VIRGINIA CRIMINAL LAWYER: TOP DUI ATTORNEY

Although Robinson Law handles all criminal and traffic matters, our primary focus is DUI and DWI defense in Northern Virginia. Our firm has a separate DUI website devoted exclusively to our DUI and DWI Defense of both adults and juveniles in Fairfax and Northern Virginia. We encourage prospective clients who are facing DUI charges in Northern Virginia to visit our website to learn more about their DUI according to the jurisdiction where they were charged. Some of these jurisdictions include, DUI in Fairfax, DUI in Arlington, DUI in Alexandria, DUI in Prince William, and DUI in Loudoun County. Our DUI lawyers are standing by ready to discuss your DUI case free of charge: (703) 542-4008.

Criminal Lawyers for DUI and DWI Defense in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties

The Commonwealth of Virginia is known for having some of the strictest DWI and DUI laws in the country. If you have been charged with DUI, DWI, or Refusal in Northern Virginia, you are likely facing severe penalties. The severity of these penalties varies, but increases for those who have higher BAC levels and for repeat offenders. Robinson Law, PLLC has represented DUI and DWI clients throughout Northern Virginia, and has proven results with former clients.

Is DUI/DWI a misdemeanor or felony offense in Virginia?

A first offense DUI and second offense DUI in Virginia are both categorized as misdemeanors. A third offense DUI and any subsequent DUI charges are felonies.

What are the penalties for a Virginia DUI?

The penalties for a Virginia DUI conviction depend heavily on whether the defendant has any prior DUI convictions and the blood alcohol level (BAC) of the defendant. Each DUI case our criminal lawyers take on has its own set of facts – no DUI case can be compared to another DUI case. Whether you were charged with DUI in Fairfax or DUI in Manassas, our criminal lawyers have the experience and knowledge to build the best possible defense for your case.

What’s the Difference between DWI and DUI in Virginia?

DWI refers to Driving While Intoxicated, in violation of VA Code §18.2-266. DUI refers to Driving Under the Influence (of drugs or alcohol), also in violation of VA Code §18.2-266. Although Virginia recognizes these terms interchangeably, a slight difference exists in the statute.

The difference between DWI and DUI is identified in subsection (i) in the above statute, where the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent or higher. This is “DWI” and there are two possible tests the Commonwealth of Virginia may use to determine your BAC: Breath Test or Blood Sample Test. DUI, on the other hand, is the charge given when the defendant takes neither a breath test nor a blood test. DUI is obtained when an individual has consumed enough alcohol (or drugs) to the point of “…observably affect[ing] his manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior” (VA Code §4.1-100).

In sum, a DWI charge has a scientific component (i.e. the result of your breath or blood test). DUI is the charge given to an individual who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but refuses to submit to the chemical testing of his or her breath/blood.

Breath Test and Blood Sample: Implied Consent Law

By driving on Virginia’s highways, you have legally consented to the chemical testing of your breath or blood to establish your blood alcohol content (BAC). This is outlined in Virginia’s Implied Consent Law (section A of VA Code §18.2-268.2). Because a driver’s license is a privilege rather than a right, the state of Virginia has the power to mandate any rule pertaining to it. You do not have the option of choosing which test you would like to have administered.

If you are unable to submit to a breath test, you will likely be offered the opportunity to provide a blood sample. If you refuse to submit to either test, you receive a separate, civil violation charge known as “Refusal” in addition to your DUI. The operating vehicle must be on a highway and the breath or blood test must be given within three hours of the time of arrest. Note “highway” in this statute refers to a very broad understanding of the term. Understand the definition of “highway” here.

DWI, 1st Offense in Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia classifies a first DWI offense as a class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, you may face some or all the following penalties:

  • 7 day administrative license suspension (license reinstated 7 days after your arrest date)
  • Court fines ranging from $250 to $2,500
  • 1 year license suspension (possibly eligible for a restricted license)
  • Possible jail time (mandatory 5 day minimum IF driving with a minor in the car)
  • Possible Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP)
  • Ignition interlock device
  • Criminal record
  • Any court-ordered restitution

DWI, 2nd Offense in Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia classifies a 2nd DWI offense as a class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, you may face some or all of the following penalties:

  • 60 day administrative license suspension (license reinstated 60 days after your arrest date)
  • Court fines ranging from $500 to $2,500
  • Indefinite license revocation (possibly eligible for a restricted license)
  • If within less than 5 years of the 1st offense, a mandatory 1 to 12 month jail sentence
  • If within 10 years of the 1st offense, a mandatory minimum of 10 day jail sentence
  • Possible Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP)
  • Ignition interlock device
  • Criminal record
  • Any court-ordered restitution

DWI, 3rd Offense in Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia classifies a 3rd DWI offense as a class 6 FELONY. If convicted, you may face some or all the following penalties:

  • Administrative license suspension until your trial date
  • Felony charge (vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture)
  • $1000 minimum fine
  • Indefinite license revocation
  • If within 5 years of 2nd offense, minimum 6 month jail sentence
  • If within 10 years of 2nd offense, minimum 3 month jail sentence
  • Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP)
  • Ignition interlock device
  • Criminal record
  • Any court-ordered restitution

DWI, 4th Offense in Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia classifies a 4th DWI offense as a class 6 FELONY. If convicted, you may face some of all of the following penalties:

  • Administrative license suspension until your trial date
  • Felony charge (vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture)
  • $1000 minimum fine
  • Indefinite license revocation
  • Minimum 12 month jail sentence
  • Possible Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP)
  • Ignition interlock device
  • Criminal record
  • Any court-ordered restitution

Elevated Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in a Virginia DUI

In addition to the penalties listed above, if your BAC is .15% or higher, you may be facing the following penalties:

BAC of .15% to .19%:

  • 1st offense: additional mandatory, minimum 5 day jail sentence
  • 2nd offense: (if within 10 years of 1st offense) mandatory, minimum additional 10 day jail sentence

BAC of .20% or higher:

  • 1st offense: additional mandatory, minimum 10 day jail sentence
  • 2nd offense: (if within 10 years of 1st offense) mandatory, minimum additional 20 day jail sentence plus $500 fine 

Criminal Lawyer for DWI Under the Age of 21: “Baby DUI” in Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a strict zero tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. You will receive the same harsh punishments as those who are charged at 21 or older. If you are younger than 21 years and your BAC is between .02%-.07% at the time of arrest, you can be charged with DUI. When an underage driver’s BAC is above a .07%, the standard DUI/DWI rules apply.

  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • Court fine up to $2,500
  • Mandatory minimum $500 fine OR minimum 50 hours of community service
  • 12 month license suspension (possibly eligible for a restricted license)
  • Possible Alcohol Action Safety Program (ASAP)
  • Possible ignition interlock device
  • Criminal record (class 1 misdemeanor)
  • Any court-ordered restitution

As stated above, Virginia drivers automatically consent to having their BAC tested in the event of DUI or DWI arrest. If you refuse to submit to either test, you will be charged with the civil violation of Refusal as outlined in Virginia Code 18.2-268.3.

Refusal, 1st Offense in Virginia:

  • 1 year license suspension (NOT eligible for a restricted license)
  • Non-criminal violation

 

Refusal, 2nd Offense within 10 Years:

  • Maximum court fine of $1,000
  • Maximum 6 month jail sentence
  • 3 year license suspension (NOT eligible for a restricted license)
  • Criminal violation (class 2 misdemeanor)

Refusal, 3rd Offense within 10 Years:

  • Maximum court fine of $2,500
  • Maximum 1 year jail sentence
  • 3 year license suspension (NOT eligible for a restricted license)