While some of the DUI penalties in Virginia appear a bit more lenient, do not be fooled. Virginia has earned the coveted 5-star rating for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for a reason, because it takes drinking and driving very seriously. While you may not pay heavy fines, you will end up in jail and can expect to lose your license for significant time.
Virginia DUI by the Numbers (based on 2012 overall numbers)
Virginia has had an impressive decade in reducing drinking and driving fatalities in the state. However, like most other states, drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15+ continue to be a problem as both repeat offenders and drivers in fatal crashes:
- 28,908 total DUI arrests (139 from under-18 drivers)
- 211 total alcohol-related fatalities (25 from under-21 drivers)
- 35.9 percent decrease in alcohol-related fatalities
- 57.7 percent decrease in alcohol-related fatalities for under-21 drivers
- 85.3 percent of fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15+
- 85.7 percent of repeat offenders had a BAC of .15+
DUI First Offense Penalties in Virginia
At first glance, first time offenders may think they are getting a break in the state of Virginia for a DUI arrest. However, looking deeper into the penalties as well as repeat offenses, Virginia is extremely tough on DUI drivers. Below are the fines and penalties as of this writing:
- Minimum fine of $250
- Mandatory IID required if BAC is .15 or higher
- Minimum five days in jail
- One-year mandatory license suspension
Virginia is an implied consent state. First time offenders refusing to take mandated chemical tests will automatically have their license suspended for a period of one year (even if they take their case to court and win). Repeat offenders face a three-year suspension of the refusal happens within 10 years of a prior DUI)
Should You Hire a DUI Attorney if Arrested and Charged in Virginia?
If you are arrested in Virginia for a DUI, you should seriously consider hiring a DUI attorney to help you fight the charges. A quick look at first time offense penalties may have you mistakenly thinking you are getting off fairly easy even if you are convicted. But, realize most of the penalties stated are merely minimums, with the maximum being left up to the judge. For more information about Virginia DUI attorneys, please visit fill out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation Form.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.