A DUI arrest in Virginia, even for a first offense DUI, carries significant penalties. You may understand that a DUI arrest could mean jail time. However, most people do not realize that a DUI fine in Virginia is one of the many costs you will have to pay if a court convicts you of a DUI offense.
How can you avoid paying a DUI fine? Having a tough, dependable, and highly experienced DUI defense lawyer like Michael Pignone can give you the best chance to beat the charges. Since 1995, Virginia DUI attorney Michael Pignone has won numerous awards for his stellar performance representing clients in more than 10,000 cases. If a DUI arrest threatens your way of life, count on Virginia DUI lawyer Michael Pignone to help you. Contact us today.
How Much is a DUI Fine in Virginia?
Under Virginia law, a first-offense DUI charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The jail sentence for a Class 1 misdemeanor conviction is up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. However, Virginia’s DUI statute mandates that the court assess a DUI fine of at least $250. The fine is in addition to all other penalties the court imposes against you.
Additional penalties could include minimum mandatory jail time if your blood alcohol concentration was high. The judge must sentence you to at least five days in jail if your blood alcohol concentration reads between 0.15 and 0.20. The law calls for a minimum of 10 days in jail if your blood alcohol concentration exceeds 0.20.
Fines and Penalties for Subsequent Offenses
Fines and jail time increase if you have a prior DUI offense. Virginia’s DUI law mandates that you must pay a fine of at least $500 and serve between 30 days and one year in jail if you have a previous DUI conviction in the last five years. The law says that 20 days of your jail sentence are considered to be a minimum mandatory sentence. If your prior offense occurred between five and ten years before, you still face a minimum fine of $500 and at least one month in jail. The law says that ten days of the incarceration sentence is the minimum mandatory jail time.
Having a conviction with two prior DUI convictions within the last ten years is a Class 6 felony. A conviction for a third DUI offense increases the minimum fine to $1,000. The possible prison time you face depends on whether your last conviction occurred within five years or between five and ten years before your most recent DUI conviction. You would have to serve six months if all three offenses happened within the last five years. The minimum sentence would decrease to 90 days if your previous conviction occurred between five and ten years ago.
Other Costs in Addition to a Fine for DUI
DUI fines standing alone are not exorbitant. However, costs mount up quickly if your DUI charges lead to a conviction. Customary costs include paying a fee to the DMV to reinstate your license, paying a probation service fee, paying for alcohol education classes, therapy or treatment if ordered, and installing an ignition interlock device. Those costs do not figure in the added cost of purchasing auto insurance with a DUI conviction.
The court will revoke your driver’s license for up to one year after a conviction. You can get it back before the revocation deadline expires by paying a reinstatement fee between $145 and $225. You will need to satisfy all other requirements to obtain a restricted license while your DUI revocation is in effect. Those requirements include:
- Installing and maintaining an ignition interlock device on your vehicle;
- Attending an Alcohol Safety Action Program and paying the required fee;
- Paying a probation supervision fee for one year if the conviction is your first offense;
- Paying an alcohol education program fee or alcohol treatment program fee; and
- Paying restitution up to $1,000 for first responders who attended to a motor vehicle crash that happened because you were driving under the influence.
You might be liable for any insurance costs associated with your DUI arrest and conviction as well. Even out-of-state residents must comply with these orders. Your home state will probably have similar license reinstatement requirements.
Insurance Requirements In Virginia After a DUI Conviction
The Virginia DMV demands that you have sufficient auto insurance on your primary vehicle before receiving a restored license. Virginia drivers who receive a reinstated driver’s license must show proof of an FR-44 or FR-46 financial responsibility certificate. Virginia’s FR-44 limits are double the minimum amount of coverage required by law. The DMV will assess a $600 uninsured motor vehicle reinstatement fee if your insurance lapsed before renewing. You will have to deactivate or surrender your license plates if that happens. Of course, you will need to pay for new plates when you register and insure your car.
Should I Pay for a DUI Lawyer?
Unequivocally, yes. Trying to represent yourself can only lead to more substantial legal problems. Although it is tempting to think you can save money if you just go to court and plead guilty, you could overlook certain defenses that might work in your favor. Or you may fail to comprehend the consequences of pleading guilty to a DUI charge.
Asking for a public defender is better than representing yourself. However, public defenders’ offices are typically overworked and understaffed. They cannot give you the attention your case requires.
Working with a dedicated attorney who understands how prosecutors try to prove DUI charges gives you a better chance to beat your case. A skilled DUI attorney can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your defense and then plot a strategy designed to minimize the impact a DUI has on your life. The sooner you start working with a DUI lawyer with significant experience, the better off you will be.
Concerned About a DUI Fine?
In Northern Virginia, Michael Pignone is the DUI lawyer you can trust with your defense. He has about 27 years of legal experience fighting to protect people’s rights. The Law Offices of Michael Pignone offer free consultations and are available 24/7 to answer your questions. Contact us to learn more about how Michael Pignone can take the load off your shoulders.