If the Virginia police charge you with driving under the influence (DUI), you need to know what you can do about it.
Some people wrongly assume that a conviction will be a foregone conclusion. Yet, like any criminal charge, there are ways to contest and, hopefully, overcome the charge.
Why do you need to fight a DUI?
There are three parts to this. First, a DUI will get you a criminal record, which has several consequences. For instance, if your current job requires you to drive, some employers would terminate your contract. Prospective employers may also discard your application when they see the offense appear in a background check.
Second, a court will impose penalties for the offense. If you pick up further DUIs in the next few years, the penalties you will face will increase in severity. For instance:
- First time DUI: A minimum fine of $250
- Second offense in five years: A minimum fine of $500 plus at least 20 days in jail
- Third offense in five years: A $1,000 fine plus at least six months in jail
Those are the minimum you can expect. The maximum consequences are much worse.
Third, your insurer will raise the cost of coverage. That does not mean you can switch providers to avoid it, as all companies charge you more when you accrue driving offenses. The average increase in Virginia is 107%. It’s like having to buy two policies instead of one, and that is just for the first DUI. Further convictions will lead to additional raises.
If you are facing a DUI charge and are now convinced you need to fight the charges, the next step is to find out more about your legal options. Breathalyzer tests can be mistaken, and so can an officer’s judgment.