1st Offense of DUI
What are the penalties for First Offense Driving Under the Influence? Driving under the influence is a Class 1 misdemeanor criminal charge in Virginia. If you are convicted of DUI, you will have a permanent criminal record. Additionally, the DMV will assess six points against your driving record. As with all Class 1 misdemeanor criminal offenses in Virginia, DUI carries the possible punishments of a fine up to $2500 and/or a jail sentence of up to twelve months. For a first offense DUI in Virginia, there are mandatory punishments that cannot be waived or suspended by the prosecutor or the judge. Anyone convicted of a first offense DUI must be assessed a fine of at least $250, must be required to complete an alcohol educated class (VASAP), must have their driver’s license suspended for twelve months (including those licensed out-of-state), and must install an ignition interlock system on their vehicle for six months. Will I go to jail if I’m convicted of First Offense DUI? Often times, judges do not impose an active sentence of incarceration for a conviction of first offense DUI unless there are some aggravating factors. The most common aggravating factor is the elevated blood alcohol content (BAC) level. Under Virginia law, a person with a BAC of 0.08 is presumed to be intoxicated. If charged with DUI with a BAC of 0.15 or above, there is a mandatory jail sentence of five days, even for a first offense. If the BAC is in excess of 0.20, there is an additional ten days (15 days total) mandatory jail sentence. Another common aggravating factor is when the DUI results in an accident, particularly where there are injuries. While there is no mandatory jail sentence associated with this factor, judges will consider active time in these circumstances. Likewise, if the driver was stopped for reckless driving, such as driving in excess of 20 mph over the speed limit or dangerously weaving in and out of traffic, judges will also consider active jail time. James J. McCoart, III, will be able to provide you advice and guidance on how to handle any aggravating factors of your case. Many times, through negotiation with the prosecutor, he attempts to keep that information from being presented to the court. I’ll lose my job if I have a suspended license and can’t drive. License suspension is a mandatory consequence of a first offense DUI conviction. Judges generally do not want a DUI to have a drastic affect on one’s life, particularly when it’s a first offense on an otherwise unblemished record. The punishment should not be so extreme as to end one’s career or force them or their family to suffer unnecessary financial hardships due to unemployment. In most circumstances, you will be able to secure a restricted driver’s license. The law allows the judge to authorize a restricted driver’s license in order to drive for work, medical reasons, court-ordered programs, religious services, and several other reasons. For over 20 years, The Law Office of James J. McCoart, III, has vigorously represented those accused of Driving Under the Influence. If you, or your family member, are interested in a no-cost consultation regarding a DUI charge in Virginia, then contact The Law Office of James J. McCoart, III, by phone (703) 369-2734, or email.