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4 FAQs On DUI/DWI Crimes In Virginia

DrunkDriving

Commonly referred to as drunk driving, it is a criminal offense to operate a vehicle in Virginia while intoxicated or impaired. It does not matter whether a person drives under the influence (DUI) or drives while impaired (DWI). The penalties for DUI/DWI are the same under Virginia law.

  1. What Qualifies as DUI/DWI in Virginia?

Code of Virginia Section 18.2-266 establishes the laws against DUI/DWI. This section makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle:

  • With a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more;
  • While under the influence of alcohol;
  • While impaired by any drug, narcotic or otherwise;
  • While impaired by any combination of drugs;
  • While impaired by a combination of alcohol and any drug(s);
  • With a blood concentration of 0.02 milligrams of cocaine;
  • With a blood concentration of 0.1 milligrams of methamphetamine;
  • With a blood concentration of 0.01 milligrams of PCP; or
  • With a blood concentration of 0.1 milligrams of MDMA.

Under Section 18.2-266, impairment is not a strictly defined standard. It applies whenever a driver consumes a substance that hinders their ability to operate a motor vehicle in a safe and controlled manner.

  1. What are the Virginia Penalties for Misdemeanor DUI/DWI?

Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270 furnishes the penalties for misdemeanor DUI/DWI. But the misdemeanor version of this offense only applies to the first or second violation.

The first time a person commits DUI/DWI in Virginia, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction can result in $250 to $2,500 in criminal fines and up to 12 months in jail.

If a person commits a second DUI/DWI within 10 years, it remains a Class 1 misdemeanor. But the punishment range increases. A conviction can result in $500 to $2,500 in criminal fines as well as a minimum of five days and a maximum of 12 months in jail.

If a person commits a second DUI/DWI within five years, it remains a Class 1 misdemeanor. But once again, the punishment range increases. A conviction can result in $500 to $2,500 in criminal fines as well as a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 12 months in jail.

  1. What are the Virginia Penalties for Misdemeanor DUI/DWI?

Section 18.2-270 also details the penalties for felony DUI/DWI. The felony version of this offense typically applies to repeat offenders on the third or subsequent violation.

If a person commits a third DUI/DWI within 10 years, it is a Class 6 felony. A conviction can result in $1,000 to $2,500 in criminal fines as well as a minimum of three months and a maximum of five years in prison.

If a person commits a third DUI/DWI within five years, it remains a Class 6 felony. But the punishment range increases. A conviction can result in $1,000 to $2,500 in criminal fines as well as a minimum of six months and a maximum of five years in prison.

If a person commits a fourth or subsequent DUI/DWI within 10 years, it remains a Class 6 felony. But once again, the punishment range increases. A conviction can result in $1,000 to $2,500 in criminal fines as well as a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of five years in prison.

  1. Does Virginia Require License Suspension for DUI/DWI?

Code of Virginia Section 18.2-271 describes the requirement of license suspension for DUI/DWI offenses. Under this section, DUI/DWI offenders are subject to the following suspension or revocation periods:

  • First Offense — 12-month suspension of driving privileges;
  • Second Offense — 36-month revocation of driving privileges; or
  • Third or Subsequent Offense — Permanent revocation of driving privileges.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you have legal questions about DUI/DWI offenses under Virginia law, we can help. Contact the Leesburg drunk driving lawyers at Simms Showers today for a consultation.

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