Virginia DUI and DWI Laws and Penalties

In Virginia, a DUI charge is a serious offense. If you’re convicted of a DUI, you could face penalties ranging from a fine all the way up to imprisonment. In most cases, you’ll have to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) even after your first offense. Understanding Virginia DUI laws is critical, especially if you’ve been charged with or convicted of a DUI. That being said, navigating the legal system can be complicated and overwhelming. While you should always consult your attorney for the most accurate information as it relates to your case, the following information should help familiarize you with Virginia DUI laws and the penalties you may be facing.

 

Is it Legal to Drive? BAC Levels and Legality in Virginia

 

In the state of Virginia, driving with a BAC, or blood alcohol content, of 0.08% or higher is never legal. That being said, there are some situations in which the limits are even lower.

 

  • Under 21 – If you’re under the age of 21, a BAC of 0.02% is illegal. Virginia has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving, so any measurable alcohol is considered illegal.
  • Under 18 – Drinking at all, let alone drinking and driving, under the age of 18 is not acceptable in the state of Virginia. If charges are filed, they will likely be handled in juvenile court.
  • Commercial Vehicle – If you’re driving a vehicle that requires a commercial license and you’re given a sobriety test, any level above 0.04% is considered illegal due to the nature of commercial driving.

Circumstantial DUI Laws in Virginia

 

Aside from age restrictions, there are other situations and circumstances that add to the penalties you might face for a DUI. These range from how many offense you’ve had previously to what your BAC was at the time of arrest. Here are some of the common penalties assigned to various scenarios under Virginia DUI law.

 

First Offense

 

In the state of Virginia, your first offense can lead to any combination of the following penalties.

 

  1. Fines ranging from $250 to $2,500.
  2. License Suspension that can last up to a year. You’ll receive an automatic one-year suspension if you refuse the BAC test.
  3. Imprisonment  that can last up to a year.
  4. IID Installation mandatory for at least six months with a restricted license.

Second Offense

 

After your second offense, you’ll be imposed to the following penalties.

 

  1. Fines ranging from $500 to $2,500.
  2. License Suspension of three years with an automatic three-year suspension for refusing the BAC test.
  3. Imprisonment lasting for up to a year.
  4. Mandatory IID Installation for at least six months with a restricted license.

Third Offense

 

If you receive your third DUI charge or conviction in Virginia, DUI laws state that you could face any combination of the following penalties.

 

  1. Fines ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.
  2. License suspended indefinitely.
  3. Imprisonment lasting from 90 days to five years.
  4. Mandatory IID Installation for at least six months with a restricted license.

Restricted Driving Privileges in Virginia

 

In Virginia, you might be able to have an IID installed with a restricted license in order to be able to have some driving privileges throughout your license suspension period. In most cases, this is only available if you tested with a BAC lower than 0.15%. You’ll also likely be restricted as to where you can go. In most cases, you can travel to and from school, work, your children’s activities, necessary appointments, and the like. The IID must be installed in every vehicle you drive, and you must keep up with the maintenance appointments in order to continue to qualify for the restricted license. Consult with your attorney for the most accurate information regarding your eligibility for restricted driving privileges.

 

IID Installation in Virginia

 

If you’ve been convicted of a DUI in Virginia, you’ll likely get a court order telling you that you have to install one. In other situations, you might get a letter from the DMV letting you know that you’re eligible for a restricted license. In either case, you must follow the procedures given to you to the letter in order to keep your restricted driving privileges and have all of your progress counted.

 

Only a state-approved vendor can conduct your IID installation, train you on its use, report to the DMV, and monitor your progress. It’s important to verify that the vendor of your choice is state-approved and registered before you have your ignition interlock installed in Virginia.

 

While the information reflected here is current as of this writing, laws do change from time to time and unique circumstances may change the penalties and requirements that you’re subject to.