Virginia DWI / DUI First Offense

Virginia classifies 1st Offense DUI and DWI offenses as Class 1 Misdemeanor criminal acts punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine between $250.00 and $2,500.00, at least one year of driver’s license suspension, probation, and alcohol education classes. The punishment increases significantly if you were arrested with a BAC of 0.15 or higher. All Northern Virginia police departments and courts – Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax – apply Virginia’s DUI laws and penalties to their fullest extent to first offense DUI cases.

Unlike other states, which treat First Offense DUI cases as less serious criminal or traffic offenses, Virginia codifies and treats all first offense DUI and DWI cases as criminal acts in the VA criminal law chapter.

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First Offense DUI and DWI law in Virginia is outlined in VA Law 18.2-266, which encompasses DUI, DWI and DUID as criminal drunk driving offenses. Specifically, VA DUI law prohibits:

  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol, first offense – DUI, or,
  • Driving with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher, first offense – DWI, or,
  • Driving while under the influence of marijuana, drug or intoxicant, first offense –  DUID.

Virginia First Offense DUI / DWI Penalties

Crime ClassMax JailMin JailBAC .15+ JailBAC > .20 JailMax FineLicense Suspension
Class 1 Misdemeanor12 MonthsN/A5 Days10 Days$2,500.00 Fine12 Months

MAXIMUM penalty for a First Offense DUI in Virginia:
(1) up to 1 year in jail,
(2) mandatory minimum jail sentence for certain BAC levels and case facts
(3) up to an indefinite suspension of your driver’s license / privileges,
(4) ignition interlock device for your vehicle if you get a restricted license at your expense,
(5) completion of ASAP (Alcohol Safety & Awareness Program) at your expense,
(6) a total of 6 points on a Virginia driver’s license, and,
(7) between a $250.00 and $2,500.00 fine.

MINIMUM penalties for a First Offense DUI in Virginia:
1) you must attend ASAP classes at your expense
2) your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 12 months
3) if you are granted a restricted driver’s license, you must pay for and use an ignition interlock device
4) if your BAC level was between .15-.20, you MUST serve at least 5 days in jail
5) if your BAC level was above .20, you MUST serve at least 10 days in jail
6) if you had a child passenger in your vehicle at the time of the offense who was under the age of 18 at the time, you MUST serve at least 5 days in jail – with an additional fine between $500.00 and $1,000.00

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While the punishments outlined above are the minimum and maximum possible punishments for each variation of a first-time offense of Driving Under the Influence offense, the judge may impose any amount of jail time in between the minimum and maximum range of penalties. It is undoubtedly important for you to trust your attorney and be comfortable with your defense to make sure that your case results in an outcome as close to the minimum as possible – if not a dismissal of the charge altogether. The importance of a strong defense for your first DUI charge is utmost, as a subsequent conviction will guarantee you jail time.

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