There are few charges more damaging to someone’s life than those involving driving while under the influence, and if you recently received a DUI, our Richmond DUI lawyer is here. Continue reading and contact James A. Bullard Jr. P.C. today to learn more about the consequences of DUI charges in Virginia and how we can help you fight them.
Do I Need a Richmond DUI Lawyer?
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you have a lot on the line, including jail time, loss of license, high fines, and more, which is why it is so important that you speak with an experienced Richmond criminal defense attorney as soon as you can.
First-Offense DUI Consequences in Virginia
Even if this is only your first offense, there is a very good chance that you will face the following penalties:
- A potential 12-month jail sentence
- You may receive a 1-year license suspension
- A fine between $250 and $2,500
- To get a restricted license, you will have to use the ignition interlock device for at least 6 months.
Second-Offense DUI Consequences in Virginia
If you are charged with a second DUI within 10 years of the first, you can expect to face even harsher penalties. Some of the penalties for a second-offense DUI in Virginia are as follows:
- A minimum of 10 days in jail or a maximum of 12 months in jail
- You may receive a 3-year license suspension
- A fine between $500 and $2,500
- You will most likely have to use the ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least 6 months
Third-Offense DUI Consequences in Virginia
If you’ve been charged with a third DUI in Virginia, you must hire an experienced Richmond DUI lawyer at once. Your license is on the line. The penalties for a third DUI in Virginia are as follows:
- A minimum of 90 days in jail or a maximum of 5 months in jail
- Potential permanent revocation of your driver’s license
- A fine between $1,000 and $2,500
Penalties for Underage DUIs in Virginia
Virginia has a zero-tolerance law in place, which means that anyone under the age of 21 can be charged with a DUI if they have a blood alcohol concentration of .02% or higher while operating a motor vehicle. If you are charged with an underage DUI, you will face a potential $2,500 fine (or 50 hours of community service). You will also lose your driver’s license immediately. If this is your first offense, law enforcement will keep your license for 7 days; for a second offense, 60 days; and for a third offense, until the date of your trial.
Sometimes, underage drivers are given the opportunity to complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, which will allow them to drive to work and school while they serve their license suspension. You should note that to receive a restricted license, you must also install the ignition interlock device in your vehicle as well.
Penalties for Refusing to Submit to Chemical Testing
The Commonwealth of Virginia has an implied consent law in place, which essentially states that when an officer suspects an individual of driving while under the influence and asks the person to take a breath test, that person is required to do so; it is unlawful to refuse. The penalties for refusing chemical testing in Virginia are as follows:
- First Offense: You will face a 1-year license suspension.
- Second Offense: You will face a 3-year license suspension.
- Third Offense: You will face a 3-year license suspension.
Penalties for a DUI With a CDL in Virginia
When someone drives a commercial vehicle for a living, they should understand that they have even more on the line when they receive a DUI in Virginia. While the standard BAC for DUIs in Virginia is .08%, if you drive a commercial vehicle, you only need a BAC of .04% to receive a DUI. For a first offense DUI with a CDL, you will face up to one year in jail and a potential $2,500 fine. You will also have your commercial driver’s license disqualified for one year, though you may be eligible for reinstatement after the year has elapsed. For a second DWI with a CDL, you can expect to face permanent revocation of your CDL.
Common Defenses Against DUI Charges
Fortunately, there are several potential defenses against DUI charges, however, only an experienced Richmond DUI lawyer can effectively implement those defenses. Some of the most common defenses used are as follows:
- There was no probable cause for arrest
- The breathalyzer was defective
- The breath test results were improperly analyzed
- Your constitutional rights were violated
- There was no reasonable suspicion to stop you
- The officer improperly administered a field sobriety test
Our goal is to have your charges mitigated or potentially dropped. If your charges are not dropped, we can fight for a “wet reckless” plea bargain, which is essentially a reckless driving charge that involves alcohol. As long as you complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, you should face the same penalties that a reckless driving charge entails, which are less severe than that of a DUI.
Contact a Richmond DUI Lawyer
The bottom line is that after receiving a DUI in Virginia, the most important thing you can do is retain the services of an experienced Richmond DUI lawyer who can assess the circumstances of your charges and determine the best path forward. Contact James A. Bullard, Jr. P.C. today to schedule your initial consultation with our firm.