VIRGINIA DWI – PUNISHMENT

DWIs in Virginia are punished differently based on whether it is a first or subsequent offense.  First and second offenses are punishable as class 1 misdemeanors.   The maximum punishment for a class 1 misdemeanor is up to 12 months in jail and a fine not more than $2,500.00.  A third or fourth offense, or any offense after being convicted of a felony DWI, is a felony offense.  Mandatory minimum punishments vary depending on whether the charge is a subsequent offense and if you have an elevated blood alcohol concentration or not. § 18.2-270 of the Code of Virginia proscribes the punishment required for first and subsequent offense.  The mandatory minimum punishments are summarized below.

1st Offense:  Class 1 Misdemeanor

  • If BAC is < .14 – Mandatory Minimum fine of $250.00
  • If BAC > .14 - Mandatory Minimum Jail of 5 days and fine of $250.00
  • If BAC > .20 – Mandatory Minimum Jail sentence of 10 days and fine of $250.00

2nd Offense within 5 years of first:  Class 1 Misdemeanor

Minimum 30 days jail sentence.

  • If BAC < .14 – Mandatory Minimum fine of $500.00 and Jail Sentence is 20 days.
  • If BAC > .14 – Mandatory Minimum fine of $1,000.00 and Mandatory Minimum Jail sentence of 30 days
  • If BAC > .20 – Mandatory Minimum fine of $1,000.00 and Mandatory Minimum Jail sentence of 40 days.

2nd Offense within 10 years of first:  Class 1 Misdemeanor

Minimum of 30 days in jail

  • If BAC is < .14 – Mandatory Minimum fine of $500.00 and Jail Sentence is 10 days
  • If BAC > .14 – Mandatory Minimum fine of $1,000.00 and Jail sentence of 20 days
  • If BAC > .20 – Mandatory Minimum fine of $1,000.00 and Jail sentence of 30 days.

3rd Offense Within 5 years:  Class 6 Felony

  • Mandatory Minimum Fine: $1,000.00 and jail sentence of 6 months (Regardless of BAC)

3rd Offense Within 10 years:  Class 6 Felony

  • Mandatory Minimum Fine: $1,000.00 and Jail Sentence of 90 Days (Regardless of BAC)

4th Offense Within 10 years: Class 6 Felony

  • Mandatory Minimum Fine of $1,000.00 and Jail Sentence of 1 year

Any DWI after convicted of a Felony DWI: Class 6 Felony

  • Mandatory Minimum Fine of $1,000.00 and Jail Sentence of 1 year

***Any DWI offense committed while transporting a person 17 years of age or younger carries with it an additional $500.00 minimum fine but not more than $1,000.00 fine and a 5 day mandatory minimum jail sentence.

In addition to the penalties proscribed above, DWI convictions also result in the loss of a person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle and the court must require them to enroll in and successfully complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP or ASAP). In addition to VASAP, some courts also require the offender to attend a Victim Impact Panel.

LICENSE SUSPENSIONS

First Offense

  • 1 year Restricted License authorized immediately

Second Offense (w/in 5 years):

  • 3 years Restricted License authorized after 1 year

Second Offense (w/in 10 years):

  • 3 years Restricted License authorized after 4 months

Third or Subsequent Offense:

  • Indefinite Requires restoration of privileges by Circuit Court

** Any person authorized a restricted license must install an Ignition Interlock System for a minimum of 6 months or, for a second or subsequent offense, after restoration of driving privileges. If ignition interlock is required pursuant to a court ordered restricted license, the court must order the removal of the device. **

VEHICLE FORFEITURE:

Any person who is charged with a Felony DWI may have their vehicle seized and forfeited to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

SUBSEQUENT CONVICTIONS:

For a person to be convicted with an enhanced penalty for subsequent DWI convictions when one or all of the prior offenses occurred outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the other states law must be “substantially similar” to Virginia’s law.

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