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How Does Misdemeanor DUI Differ From Felony DUI In Virginia?

DUI9

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime in Virginia. Any person who drives after consuming alcohol, drugs, or other substances can face DUI charges. The key is impairment. If a person consumes substances and loses the capability to drive safely and legally as a result, they are considered impaired. When that happens, DUI charges are likely to follow.

Unlike other jurisdictions, Virginia does not feature aggravated DUI laws. Instead, Virginia separates misdemeanor and felony versions of DUI based on the circumstances of the offense. And as explained in more detail below, the penalties become much more severe for felony DUI offenses.

How Does Virginia Penalize Misdemeanor DUI?

The penalties for misdemeanor DUI appear under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270. This section makes it a misdemeanor offense to commit DUI for a first time or a second time within 10 years. But the penalties fluctuate based on several factors, including the length of time between offenses and the level of blood-alcohol concentration (BAC).

The penalties for misdemeanor DUI are as follows:

  • First Offense — Class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum of $250 in criminal fines;
  • First Offense (BAC = 0.15+) — Class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum of five to 10 days in jail;
  • Second Offense (within 10 years) — Class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum of $500 in criminal fines and 10 days in jail;
  • Second Offense (BAC = 0.15+) — Class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum of $500 in criminal fines and 10 to 20 days in jail; or
  • Second Offense (within 5 years) — Class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum of $500 in criminal fines and 20 days in jail.

How Does Virginia Penalize Felony DUI?

The penalties for felony DUI also appear under Section 18.2-270. This section makes it a felony offense to commit DUI for a third, fourth, or subsequent time within 10 years.

The penalties for felony DUI are as follows:

  • Third Offense (within 10 years) — Class 6 felony with a mandatory minimum of $1,000 in criminal fines and 90 days in prison;
  • Third Offense (within 5 years) — Class 6 felony with a mandatory minimum of $1,000 in criminal fines and 180 days in prison; or
  • Fourth or Subsequent Offense (within 10 years) — Class 6 felony with a mandatory minimum of $1,000 in criminal fines and 12 months in prison.

Furthermore, Section 18.2-270 imposes a vehicle seizure requirement for felony DUI offenses. If a person owns their vehicle and uses it to commit felony DUI, that vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you have legal questions about misdemeanor or felony DUI in Virginia, it’s in your best interests to contact a skilled Leesburg criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP are prepared to help you today.

SOURCES:

law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title18.2/chapter7/section18.2-266/

law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title18.2/chapter7/section18.2-270/

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