI and DWI in Virginia
Apart from the mandatory penalties for DUI/DWI, there are other possible penalties which drivers should be aware of including:
- Those convicted of a DWI offense must often personally pay for, and complete an alcohol education program.
- A conviction will add points to your license, which remain on your record for at least 11 years.
- In Virginia, a DWI is a criminal offense, and will be marked on your permanent record.
How a DUI Defense Lawyer Can Help
Regardless of the context of your DUI/DWI charge, it is always in your best interest to work with your own DUI defense lawyer. In court, your attorney may be able to petition the court so that you receive less serious charges and if there are legal grounds, fight to have your charges dropped entirely. Legal representation is also important to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are not taken advantage of in court.
If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI in Virginia, call The Brown Firm PLLC or send us a message online to discuss your case. Our firm’s DUI defense attorneys have extensive experience defending against first time and/or subsequent DUI/DWI charges. Don’t gamble with your future, give yourself the best chance possible and let our firm protect your best interests in court.