Virginia takes drunk driving very seriously, going as far as suspending a first-time offender’s driver’s license for an entire year. Even after you regain your license, a DUI conviction may continue to impact your day-to-day life for several years.
Additionally, you cannot expunge a DUI conviction, so that means it will remain on your criminal record permanently. The negative implications of a DUI conviction makes it critical to fight your DUI charges head-on to avoid a conviction. A DUI attorney can help you fight your DUI charges by:
- Collecting evidence on your behalf,
- Preparing a defense strategy,
- Negotiating with the prosecuting attorney for a potential plea agreement, and
- Advising you of the consequences of pleading guilty to a drunk driving charge.
Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael Pignone know what it takes to successfully defend DUI charges. We will not pressure you to accept an unfair plea agreement. We are prepared to take your case all the way to trial if necessary. Contact the Law Offices of Michael Pignone online or by phone today to speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Criminal Record?
A DUI conviction in Virginia stays on your criminal record forever. Any time an employer or police officer looks at your criminal record, they will see your drunk driving conviction. In most states, a repeat drunk driving offender will face more severe penalties than someone without a prior conviction for drunk driving. In other states, only DUI convictions received within a specific time period will affect a subsequent sentence.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Driving Record?
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles imposes “demerit points” against a person’s driving record upon their conviction for a driving violation. For drunk driving convictions, the DMV will apply six points to your driving record. You will incur six points on your driving record, whether your conviction is for a basic driving while intoxicated charge or for intoxicated manslaughter. Other driving violations that qualify as six-point violations include:
- Reckless driving,
- Driving with a suspended license,
- Failure to stop at the scene of a fatal crash,
- Eluding police,
- Vehicular assault,
- Operation of an unsafe vehicle, and
- Blocking access to a service facility.
The demerit points remain on your Virginia driving record for two years from the date you committed the offense. If you receive 18 or more demerit points within a one-year period, the DMV can suspend your driving privileges. Thus, if you receive three six-point driving violations within one year, the DMV will suspend your driver’s license. If you receive 12 demerit points in a year, the DMV can order you to participate in a driver’s improvement class. The drunk driving conviction will also remain on your driving record for 11 years. Even without the demerit points, your driving record can affect things like your:
- Car insurance premium,
- Driving restrictions, and
- Ability to gain employment where operating a company vehicle is one of the job duties.
Unfortunately, a DUI conviction can impact your life years after your case is over.
DUI Penalties with a Prior Record
Virginia imposes harsher penalties on individuals with prior drunk driving convictions within a certain period than on first-time offenders. For example, a first-time DUI conviction does not carry a mandatory minimum sentence. However, a second DUI conviction within five years of your first conviction carries a minimum sentence of a month in jail, with a maximum sentence of one year. Additionally, it includes a mandatory minimum fine of $500. A third DUI conviction within a five-year period carries a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in jail, while a third conviction within a 10-year period carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days in jail. A fourth or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years carries a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000.
Does a DUI Stay on Your Record If You Received It out of State?
A “look-back period” is the length of time a drunk driving conviction stays on your driving record. In most states, this look-back period is used to determine whether the court will consider previous drunk driving convictions to enhance the possible penalties for a new drunk driving conviction. Some states have a lifetime look-back period for all DUI offenses, including:
- Colorado, and
New York has a 10-year look-back period for a second offense and a 15-year look-back period for third and subsequent offenses. North Dakota has a five-year look-back period for second and third offenses and a seven-year look-back period for fourth and subsequent offenses. The state where you are currently facing charges determines the look-back period that applies. If you have a lengthy DUI record, the consequences of your prior conviction can include more severe penalties for new convictions in Virginia and in other states.
Contact Michael Pignone Today With Questions About Your DUI Record
Attorney Michael A. Pignone is an award-winning legal practitioner with a practice focused on fighting complicated criminal charges like DUI. As a former clerk for the Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Michael knows the strategies a prosecutor’s office uses to secure DUI convictions. Not to mention, Michael currently serves as the prosecutor for the City of Manassas, giving him valuable insight into how the criminal justice system works.
We can fight for your rights and develop a strategic defense to secure a favorable outcome in your case. A one-size-fits-all defense strategy cannot address the complexities that arise in many DUI cases. We will pay special attention to the details of your issues, so we can tailor our approach to your situation.
If you are facing a DUI charge in Virginia, you need an experienced, aggressive attorney on your side. Contact Michael and his team at the Law Office of Michael A. Pignone today to schedule your free consultation.