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Virginia First DUI Offense



In Virginia, as in all 50 states, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. If your BAC is over this legal limit, you may be charged with driving under the influence, commonly referred to as DUI.

The penalties for driving under the influence depend on several factors. One of these factors is the number of DUI offenses you have had in the past. In Virginia, a first DUI offense is a Class I misdemeanor. For a first DUI offense, the judge will order you to pay fines ranging from $250 to $2,500.

You may also be sentenced to up to one year in jail, but there is no mandatory minimum jail time. However, if your BAC was between 0.15 and 0.20 percent, there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days. If your BAC was .21 percent or higher when you were pulled over, this mandatory minimum jail sentence increases to ten days. These mandatory jail times for elevated BACs double for DUI 2nd convictions.

Immediately after your drunk-driving arrest, your driver’s license will be suspended for seven days. This is called an administrative suspension and is mandated by the Code of Virginia . If you are convicted of DUI in criminal court, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year.

For many first-time offenders, a restricted license may be granted. This restricted license allows you to drive to and from school, work, your court-ordered alcohol safety course, and to medical facilities. There are some judges in Virginia who require you to wait 30 days before a restricted license may be granted.

These are merely the criminal consequences. In addition to these penalties, you can expect your automobile insurance rates to soar, if the company does not cancel your coverage altogether. Your employment may also be at risk if your employer requires a clean driving and/or criminal record.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, you should immediately contact an attorney. As you can see, even a first DUI offense is a serious matter.

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