As one can imagine, obtaining a DUI charge in another state is usually more expensive and stressful than getting charged in your home state. You will have to retain the services of a lawyer licensed to practice in the state where you got arrested, and you will likely have to travel there to appear in court. If a Virginia court convicts you of DUI, you may face serious consequences as an out-of-state driver. Give our Richmond DUI lawyer a call today to learn more.
Your driver’s license may get suspended
Under Virginia Code section 46.2-398, Virginia can suspend your right to drive in Virginia. However, Virginia is part of the interstate driver’s license compact, which means that if you obtain a DUI out of state, your home state may find out about your DUI and suspend your license.
Note that all but 4 states have signed the interstate driver’s license compact or an equivalent (Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Tennessee.) States that have signed the interstate compact must:
- Report a traffic violation to the driver’s home state’s government
- Treat an out-of-state offense as if it had occurred in the home state
- Penalize you for an out-of-state offense if the home state has a similar offense on its books
You will need to appear in a Virginia Court
A DUI is typically considered a misdemeanor in Virginia, however, under some aggravating circumstances, it may be regarded as a felony. In either scenario, the court may need you to appear in person for your arraignment, which is the hearing during which the court will present the charges against you and ask you if you can afford to hire a lawyer or if you need one selected.
If you fail to attend your arraignment, the judge may administer a bench warrant against you. This does not necessarily mean law enforcement is going to hunt you down. However, if you get pulled over–even outside of Virginia–the warrant will be observable to the officer and they may arrest you on the spot and hold you for extradition.
Virginia has extremely harsh penalties for DUI. In addition to potential jail time and the certainty of heavy fines, even first-time offenders must install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) if they want to keep driving after their DUI.
What should I do if I obtained an out-of-state DUI?
Each state has its own laws and court procedures. Because of this, you should retain the services of a criminal defense lawyer who is licensed to practice in Virginia if that’s where you have been charged with DUI. It’s even best to find a lawyer who frequently handles DUI cases in the court where your case is being processed because they will be familiar with the prosecutor and the judge. Our legal team can help. Give us a call today to learn more.
Contact Our Firm
Led by Attorney James A. Bullard Jr., we handle various criminal and traffic cases, including reckless driving tickets, DUIs, violent crimes, drug crimes, and so much more. Contact James A. Bullard Jr. P.C. today to get started on your defense.