VA DUI Third Offense

Virginia classifies Third Offense DUI and DWI offenses as Class 6 Felony criminal acts punishable by a minimum of 6 months in jail (and up to 5 years in prison), a fine between $1,000.00 and $2,500.00, at least 3 years of driver’s license suspension (and possible permanent loss of your driver’s license), 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 third offense DUI cases.

Unlike other states, which treat Third Offense DUI cases as less serious criminal offenses, Virginia codifies and treats all third offense DUI and DWI cases as Felony criminal acts in the VA criminal law chapter. Significant Jail time is guaranteed upon conviction of a third DWI offense. Upon conviction of a felony DUI third offense, you will be treated as a convicted Felon – which means you will lose your right to vote and your right to bear arms, in addition to the DWI court-imposed penalties.

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

Virginia Third Offense DUI / DWI Penalties

DUI OffenseCrime ClassMax Jail SentenceMin Jail SentenceBAC .15+ Min JailBAC > .20 Min JailMax FineLicense Suspension
DUI 3rd  in 10 YearsClass 6 Felony5 Years90 Days100 Days110 Days$2,500.00 Fine36 Months
DUI 3rd  in 5 YearsClass 6 Felony5 Years180 Days190 Days200 Days$2,500.00 Fine36 Months

MINIMUM Penalties for a Felony DUI Third Offense in a 5 Year Period

1) you MUST serve at least 6 months in jail
2) your fine will be at least $1,000.00
3) if your BAC level was between .15-.20 during your third offense, you MUST serve another 10 days in jail in addition to the 6 months
4) if your BAC level was above .20 during your third offense, you MUST serve another 20 days in jail in addition to the 6 months
5) your vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture to the state
6) you will lose your driver’s license for 36 months, or indefinitely as a habitual offender
7) you vehicle MUST be equipped with an ignition interlock device

MINIMUM Penalties for a Felony DUI Third Offense in a 10 Year Period

1) you MUST serve at least 90 days in jail
2) your fine will be at least $1,000.00
3) if your BAC level was between .15-.20 during your third offense, you MUST serve at least a total of 100 days in jail
4) if your BAC level was above .20 during your third offense, you MUST serve at least a total of 110 days in jail
5) your vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture to the state
6) you will lose your driver’s license for 36 months
7) you vehicle MUST be equipped with an ignition interlock device


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This article is written by top rated Virginia DUI / DWI defense attorney Marina Medvin – law offices in Alexandria and in Fairfax. She successfully represents individuals charged with Third Offense DUI / DWI arrests 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 is recommended for defense of Third Offense DWI cases because of the scientific and chemical analysis of the Blood Alcohol Content. Please call for a Third Offense DWI attorney consultation request.


DUI THIRD 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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