According to the Virginia Penal Code, your driver's license can be suspended even if you are first time DUI or DWI offender. The more severe the DUI/DWI offense, the more severe the penalties will become. The court will take your driving history into account when passing a sentence, but even the first conviction can provide a harsh punishment.
It is important to understand that if you are facing a first time DUI/DWI in Virginia, you will have the opportunity to apply for a restricted license. Depending on the circumstances, second-time offenders may also be permitted to apply for a limited or restricted driver's license; however, any being convicted of more than two DUI/DWI convictions will result in the loss of this eligibility. Continue reading to learn more about Virginia's strict penalties for DUI and DWI convictions.
Suspension of Driver's License
If you are convicted of a DUI or DWI in Virginia, you are subject to a mandatory license suspension. Each conviction leads to a longer duration of suspension to deter future unwanted behavior. For the first conviction, you can expect one year of suspension, but the second conviction within a 10 year time limit results in a suspension of three years. With the third conviction within 10 years, the consequence is indefinite forfeiture of the license.
Placement of Ignition Interlock Device
Virginia law states that some individuals who are convicted of DWI and DUI offenses must install an ignition interlock device in their cars. A convicted DWI offender must blow a .02 BAC into the device in order for the car to start. In addition to using this device, the operator must also pay for its installation and maintenance. The rules regarding this device vary based on the number of convictions.
Penalties by Number of Convictions
For those first-time offenders who are requesting that they maintain driving privileges, the ignition interlock device is mandatory. The only exception to the law is for employer-owned vehicles. Those with a second conviction within a span of 10 years must have an ignition interlock device if they wish to maintain a restricted driver's license. Repeat offenders must also use the device after they receive their license following the revocation.
Forfeiture of Vehicle
Drivers who receive more than two DUI or DWI convictions in the Commonwealth of Virginia may be charged with a felony according to the Virginia statute. Once this happens, the state may make the decision to seize and sell any vehicles owned by the repeat offender.
Increased Cost of Insurance
According to Virginia law, anybody who is convicted of driving under the influence is required to be assessed for financial responsibility. Drivers must meet certain financial standards to continue driving a car. Proving financial responsibility requires each offender to fill out a FR-44 form. The form is used to assess whether or not the driver has insurance that can cover the costs of operating a vehicle.
Insurance premiums increase when you have convictions for DUI and DWI therefore, it is important to have realistic expectations.
Other Penalties for Virginia DUI and DWI Convictions
In addition to the mandatory penalties covered already, there are other punishments that may be assigned to drivers who are convicted. These include:
- Any driver who is convicted of a DUI/DWI is responsible for completing and paying for a program that focuses on alcohol education.
- Points are added to the license of any driver who is convicted of a DUI or DWI, and the points remain on the driver's record for a period of 11 years or longer.
- If you are charged with a DUI or DWI in Virginia, the criminal offense will stay on your permanent record indefinitely.
Can a DUI/DWI Defense Lawyer Help?
No matter how or why you are being charged with a DUI or DWI, it is always a good idea to hire your own traffic defense lawyer. A public defender cannot offer the same level of care and attention that your own personal DUI attorney can. During your trial, your attorney may be able to mitigate your charges so that they are less serious. The fewer charges you face, the better the outcome will be for you. Additionally, hiring your own lawyer ensures that your rights will be well-protected.
Contact our Firm for a Free Consultation
Call The Law Office of Wilfred Ward Yeargan or, send us a message online if you have been charged with a DUI or DWI in Virginia. Our lawyers have years of experience defending clients just like you in court. You don't want to gamble with your life, and neither do we. We will do everything in our power protect your future during court proceedings.