Understanding the impact of a 2nd offense, 3rd offense, 4th offense, or greater DUI in Virginia
The consequences of a DUI (driving under the influence) charge in Virginia depend greatly on how many prior DUI convictions a driver has. As you might imagine, the penalties increase with each conviction. A 2nd DUI carries harsher penalties than a first offense DUI, and additional 3rd DUI, 4th DUI, or subsequent charges will only lead to greater penalties within the Virginia legal system.
1st Offense DUI in Virginia
A standard 1st offense DUI charge in Virginia will carry a mandatory $250 fine, and the potential for up to 12 months of jail time and a $2500 fine. Any DUI conviction will require the driver to attend and complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) as well as install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle(s) for at least six months.
For a first offender DUI, there is no mandatory jail time unless the BAC (blood alcohol content) is at or above 0.15. As a consequence, drivers charged with a first offense will typically not be facing mandatory jail time. It is with second or subsequent offense DUI charges that the consequences for DUI convictions begin to become even more severe.
The Escalation of Penalties – 2nd DUI in Virginia
Virginia tracks DUI convictions both in five-year and ten-year increments. What this means is that there is a charge in Virginia for having a second DUI offense within five years of the first conviction, or for a second DUI offense within five to ten years of the first conviction. Not surprisingly, Virginia penalizes a 2nd DUI offense within five years more severely than a second offense within five to ten years.
For a 2nd DUI within five years in Virginia, there is a mandatory $500 fine (so, double that of a regular first offense DUI) as well as 20 days of mandatory jail time. Mandatory jail time is jail time that cannot be suspended by the judge. For a second DUI within five to ten years, the mandatory fine is also $500, but the mandatory jail time is ten days. Regardless of the type of 2nd DUI offense, there is a three year loss of license (compare this to the one-year loss of license with a first offense DUI in Virginia).
Differences in License Restrictions and Additional Penalties for DUI first offense and 2nd DUI in Virginia
Another difference between the two types of DUI 2nd offense in Virginia is that a driver must wait a full year before being eligible for a restricted license when convicted of a second DUI within five years. In the case of a conviction for a second offense DUI within five to ten years, a driver must still wait for four months before being able to apply for a restricted license. Once again, the second offense DUI conviction will require the driver to attend and complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) as well as install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle(s) for at least six months.
Any DUI with priors will carry an additional requirement of a $50 payment to the Trauma Center Fund, above and beyond any other fines and costs imposed by the court.
Facing Felony DUI Charges | 3rd Offense DUI in Virginia
Things continue to escalate if a driver is charged with a third offense DUI within five years or a third offense DUI within five to ten years. Either of those is considered a felony offense in Virginia. If you are charged with a felony DUI in Virginia, your case will go through a preliminary hearing in the district court (where the burden of proof is just probable cause) and then continue through to the Circuit Court for a trial.
The Legal Processes and Sentencing Guidelines for Repeat DUIs in Virginia
Drivers accused of a third offense DUI within five years face six months of mandatory jail time, as well as a mandatory $1000 fine. If a driver is accused of a third offense DUI within five to ten years, the penalties are 90 days of mandatory jail time and a mandatory $1000 fine. In either case, a defendant’s driver’s license in Virginia is not suspended, but indefinitely revoked. This will require a petition to be filed in the future for any attempt at license restoration. The petition cannot be filed until five years have passed.
As a felony, any type of third offense DUI in Virginia will typically be sentenced by way of sentencing guidelines developed by the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commision (VCSC). These guidelines will factor in a driver’s criminal record, among other factors. It is possible that, with enough of a prior record, the recommended period of incarceration to be imposed would be even higher than the mandatory minimums.
Don’t Face the Legal System Alone | The Best DUI Lawyer for Your Needs
When facing a DUI repeat offender charge in Virginia, it is extremely important to be able to examine your case for any flaws in the police work, any issues with the admissibility of evidence, any issues with the evidence of prior convictions, and to be able to negotiate effectively with the prosecutor. It is possible for these types of DUI charges to be negotiated down to a lesser offense, or for them to be dismissed entirely depending on the available evidence.
If you have been charged with a 2nd DUI in Virginia, or a repeat felony DUI offense, an experienced DUI lawyer such as David G. Parker can fight for your rights, examine the evidence with a knowledgeable eye, and defend your case as effectively as possible. You do not have to face these types of charges alone or without helpful counsel. Contact David G. Parker Law if you are facing a DUI repeat offender charge in Virginia.
Don’t wait to secure defense for your 2nd DUI or repeat offender charge. The sooner you act, the better your chances of navigating the legal complexities with success. Reach out to a specialized DUI lawyer who can offer a strategic defense tailored to the specifics of your case. Remember, the best DUI lawyer for you will fight to seek the best possible outcome for your situation.