The potential punishments for DUI convictions are harsh, especially for convictions on subsequent offenses. These penalties involve both administrative and court-ordered license suspensions, as well as fines and jail time, depending on the situation.
Therefore, if you were charged with driving under the influence, seek the services of a knowledgeable and seasoned attorney to better understand your legal options. A well-versed lawyer could help by explaining your rights and helping you decide how to best proceed under the circumstances.
Pursuant to Va. Code § 46.2-391.2, drivers who plead guilty or who are found guilty of driving under the influence become subject to automatic license suspensions by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The mandatory license suspension periods are as follows:
Additionally, refusing a breath test results in an automatic DMV license suspension. A DUI conviction will result in court-ordered license suspension periods, as well, so the total license suspension or revocation period can become quite lengthy in many cases.
For a first-time DUI offense pursuant to Va. Code §18.2-270, the charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The potential penalties for this offense include up to 12 months in jail and/or up to a $2,500 fine. There is a mandatory fine of $250 and a license suspension of 12 months.
A second DUI conviction within five years of the first conviction will require a 20-day mandatory jail sentence, with a total sentence ranging from one month to one year, as well as a $500 fine. If the second DUI conviction is more than five years after the first conviction, but less than ten years after the first conviction, then the mandatory minimum jail sentence is only ten days although there still may be a $500 fine.
A third DUI offense within five years carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of six months and constitutes a Class 6 felony conviction. If the third DUI offense occurs more than five years, but less than ten years, after the first offense, then the mandatory minimum jail time decreases to 90 days. There also may be a $1,000 fine for a third DUI offense.
Additionally, regardless of the number of their prior DUI convictions, drivers who commit DUI offense with BACs of 0.15 percent and higher will receive mandatory minimum days with the minimum sentences stated above. Given the potential penalties in a Fairfax DUI case, accused individuals should consider speaking with a diligent attorney for help.
In some cases, it may appear that a DUI conviction is inevitable, along with all of the negative consequences that a DUI conviction can bring. When the state does meet the burden of proof in a driving under the influence case, it may still be possible to avoid a conviction through reduced sentencing options. This is especially true for first-time offenders or those who have little or no prior criminal history.
The state may be willing to offer a defendant alternative sentencing options that can enable defendants to avoid conviction or some of the more serious repercussions of a conviction. For instance, individuals may be eligible to attend alcohol education classes or engage in community service in lieu of serving jail time and having a criminal conviction on their records. It should be noted that individuals facing their second or third DUI charge are likely to be ineligible for such programs, and may have trouble attempting to mitigate the charges against them.
An attorney understands that every case is different and may help individuals who are accused of DUI understand more about what options might be available under the circumstances. They can discuss all possible options and with that information, determine a course of action.
Facing charges—and their subsequent penalties for a conviction—can be overwhelming. However, by discussing the potential penalties in a Fairfax DUI case with an experienced attorney, you could better understand your options and decide how to proceed.
With the counsel of a tenacious lawyer on your side, you could rest assured that a legal professional is working tirelessly to get you the best outcome possible. To learn more, call today.
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