You WILL BE Sentenced to Jail Time For a DUI Conviction, But An Experienced DUI Attorney Can Possibly Keep You Out of Jail.
You are always innocent until proven guilty in our criminal justice system. The same goes for DUI charges. Once guilt is established through a guilty plea or after the trial (by jury or judge), your penalty will be determined by your state’s laws, aggravating circumstances (were you involved in a car accident while driving drunk), and your cooperation with the police.
Many states require a minimum jail time of at least a few days, even for your first DUI offense. Subsequent offenses may result in jail time of up to one year. However, in all states, a DUI is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to twelve months of jail time for the first offense.
In some cases, the punishment is more severe, especially if your blood alcohol concentration was well over the legal limit. If your BAC was above .15 or .20, then you are facing mandatory minimum jail terms of 5 days to 30 days. In other cases, your DUI may be considered a felony if the other driver was injured, or if it’s the third or fourth offense within 10 years.
You will also incur a fine for your DUI on top of jail time. It can be anywhere from $500 to $2,500 and depending on the circumstances surrounding your DUI. You will have to pay a fine and serve jail time for your DUI conviction.
Your Driver’s License
Your license will suspended from 1 year to 3 years if you are convicted of a DUI in Virginia. Sometimes the court will allow you to receive a Restricted License during your suspension so that you can drive to and from work. First offenses can bring about a license suspension of 12 months while others are for years. You may also have your license suspended if you refuse a breath, blood test at the police station.
In other cases, you may be permitted to drive on a hardship license, which allows you to drive to school, work, court-appointed community service, or medical appointments. In repeat offender cases, your car could be confiscated, your registration canceled, or an ignition interlock device could be installed in your vehicle.
You will have to undergo alcohol education and prevention programs, assessment for addiction, and treatment for abuse. Any of these alternatives might be recommended over jail time if you’re a first offender, or they could be combined with other penalties.
Being a minor won’t help matters any. Since you’re too young to drink alcohol legally, that’s a separate crime you can be charged with. Under-aged drinking while driving comes with more severe punishments when it comes to how long your license is suspended. The BAC limit for minors in Virginia is .02!
You may also suffer the ramifications of drunk driving in other areas of your life. Most employers won’t tolerate it, and you could lose your job—and it’ll be tough to find another one with a DUI on your record. Your insurance could raise your rates or cancel your policy because you are more of a risk to them now.
If you injured people as a result of your drunk driving, you could get sued in a civil suit by the victims and end up paying property damages to compensate for bodily injury. You may or may not go to jail, but the repercussions are severe.
Call the Johnson Law Firm to speak with an Experienced DUI Attorney
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