Virginia DUI / DWI Law: Second Offense

Virginia classifies 2nd Offense DUI and DWI offenses as Class 1 Misdemeanor criminal acts punishable by at least 10 days in jail for a Second DUI in 10 years (with a maximum punishment of 1 year in jail), a fine between $500.00 and $2,500.00, 3 years of driver’s license suspension, probation, and alcohol education classes. The minimum penalty for a DUI, Second offense in 5 years, is 20 days in jail. The punishment increases significantly if you are arrested with a BAC alcohol level 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 second-offense DUI cases.

While the punishments outlined above are the minimum and maximum possible punishments for each variation of a second offense Driving Under the Influence charge, the judge may impose any jail time between the minimum and maximum range of penalties. You should trust your attorney and be comfortable with your defense to ensure that your case results in an outcome as close to the minimum as possible – if not a dismissal of the charge altogether. A strong defense for your second DUI charge is paramount, as jail time is guaranteed upon conviction.

Unlike other states, which treat Second Offense DUI cases as less serious criminal or traffic offenses, Virginia codifies and treats all second offense DUI and DWI cases as criminal misdemeanor acts in the VA criminal law chapter, with mandatory jail time.

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Second 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, second offense – DUI 2nd, or,
  • Driving with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher, second offense – DWI 2nd, or,
  • Driving while under the influence of marijuana, drug or intoxicant, second offense –  DUID 2nd.

Virginia Second Offense DUI / DWI Penalties

DUI OffenseCrime ClassMax JailMin JailBAC .15+ Min JailBAC > .20 Min JailMax FineLicense Suspension
DUI 2nd in 10 YearsClass 1 Misdemeanor12 Months10 Days20 Days30 Days$2,500.00 Fine36 Months
DUI 2nd in 5 YearsClass 1 Misdemeanor12 Months20 Days30 Days40 Days$2,500.00 Fine36 Months
MINIMUM Penalties for a DUI Second Offense in a 5 Year Period

1) you MUST serve at least 20 days in jail
2) your fine will be at least $500.00
3) if your BAC level was between .15-.20 during your second offense, you MUST serve at least a total of 30 days in jail
4) if your BAC level was above .20 during your second offense, you MUST serve at least a total of 40 days in jail
5) you will lose your driver’s license for 36 months
6) you are not eligible for a restricted driver’s license for at least 12 months
7) you vehicle MUST be equipped with an ignition interlock device for the first 6 months of your restoration of driving privileges

MINIMUM Penalties for a DUI Second Offense in a 10 Year Period

1) you MUST serve at least 10 days in jail
2) your fine will be at least $500.00
3) if your BAC level was between .15-.20 during your second offense, you MUST serve at least a total of 20 days in jail
4) if your BAC level was above .20 during your second offense, you MUST serve at least a total of 30 days in jail
5) you will lose your driver’s license for 36 months
6) you are not eligible for a restricted driver’s license for at least 4 months
7) you vehicle MUST be equipped with an ignition interlock device for the first 6 months of your restoration of driving privileges


Virginia DUI Attorney

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This article is written by Virginia DUI attorney Marina Medvin, an award-winning DWI lawyer serving Alexandria, Fairfax, and Arlington, VA. She successfully represents individuals charged with DUI and DWI crimes in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Vienna and Falls Church.

In addition to her Juris Doctorate degree, Ms. Medvin has a Bachelor of Science Honors Degree from Penn State, where she graduated in the Top 10% of her class. Both a legal and a science background are recommended for the defense of Virginia DWI cases because of the scientific and chemical analysis of the Blood Alcohol Content.

Ms. Medvin is also a co-author of the Virginia law book on the defense of Virginia DUI offenses: Defense of Serious Traffic Cases in Virginia. 

Defense of Serious Traffic Cases in Virginia

Please call 888-886-4127 for a Virginia DUI secon offense attorney consultation request.


DUI SECOND OFFENSE – PRIOR DUI CONVICTION

Prior DUI / DWI convictions may be used to 1) increase your DUI from a misdemeanor to a felony if its a 3rd or subsequent offense within 10 years, or 2) impose higher penalties at sentencing for your DUI 2nd Offense conviction, or 3) add a mandatory minimum sentence to your DUI 2nd Offense conviction.

A common question is: can a previous out-of-state DUI or DWI conviction be used against you in a Virginia court as previous conviction, so as to increase your penalty for the new Virginia DUI charge? The short answer is yes. While the convictions for the previous DUI charge must have been based on similar criminal laws, and the government must prove that the laws are in fact substantially similar, DUI convictions from other states can theoretically be used to convict you of a second, third, fourth or subsequent DUI offense in Virginia and you would have to serve the minimum required jail sentence. You will need to ask your attorney whether you have a defense on the issue of a prior conviction being used against you.

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