A DUI is a serious traffic offense that should never be taken lightly, but sometimes the penalties aren’t accurate. When you’ve been charged with a DUI but are receiving unfair charges, you should consult with a Virginia DUI attorney to make sure you’re fairly represented according to Virginia DUI law.

Work with an experienced Virginia DUI lawyer to help build your DUI case. If you were unfairly convicted for drunk driving or require some other form of DUI defense, Virginia DUI lawyers can represent you. To find out more information about DUI-DWI litigation, contact our law firm for a consultation. If you need a Manassas DUI lawyer, a Fairfax DUI lawyer or a Prince William County DUI lawyer, reach out to the Law Offices Of Michael A. Pignone now.

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What to do After You Get a DUI?

Getting a DUI for the first time can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. With an attorney’s help, you can understand what to do after you’ve been charged with a DUI. Steps you should take after getting a DUI in Virginia include the following:        

Photo of a Man Drinking While Driving

Contact an Attorney

One of the first things you should do after getting a DUI in Virginia is to contact an attorney. A DUI conviction can have serious consequences, and an attorney can help you understand your rights and the legal process.           

Attend Your Arraignment

The next step is to attend your arraignment. This is where you will be formally charged with a DUI, and you will have the opportunity to enter a plea with your attorney’s help.

Schedule a DMV Hearing

Your attorney should also schedule a DMV hearing within seven days of your arrest. If you do not schedule a DMV hearing, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended.

Gather Evidence

A dedicated attorney can help you gather evidence to support your case, including police reports, witness statements, your blood test, and any video footage of the incident.

Consider a Plea Bargain

Depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. This could result in a reduced sentence or lesser charges.  

Prepare for Trial

If your case goes to trial, your attorney will help you prepare by gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and developing a strategy for your defense.    

Attend Sentencing

When you are found guilty or enter a plea, you will need to attend sentencing. The judge will determine your sentence, which may include fines, probation, or even jail time.

Comply with Court Orders

Once you have been sentenced, you must comply with all court orders. This may include completing a DUI education program, attending counseling, or performing community service.    

Restore Your Driver’s License

After your sentence is complete, you will need to take steps to restore your driver’s license. This may include paying fines and meeting other requirements.   

Penalties for a DUI in Virginia

The penalties for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) in Virginia can be severe and can vary depending on several factors, including your blood alcohol content (BAC) and whether you have prior DUI convictions.   

First Offense

  • Fine of up to $2,500
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to one year
  • Possible jail time of up to 12 months with a minimum of  5-day jail sentence if the BAC is .15 or higher
  • Mandatory alcohol safety action program
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in some cases

Second Offense

  • Fine of up to $2,500
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to three years
  • Mandatory minimum jail time of 20 days with a minimum of a10-day jail sentence if the BAC is .15 or higher
  • Mandatory alcohol safety action program
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) if necessary

Third Offense

  • Felony charge
  • Fine of up to $2,500
  • Permanent driver’s license revocation
  • Mandatory minimum jail time of 90 days               
  • Mandatory alcohol safety action program 
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) if required

Additional Penalties:

For each DUI conviction, there is an additional $50 fee imposed to support trauma centers in Virginia. In some cases, the court may also order community service, restitution, or other penalties.

Statistics of DUI Age Group

Source: thezebra.com

DUI Statistics in Virginia

Here are some DUI statistics for Virginia:

  • According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 6,624 alcohol-related crashes in Virginia in 2020, resulting in 272 fatalities and 3,986 injuries.
  • In Virginia, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08%, and if you are under 21 years old, the legal limit is 0.02%.
  • According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 14,105 DUI convictions, a 24.4% decrease from 2019.
Infographic of Drunk Driving Fatalities by State

Source: alcohol.org

Why Do You Need to Hire a Virginia DUI Lawyer?

To get the best legal outcome, hire a Virginia DUI lawyer.  A Virginia DUI lawyer has extensive knowledge of the DUI laws and court procedures in Virginia. They can use this expertise to defend you against the charges and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process. Your lawyer can evaluate the specific circumstances of your case and identify any potential defenses or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. They can also negotiate plea bargains on your behalf, which may result in a reduced sentence or lesser charges.      

Photo Representing Drunk Driving

How Would My Attorney Help Me Reduce My Charges?

Your attorney will employ a variety of methods to help drop or reduce unfair charges. This includes the following:

Challenging the Stop

In Virginia, a police officer must have probable cause to pull you over. If the officer lacked probable cause, your attorney can challenge the stop and argue that any evidence obtained after the stop should be suppressed, potentially leading to a dismissal of the charges.

Challenging the Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are notoriously unreliable, and an experienced DUI attorney can challenge the validity of these tests. They can argue that other factors, such as poor lighting or uneven pavement, may have impacted the test results, leading to inaccurate conclusions.                  

Challenging the Breathalyzer Test

Breathalyzer tests are commonly used in DUI cases, but they can be challenged on several grounds. For example, your attorney can argue that the machine was not calibrated correctly, or  that the administering officer did not follow proper procedures, leading to an inaccurate reading.              

Arguing Insufficient Evidence

If the prosecution’s case is weak, your attorney can argue that the evidence against you is insufficient to support a conviction, potentially leading to a dismissal of the charges.     

Arguing Violations of Your Rights

When the police violated your constitutional rights during the arrest or investigation, your attorney can argue that the charges should be dismissed as a result.    

Plea Bargaining

While not a dismissal, your attorney can negotiate with the prosecution for a reduced charge, such as reckless driving, that carries less severe penalties.        

How Much Will My DUI Cost?

Depending on what happened when you were arrested, you may be dealt any of the following penalties:

Fines

In Virginia, fines for a DUI conviction can range from $250 to $2,500.

Court Costs

Court costs associated with a DUI conviction in Virginia can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Legal Fees

If you hire a DUI attorney to represent you, you will incur legal fees. The cost of legal representation can vary widely depending on the attorney’s experience and the complexity of the case.

Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP)

In Virginia, individuals convicted of DUI must complete an Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) at their own expense. The cost of the program varies depending on the length of the program and other factors.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

If you are convicted of a DUI in Virginia, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. The cost of installing and maintaining an IID can be several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the length of time you are required to have the device installed.                             

Driver’s License Suspension

The cost of reinstating your driver’s license can range from $145 to $220.

Insurance Costs

A DUI conviction can cause your car insurance rates to increase significantly.

Photo of a Man Drinking Alcohol While Driving

Common Questions And Answers For DUI Cases

Some common questions and answers that you may ask your attorney could include the following:

What happens if I refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Virginia?

If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Virginia, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for one year, regardless of whether you are convicted of DUI.          

Do I need a Virginia DUI attorney?

While it is not legally required to have a DUI attorney in Virginia, it is highly recommended. An experienced DUI attorney can help protect your rights and build a strong defense on your behalf.           

Can I get a restricted driver’s license after a DUI conviction in Virginia?

You may be eligible for a restricted driver’s license after a DUI conviction in Virginia. However, you will need to complete an Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) and install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle.           

What is the penalty for a first-time DUI offense in Virginia?

DUI penalties for a first-time DUI offense in Virginia can include fines, license suspension, and mandatory participation in an Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP).     

Can I expunge a DUI conviction from my record in Virginia?

DUI convictions cannot be expunged from your record in Virginia.

Talk to a Virginia criminal defense attorney today. We can  help you deal with drug offenses in addition to traffic violations. Reach out to the Law Offices Of MP now.