Most states are increasing the possible consequences of a DUI conviction, but Virginia has always had strict drinking and driving laws. If you are among the many who believe a first-time DUI conviction will only mean a small fine and a few harsh words, think again.
No DUI offense goes unpunished in Virginia without a solid criminal defense. A conviction—even on first-time charges—often leads to high fines, loss of driver’s license and several other costly and restrictive sanctions.
Is a jail term possible?
Incarceration may not arise for a first-time DUI unless your offense is particularly severe. For example, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures at least 0.08, it will add to your penalties, including the possibility of jail time.
If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures between 0.15% and 0.20%, you could face at least five days in jail. If your BAC is more than 0.20%, a judge will order a jail term of at least ten days.
What other penalties can you expect?
You will lose your driver’s license for an entire year (although a restricted license may be possible) upon conviction for a first DUI. State law requires first-time offenders to enter the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP), as well.
You may also lose access to your vehicle or receive orders to install an ignition interlock device (at your expense) to deter future impaired driving. Finally, you will have to pay a fine of $250 to $2,500 for a first conviction.
As you can see, a first-time DUI offense is no small matter. Instead of assuming the consequences will be minimal, learn more about state DUI laws. Obtaining legal representation is also wise.