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How likely is jail time on a first-offense DWI?

In Fairfax, like all of Virginia, a first-offense DWI is punishable as a class 1 misdemeanor. This means the maximum sentence you can receive is up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500.00 fine. However, on first offense DWI’s where the BAC is no elevated, the chances of receiving a jail sentence is rare. Most people in Fairfax with a first offense DWI receive a suspended jail sentence as part of the disposition.

Can a DWI be dismissed in Virginia?

Yes, a DWI can be dismissed in Virginia. Like any other crime, the prosecutor must prove you drove a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the prosecutor fails to prove or believes the evidence is insufficient to prove any element of the offense, the charge can be dismissed. Additionally, lawyers can help you get a case dismissed by challenging the reasons for the traffic stop, probable cause for the arrest, and other legal issues.

What is the difference between DWI and DUI in Virginia?

In Virginia, particularly Fairfax, the most common term used is DWI. However, there is no difference under Virginia Law to the terms DWI and DUI. They are often used synonymously with one another. However, the distinction usually is made when there is reference to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A DWI would denote driving while intoxicated and usually references having a BAC over a .08. A DUI is when a person is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is distinguished by forcing the prosecution to prove that at the time of driving the person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol (or both) to the extent that their manner, speech, disposition, muscular movement, and general appearance were so affected by the intoxicant as to be apparent to common observation.

Can a DWI be reduced in Virginia?

Yes, the charges can be reduced to a lesser offense under a variety of circumstances. Lawyers are sometimes able to convince a prosecutor to reduce the offense to a reckless driving charge or other lesser offenses. However, the Court cannot reduce your DWI to reckless driving during a trial unless on the prosecutor’s motion to amend the charge (which rarely happens at a trial). A skilled criminal defense attorney usually must negotiate the reduction prior to entering a plea of not guilty.

How long does a DWI stay on your record in Virginia?

A DWI stays on your driving record for 11 years in Virginia and carries 6 points. A DWI will stay on your criminal history permanently. Misdemeanor DWI offenses stay on the Virginia Court Case Information System for 10 years before being removed and the records are then destroyed by the General District Court Clerk’s Office pursuant to Virginia Law.