Accused of driving under the influence in Virginia? Here is information on the penalties you are likely facing for a first time DUI charge and whether diversion programs are offered. To discuss your charge in more detail and what penalties you may face, consult with an Alexandria DUI lawyer today.
Even a first-time DUI is a criminal offense. Therefore, if you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs, you have been convicted of a crime that will remain on your permanent record indefinitely. The maximum punishment is 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine, and a 1-year loss of license. Additionally, no matter what, if you are convicted of DUI, there is a minimum fine of $250 and the 1-year license suspension is automatic. This means there is no way to get less than a year suspension on your license if you’ve been convicted of DUI in Virginia. Any restricted license will require the installation of the ignition interlock device. Additionally, anyone convicted of DUI in Virginia will have to undergo the ASAP program, which is an alcohol program that costs money and takes time and attempts to educate people about the dangers of driving under the influence.
Those are the penalties for a basic DUI in Virginia. If your blood alcohol concentration is elevated—meaning it registers between a .15 and a .20, there is mandatory minimum jail sentences of 5 days in jail in addition to the other punishments for DUI and if your blood alcohol concentration was a 0.21 or above, the mandatory jail time is ten days in jail in addition to the other punishments for DUI. Additionally, if someone has been previously convicted of DUI within the previous ten years, that previous conviction gives rise to mandatory jail time. And if you have three convictions within ten years, the DUI is charged as a felony which is punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a higher mandatory jail sentence.
No. It is a very rare case indeed that results in probation or diversion for a DUI offense. Most prosecutors, would rather try a DUI case and lose than to offer diversion. If you’re charged with DUI in Virginia, unless there are major problems with the case, you will most likely have a trial or will end up with a DUI conviction on your record because prosecutors and judges do not offer diversion programs like they do in some other states.