S & R Law Firm
Fairfax DUI Penalties Explained
DUI convictions in Fairfax carry the same penalties as DUIs in the rest of the state of Virginia, and that is to say they are harsh. While each case is different and the penalties you face will be based on the circumstances of your case, there are some general categories of penalties we can look at to get a sense of what you might face after a DUI. Although prosecutors throughout Virginia are known for their harsh approach to DUIs, having a good Fairfax DUI attorney on your side can often help you achieve a better outcome to your case than you would alone. If you want to consult with a lawyer and learn about your rights, S&R Law Firm, PLLC is experienced in helping Fairfax residents fight DUI charges and achieve the best possible result for their case.DUI Penalties in Virginia
As a general rule, the penalties you will face after a DUI conviction in Virginia will depend on how many prior DUI convictions are on your record. Your punishment will also significantly depend on the specific circumstances of your case, such as how much alcohol was in your blood (BAC), how fast you were driving, and whether anyone was injured.
Regardless of the specific penalties you face, a DUI conviction in Virginia will remain on your driving record for 11 years and on your criminal record forever. This is because in Virginia, DUI convictions cannot be expunged unless your case is dropped or dismissed. Sometimes a DUI lawyer in Fairfax can get this result, but because these cases are aggressively prosecuted, unless a major error occurred during the arrest process, a dismissal is often difficult to achieve.First Offense DUI Penalties in Fairfax
If it is your first DUI and you have no prior convictions, you may face a range of penalties. A first offense DUI is considered a class 1 misdemeanor in the state of Virginia, making it Virginia’s most serious misdemeanor charge. Jail time for a first offense can include up to 12 months in jail. In addition, you can expect a mandatory minimum fine of $250 and a maximum of $2500. You will also lose your driver’s license for one year. Again, the severity of your penalties depends on the specifics of your case.
In some cases, with the help of a lawyer, you will be able to obtain a restricted license with an ignition interlock device that you blow into to start your vehicle. You should work with an attorney to determine if you will qualify for a restricted license in your case; if so, when you will qualify; and what restrictions the court shall impose on your driving. If your BAC was low, you could also potentially have your charge reduced to “wet reckless,” which is still a DUI charge, but which allows you to retain your license. You could also face less jail time. These are just a few good examples of how working with a lawyer can help you keep your life on track after a DUI. If you need help with your first offense DUI, S&R Law Firm, PLLC has helped many Fairfax residents receive improved outcomes for their cases and we may be able to help you as well.Second Offense DUI Penalties in Fairfax
Like a first offense DUI, a second offense DUI in Fairfax is also considered a class 1 misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a second offense DUI, you can expect to spend between 10 days and 12 months in jail. If your second DUI happens within five years of your first, you will receive a minimum one-month jail sentence with no option for release before you have been in jail for 20 days. However, an experienced DUI attorney serving Fairfax can often help you get the one-month jail sentence reduced.
If the second offense occurs within five to 10 years of your first, you will receive a jail sentence of 30 days and will not be released until you have served 10 days. You will also pay a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $2500 in fines, depending on the circumstances of your case. The major area where the penalty for a second offense DUI significantly differs from that of a first offense is in regard to license suspension. Upon a second offense conviction, your license will be suspended for 3 years. In addition, you must use an ignition interlock device for 6 months after the restoration of your driver’s license.Third Offense DUI Penalties in Fairfax
The penalties for a third offense DUI in Fairfax are significantly harsher than those for a first or second offense. A third offense DUI in Virginia is considered a class 6 felony, which means you will spend between 90 days and 5 years in jail (with the possibility of serving in a state penitentiary) and pay a minimum fine of $1000 and a maximum of $2500. In addition, your license will be suspended indefinitely, you will be required to use an ignition interlock device for 6 months, and your vehicle can be seized.
It is important to note that all of these penalties are the minimum required by the state, however, if a judge believes your case warrants a harsher punishment, such as if you drove with an incredibly high blood alcohol or there was an accident involved, you may receive an even harsher punishment. In this case a lawyer is essential.
In many DUI cases, it is essential to work with a Fairfax DUI lawyer. They may be able to lessen your charges and fines, reduce the time you spend in jail, or help you get a restricted driver’s license so that you can still work and do other necessary activities that require a vehicle. While many people worry about how much a DUI lawyer costs, in reality the cost is often worth it when you want to keep your life on track. At minimum, consulting with a lawyer after your DUI is a good idea, as they can apprise you of your rights and tell you about potential outcomes for your case.
To find out more about how S&R Law Firm, PLLC can help, contact us for a free consultation at 703.273.6431.