If you have been charged with a DUI in Virginia for the first time, it is essential that you understand the basics of DUI law and what the future may hold for you. Furthermore, it is in your best interests to reach out to a dedicated attorney for defending your rights throughout each step of the process.
What is Virginia’s DUI Standard for First-Time Offenders?
Per Virginia Law, you are considered to be driving under the influence if your blood alcohol content is .08 percent or higher. That being said, if your ability to operate the motor vehicle is impaired, you could still be considered as driving under the influence even if your blood alcohol content is below this threshold.
A first-time DUI offense is a class 1 misdemeanor with a corresponding fine that ranges from $250 to $2500. If you have a minor in the car at the time of your arrest, your penalty will increase. If convicted, the state will suspend your license for one year. To have your license reinstated, you must complete a mandatory school safety and education program at your own expense.
You do not need to be driving a car for the state to convict you of a DUI for the first time. Virginia law considers someone to be legally “driving” when they are operating a motor vehicle, boat or watercraft.
For first-time Virginia DUI offenders, Virginia does not impose a mandatory sentence of jail time unless the offender has a minor in the car with them and shows a blood alcohol content of over .15. In this case, the court will impose a mandatory minimum sentence of five days of jail time. If the offender shows a blood alcohol content of over .20, the court will impose a sentence of at least ten days in jail.
If your alcohol test came in at .15 or higher, a judge may sentence you to five days in jail upon conviction. The state will also require you to install and use an ignition interlock device upon reinstatement of your driver’s license.
Virginia courts can use the facts surrounding your first-time offense and sentencing to determine your sentence for any subsequent DUI charges that occur within ten years of the first.
What Are My Rights As a First-Time DUI Offender?
The state prosecutors have the burden of providing that you were driving under the influence. The police must have a reasonable suspicion to pull you over and must have probable cause to believe that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the police did not meet these standards, any evidence they gathered might be inadmissible against you in court. They also must administer any alcohol tests in a manner that upholds due process, or a court may throw out that evidence as well.
Let Our Dedicated Team Assist You Today
It is vital that you have aggressive representation for your first DUI charge. As we’ve discussed above, the terms of your sentencing can affect you for years after the incident.
Our Fairfax DUI/DWI attorneys have over 40 years of experience representing first-time Virginia DUI offenders and are familiar with all Northern Virginia and Washington. D.C. courts. Do not hesitate to contact us at Whitestone Young, P.C. today to learn more about how we can help you