DUI/DWI is a class 1 misdemeanor in the Commonwealth of Virginia. A first time offense is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or up to $2500 in fines.
Virginia mandates entry into ASAP (Alcohol Safety Action Program) and a one-year revocation of the defendant's drivers license upon conviction for a first time offense.
You are DUI/DWI if you have a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 or above. If you register a 0.08 or higher BAC, your driver's license will be suspended for seven days immediately after arrest. This is separate from the one year license revocation if you are convicted. You may appeal this suspension in the general district court where you were arrested, or by filing a challenge.
First time offenders convicted of driving in Virginia with a blood alcohol content (BAC) between .20 and .25 percent will be sentenced to a minimum, mandatory five day incarceration. Those with a .25 percent or higher BAC will be sentenced to a minimum of ten days in jail.
If you are convicted of a DWI first offense, you may be eligible for a restricted license. The defendant must "move" the court for the restricted license, but the court is under no obligation to grant one. If the judge allows a restricted license, the limitations are often:
Driving to and from VASAP (Alcohol Safety Action Program)
Driving to and from work
Driving during work hours with proper agendas
Driving to and from school
Driving to and from medical treatment
Some judges in northern Virginia do not allow the issuance of a restricted license until 30 days from the conviction date.
If you operate a motor vehicle on Virginia's public roads, you automatically agree to take a chemical test upon request. You are required to take the test. If you refuse, your license will be immediately suspended for seven days and it may be suspended for one year, whether or not you are convicted of driving under the influence. If you are convicted of DUI, the suspension period for refusing the test will be added to the DUI revocation period. You may appeal this suspension in the general district court where you were arrested, or by filing a challenge.
Under age 21:
· If you are under age 21 and you drive with a BAC of at least 0.02 percent but less than 0.08 percent, you can be fined up to $500 and have your driver's license suspended for six months.
· If your BAC is over .08, your penalties will be the same as a driver over 21.
Commercial Vehicle Operators:
You will receive a one-year disqualification for driving a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04 or higher. The disqualification becomes three years if you were transporting hazardous materials at the time.
You will also receive a one year disqualification if you refuse a blood or breath test.
Alcohol Safety Action Program
This is a 20 hour program which focuses on substance abuse and driving, substance abuse and health, and self evaluation of potential for substance abuse. (All persons will be tested for alcohol/drugs. If tested positive for either, the participant will immediately be re-classified for treatment.)
You will be probably placed on probation by the court and given a restricted license and ordered to report to the local ASAP office within 15 days. Offenders who fail to meet the requirements of ASAP probation will be returned to court as non-compliant and subject to revocation action by the court and instituted a suspended jail sentence.
Vehicle Impoundment: Your vehicle will be impounded immediately for 30 days if you are caught driving after your license has been suspended for an alcohol-related offense. The court can impound the vehicle for an additional 90 days if you are convicted.
Insurance Rates: Your insurance rates will rise considerably from any DUI conviction or guilty plea. You may lose your current insurance company and only find insurance with a company that offers less coverage for more money.
Accident, Injury or Death from DUI: DUI convictions that involve accident, injury or death carry considerably greater penalties. For example, a criminally negligent homicide while DUI can lead to 1-10 years in prison, a minimum $5,000 fine, and revocation. A DUI vehicular homicide can lead to 4-12 yrs in prison, a fine of from $3,000-$750,000, and revocation.