How Does Virginia Law Deal with Repeat DUI Offenders?
Any person who driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Virginia places other people and property in serious risk of harm. This risk increases exponentially for repeat offenders who regularly engage in this type of dangerous driving behavior, including those with high levels of blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). To deter people from committing DUIs repeatedly, Virginia law imposes an escalating penalty structure.
Criminal Penalties for Repeat DUI
The criminal penalty structure for repeat DUI offenders appears under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270. This section provides the following punishment scheme for repeat DUI offenders:
- Second Offense (within 5-10 years) — Leads to Class 1 misdemeanor charges with a minimum of 10 to 20 days in jail and at least $500 in fines;
- Second Offense (BAC = 0.15-0.20) — Leads to Class 1 misdemeanor charges with a minimum of 10 days in jail and at least $500 in fines;
- Second Offense (BAC = 0.20+) — Leads to Class 1 misdemeanor charges with a minimum of 20 days in jail and at least $500 in fines;
- Third Offense (within 5-10 years) — Leads to Class 6 felony with a minimum of 90 days to six months in prison and at least $1,000 in fines; or
- Fourth or Subsequent Offense (within 10 years) — Leads to Class 6 felony charges with a minimum of one year in prison and at least $1,000 in fines.
License Revocation for Repeat DUI
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-271, repeat DUI offenders face a mandatory period of driver’s license revocation. The applicable revocation period depends on the number of previous offenses, as outlined below.
- Second DUI Offense — The offender faces driver’s license revocation for a period of three years.
- Third or Subsequent DUI Offense — The offender faces indefinite revocation of driving privilege and is ineligible for a restricted driving permit.
Ignition Interlock Systems for Repeat DUI
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-271, repeat DUI offenders must install an ignition interlock system on their vehicle. These systems force the driver to register their BAC before starting their vehicle and at random intervals thereafter. If the driver registers a BAC above 0.02, the vehicle will not start. In order to regain driving privileges, repeat DUI offenders must demonstrate at least six months of clean driving history with an ignition interlock system installed on their vehicle.
Payment to Trauma Fund for Repeat DUI
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270.01, repeat DUI offenders must make a $50 payment to the Trauma Center Fund. This fund helps the Commonwealth mitigate the costs of providing emergency medical care as a result of DUI incidents.
Let Us Help You Today
If you have legal questions about DUI offenses under Virginia law, it can be distinctly helpful to contact a licensed criminal defense attorney. The Virginia DUI defense attorneys at Simms Showers LLP have many years of combined legal experience defending against criminal charges, including those related to DUI. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.