When a person is charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia the consequences of a conviction for that charge are far reaching and potentially very damaging. Moreover, the sentencing punishments in most cases are mandatory. The trial judge has no discretion due to the fact that the punishment is set by statue. No matter how good a person the defendant is, or what the facts of the case are, the punishment is the same. The attorney that a person charged with this crime chooses is the most important decision that a person will make.
Punishments for a conviction of DUI are as follows:
1.) Incarceration – the court may sentence a person convicted of DUI to up to twelve months of incarceration. If the person has an elevated blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the arrest the judge must sentence the individual to incarceration.
2.) ASAP – a person convicted of a DUI in Virginia must complete Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP or VASAP) which consists of twenty-four classes.
3.) Fine – a $250.00 fine is imposed.
4.) Suspended License – a person convicted of DUI has their license to drive suspended for one year. During that time they may not drive at all unless a suspended license is allowed by the judge. A suspended license allows a person to drive in very limited circumstances such as to and from work. Whether or not the judge allows a suspended license is solely up to their discretion. In this circumstance, a person’s attorney makes all the difference.
5.) Mandatory Ignition Interlock – if the judge does allow for a suspended license to be issued he must order that this device be installed to measure the person’s BAC before starting their vehicle. This must be in place for six months.
6.) DMV Driving Points – a person convicted of DUI receives minus 6 driving points on their point total with DMV effectively raising their insurance premium for six years.
The outcome in a DUI case rests almost solely on the lawyer that you hire. In almost all jurisdictions across Virginia DUI’s are prosecuted by a professional attorney hired by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Moreover, the prosecution of these offenses varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The procedure in Virginia Beach may be completely different than the procedure in a jurisdiction such as Suffolk. Without a trained and experienced attorney on your side who has handled numerous cases in the jurisdiction where your case is pending your chances of avoiding the punishments listed above are practically zero. If you have been charged with a DUI offense call Bush & Taylor today to start planning your defense.
See what the Virginia Code has to say about DUI punishments: