DUI/DWI Offenses

Driving Under the Influence cases can be very complicated.  Each case is unique. 

Whether you have been charged with DUI in Stafford County, Spotsylvania County, City of Fredericksburg, City of Richmond or any other jurisdiction in Virginia, make sure you have an attorney who understands the laws and procedures associated with a Driving Under the Influence charge.  Jonathan David has defended countless clients in his 18 years of practice.  You can always call either his Richmond or Fredericksburg office to schedule a free in office or telephone consultation.  Below is a description of what typically happens when you are stopped and then arrested for DUI.  However, once again, each case is unique and may have unusual or different aspects to it.  This is only furnished for informational purposes.  It is not to be construed as legal advice.  If you have questions, please free to call to discuss your case. 


VIRGINIA’S DUI LAW:

§ 18.2-266. Driving motor vehicle, engine, etc., while intoxicated, etc. It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train (i) while such person has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more by weight by volume or 0.08 grams or more per 210 liters of breath as indicated by a chemical test administered as provided in this article, (ii) while such person is under the influence of alcohol, (iii) while such person is under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature, or any combination of such drugs, to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely, (iv) while such person is under the combined influence of alcohol and any drug or drugs to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely, or (v) while such person has a blood concentration of any of the following substances at a level that is equal to or greater than: (a) 0.02 milligrams of cocaine per liter of blood, (b) 0.1 milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood, (c) 0.01 milligrams of phencyclidine per liter of blood, or (d) 0.1 milligrams of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine per liter of blood. A charge alleging a violation of this section shall support a conviction under clauses (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v).


For the purposes of this article, the term "motor vehicle" includes mopeds, while operated on the public highways of this Commonwealth.

The penalty for a conviction of Driving Under the Influence, 1st Offense: Class 1 misdemeanor.  A first time offense is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or up to a fine of $2500, either or both.

Upon conviction for a first time offense, Virginia law requires entry into VASAP (Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program) and a one-year revocation of the defendant's driver’s license.  If the defendant is licensed prior to conviction, a restricted license may be available.  The defendant must "move" the court for the restricted license, but the court is under no obligation to grant one. If the judge allows a restricted license, the limitations are often:

  • Driving to and from VASAP (Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program)
  • Driving to and from work
  • Driving during work hours for work purposes only
  • Driving to and from school
  • Driving to and from medical treatment

If someone is convicted of Driving Under the Influence and is granted a restricted license, that person should not abuse the privilege.  Specifically, if one were granted a restricted license and is stopped driving home from work with groceries in the car, that person could be charged with a criminal offense of driving outside of their restricted license.  When a court issues a restricted license, the licensee should make sure they understand the restrictions.

You are presumed to be intoxicated if you have a blood alcohol content of .08 or more. If you are charged with Driving Under the Influence, your driver's license will be administratively suspended for seven days immediately after arrest. This seven day suspension is separate from the one year license revocation you will receive if you are convicted. You may appeal this suspension in court.  Please note that the administrative suspension may be longer (sixty days) or indefinite (until your case is resolved) if you are charged with Driving Under the Influence and you have prior convictions for Driving Under the Influence.

If you are charged with Driving Under the Influence and your blood alcohol content is high, should you be convicted, you should know that Virginia imposes mandatory minimum jail sentences.  For example, if you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence, 1st Offense with a blood alcohol content between .15 and .20 percent, you will be sentenced to a minimum, mandatory five days of in jail.  If your blood alcohol content is a .21 percent or higher, you will be sentenced to a minimum of ten days in jail.  The mandatory minimum sentences rise with subsequent convictions; for example, a person convicted of Driving Under the Influence, 2nd Offense within Five Years with a blood alcohol content of .15 would face a minimum of 30 days in jail (20 days mandatory minimum for the second offense within five years and 10 additional days for a blood alcohol content of .15).  A person convicted of Driving Under the Influence, 2nd Offense within Five to Ten Years with a blood alcohol content of .15 would face a minimum of 20 days in jail (10 days mandatory for the second offense within five to ten years and 10 days mandatory for the blood alcohol content of .15).  The minimum mandatory sentences depend on the number of prior convictions and the defendant’s blood alcohol content.  Please note that a conviction for Driving Under the Influence, 3rd Offense within Five to Ten Years is a felony and carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of at least 90 days in jail.

If you operate a motor vehicle on Virginia's public highways, you impliedly consent to have a sample of your blood or breath tested for alcohol content if you have been arrested for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence. You are required to take the test. If you unreasonably refuse to take the test, your license will be immediately suspended for seven days and it may be suspended for one year, without the possibility of a restricted license, whether or not you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence. If you are convicted of the Driving Under the Influence charge as well as the Refusal charge, the suspension period for refusing the test will be added to the DUI license suspension period.  For example, if one were to be charged with Refusal and Driving Under the Influence, 1st Offense, and subsequently convicted of both, then that person’s license would be suspended for one year on the Refusal conviction (with no restricted license) and then for another subsequent year on the Driving Under the Influence conviction (with a restricted license).

  • If you are under age 21 and you drive with a blood alcohol content of at least 0.02 percent but less than 0.08 percent, you can be fined at least $500 or ordered to perform 50 hours of community service as well as have your driver's license suspended for one year.
  • If your blood alcohol content is over .08, your penalties will be the same as a driver over 21 years of age.
  • If you are convicted of a Driving Under the Influence, you will be required to file an SR-22 (high risk insurance).  Your insurance rates will rise considerably from any Driving Under the Influence conviction.

If the driver is convicted of one of the above felony DUI scenarios in Virginia, the  penalties are serious.  Not only is the driver a convicted felon, but there is a mandatory sentence of 90 days of incarceration.  The maximum sentence can be up to five years of incarceration and a fine of $2,500.00.  There could be an indefinite suspension of your driver's license.  The driver's car can be seized. A DUI charge can also be a felony under two main circumstances. If a person has two prior DUI convictions within a ten-year period or the drunk-driving resulted in an accident where another person was seriously injured.