Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is dangerous and carries severe penalties if you’re caught. A driver arrested for multiple DUI offenses can potentially lose his license, his insurance coverage, and even his freedom for several years—and if the offenses were committed in a time period close to one another, the legal consequences can be even more severe.
Potential Penalties for Multiple DUI Convictions
While penalties for a first DUI conviction in Virginia will typically only cause inconvenience and financial hardship for a year or less, possible consequences for a second, third, or fourth DUI conviction could potentially impact an offender for the rest of his life. Consider the following penalties a driver may face for a:
- Second DUI. A second DUI conviction is a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries a fine of at least $500 and mandatory driver's license revocation for three years. If your two offenses occurred within a 10-year period, you’ll spend at least 10 days in jail, and state law requires you to have an ignition interlock device on any vehicle you own or operate in order to have your driving privileges reinstated. The mandatory sentence increases to 20 days if your previous DUI happened within the past five years, with a maximum of a one-year jail sentence. Finally, you will be ordered to attend and complete the Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) at your own expense, and you’ll remain on probation under ASAP for three years.
- Third DUI. If you are arrested for a third DUI and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, your driver's license will be suspended until trial. Conviction for a third DUI is a Class 6 felony that carries a mandatory minimum $1,000 fine and mandatory driver’s license revocation indefinitely. If your third conviction occurs within five years of a previous offense, you will be sentenced to a minimum of six months in jail. If your third DUI offense occurs within ten years of another, you must serve a minimum 90-day jail term, face indefinite driver’s license revocation, and face the permanent loss of any vehicle you own.
- Fourth DUI. A fourth DUI offense is charged as a felony and begins with the immediate suspension of the offender’s driver’s license until trial. If convicted, the offender will face between one and five years in prison, fines between $1000 and $2500, a mandatory fine paid to the Virginia Trauma Center Fund, and indefinite loss of driving privileges. If the fourth DUI occurs within ten years of a previous conviction, the offender may have to forfeit the car involved in the offense, and the felony will be entered on the offender’s permanent criminal record. There are additional penalties for a fourth offense in 10 years if there was a minor in the vehicle, including increased jail time and higher fines.
A DUI Defense Lawyer Will Ensure You’re Treated Fairly in Court
Court-ordered punishments are often just the tip of the iceberg after a DUI conviction. Loss of a driver’s license can make it difficult for an offender to get to work, resulting in lost wages, unemployment, or forced retirement. The contents of a criminal record can be used against you when applying for a new job, fighting for child custody, or if you are arrested again in the future.
With so much at stake, it’s important to have a DUI defense attorney fighting on your behalf. There are many different defenses a skilled attorney can use to reduce or eliminate the charges against you, especially if the arresting officer:
- Did not have a valid reason to pull over your vehicle
- Did not have probable cause to arrest you
- Incorrectly administered field sobriety tests
- Used a breathalyzer that was not calibrated or not operated properly
- Violated your rights in any way
Our firm understands the stress, worry, and consequences that come with multiple DUI charges. You can be sure that we will work diligently to secure the best outcome possible, as well as be available to answer any questions you might have about your case. Please call us to schedule a free consultation, or use our online contact form, and a member of our team will call you as soon as possible.