A 2nd, 3rd, or 4th DUI Conviction has Serious Consequences in Virginia
If you have a first-time DUI conviction, you probably know how hard it is to live with the consequences. Over time, those lessons you learned may fade, and you suddenly face charges for multiple DUI offenses. You will need a skilled Virginia multiple DUI attorney to protect your rights if that happens. Why? Because Virginia’s penalties for a first-time misdemeanor DUI are among the most severe in the country. Prosecutors and judges take a dim view of repeat offenders, and under state law, the penalties become more severe with each additional conviction.
If a police officer has arrested you for DUI you are entitled to present the most powerful defense possible, even if you have prior convictions. Don’t let yourself be shamed into simply pleading guilty. Get help from an established and effective Virginia DUI attorney– it could be one of the most important decisions you ever make.
Virginia’s Look-Back Period
Whether a prosecutor charges you with a second, third, or subsequent DUI depends on how many DUI convictions you’ve had in the previous 10 years.
After the first-time DUI, the penalties for conviction are also determined by how much time has passed since your earlier conviction. With a second conviction within 10 years, you face a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail and a license suspension of three years. For a second conviction within 5 years, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is 20 days, and you can expect a minimum of three years of license suspension. The minimum mandatory jail time increases with each subsequent felony conviction, and the license suspension can be for an indefinite period of time.
Fight a DUI to Avoid Harsh Criminal Penalties
The best way to avoid a harsh criminal sentence is to beat the charges. That takes working with an experienced multiple DUI attorney in Virginia. At the Law Offices of Michael Pignone, we know how to evaluate DUIs and identify the most effective defense strategy.
Second and Third DUI Penalties
If you’re convicted of a second DUI, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor, the court can sentence you to:
- Up to 1 year in jail,
- Fines up to $2,500,
- 36-month driver’s license suspension,
- alcohol education classes, and
- Installation of an ignition interlock device.
A third DUI within 10 years is a Class 6 felony. If you’re convicted, a court can sentence you to:
- Up to 5 years in jail,
- Fines up to $2,500,
- Indefinite driver’s license suspension,
- Alcohol education classes,
- Installation of an ignition interlock device, once your ability to drive is restored, and
- Possible vehicle forfeiture.
It’s possible with any DUI to mitigate the consequences of a conviction. But it requires in-depth knowledge of Virginia DUI law and the court system. A Virginia DUI lawyer can help.
Felony DUI Charges
You can face a felony DUI if you have a third DUI within a 10-year period. However, you may face a felony DUI if you caused an accident while intoxicated that hurt or killed others.
Administrative License Suspension
Before you go to court for a second, third, or fourth DUI, you face an administrative driver license suspension. The police will take away your license if you have a BAC at or above the legal limit or if you refuse to submit to BAC testing after your arrest.
For most drivers, the legal limit is 0.08%. If you’re under 21 years old, the legal limit is 0.02%. For CDL drivers in commercial vehicles, their limit is 0.04%.
For a second DUI offense or refusal, the initial suspension is 60 days or until your trial. For a third or additional DUI offense or refusal, the suspension lasts until the day of your trial.
Do I Need an Attorney for the Multiple DUI Offenses?
You have the right to represent yourself if you want. But why would you want to take the chance? You have so much riding on the outcome of your multiple DUI charge that it’s too risky for you to try to handle this without legal help. Instead, contact our Virginia multiple DUI lawyers for experienced and aggressive representation. You stand a better chance to achieve a favorable result if you have a skilled criminal defense lawyer by your side.
For How Long Can My First DUI Be Used Against Me?
Virginia law allows prosecutors to look back 10 years from the date of your most recent DUI charge. The prosecutor could bring a second, third, or subsequent DUI charge if you have any DUI convictions in 10 years.
Your first DUI conviction could come back to haunt you if you pick up a DUI in another state. For example, Massachusetts laws contain a lifetime look back on DUI charges. That means you could pick up a multiple DUI offense and face strict punishment, even jail time if the law allows prosecutors to use your prior convictions against you.
What Defenses Do I Have?
Each DUI case turns on its own set of facts, which makes it different from others. That’s why we can’t say exactly what defenses will or will not work in your case until our Virginia Multiple DUI Lawyer reviews your case with you. However, we’ve learned from experience that similar issues arise in many DUI cases.
One of the most critical issues in a DUI defense revolves around how your police encounter started. If the police violated your right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, then you might have a chance to get your case dismissed before going to trial.
If the police didn’t violate your rights, you could elect to go to trial. At trial, you could fight the evidence the police gathered. For example, you could fight the reliability of the chemical test if you took one.
You could also argue that the field sobriety tests you took are unfair, and the jury should disregard your performance on them.
These are just two examples of what a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer could argue on your behalf.
Will I Go To Jail?
Having multiple offenses increases your chances of going to jail. You can serve up to one year in jail for a second offense DUI. You could also have a Class 6 felony charge. The most time you can serve is five years in prison.
Serving any period of incarceration could be devastating to you and your family. That’s why selecting a highly trained criminal defense attorney is one of the most important decisions you can make.
Multiple DUI Convictions Attorney Serving Fairfax, Fauquier & Prince William County
Avoiding these severe penalties and loss of driving privileges requires an insightful and determined approach. By working with a Virginia multiple DUI lawyer who has many years of experience and a proven track record of success, your chances of having the charges dropped or reduced are far better.
Call the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone for a confidential consultation and get your case evaluated. It may be that your case could be dismissed. There is no way to discover the flaws and errors in the prosecutor’s case without a full analysis of what happened, the evidence, how it was obtained, the police stop, witness statements, police reports and any other evidence, including breath and blood testing as well as the arrest procedure.
Your freedom and ability to legally drive in the future could depend upon the skill with which your case is defended.
Contact our Virginia multiple DUI lawyers if you have prior convictions and are facing new DUI charges. Our extensive experience, determination, and readiness to fight for our clients might make a difference for you. Contact us today before it’s too late.