You never thought this would happen to you, but here you are. The police arrested you and charged you with driving under the influence of alcohol in the state of Virginia. What might a DUI charge mean for you?
A DUI charge is a serious offense, no matter what state you’re in. The consequences if convicted can range from minor fines and a short stint in jail to hefty fines and prison time — among various others. The details of your case will determine just how serious your situation is.
Your blood alcohol concentration matters
Current laws state that anyone driving with a BAC of .08% or higher may face arrest and a charge for DUI. Those found with a BAC of .15% or higher should expect felony-level charges. For commercial license holders and individuals under the age of 21, the BAC threshold is much lower and may result in arrest and misdemeanor or felony charges — depending on the specifics of one’s case.
Outside of fines and time behind bars, a few additional penalties may accompany a conviction on a DUI charge. They include:
- License suspension/revocation
- Court-ordered rehabilitation or education
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Vehicle confiscation
When it comes to license suspension or revocation, the state can take away your license for a minimum of one year or permanently. Getting a license back after suspension can be a challenging feat.
Can I fight the charges?
Yes, you can. No one can guarantee a specific outcome, but it is always in your best interests to defend yourself. How you go about doing that will depend on the evidence in your case. For some individuals, it is possible to have evidence thrown out, resulting in a case dismissal or, at least, a reduction in charges. For others, it may be possible to work with prosecuting attorneys toward achieving a plea agreement or alternative sentencing.
Don’t forget the administrative consequences
Criminal court does not handle the administrative side of a DUI charge. If you lose your license, you have to take it up with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Legal counsel can assist you with the administrative hearing, however, and help you reinstate your license as quickly as possible.
The bottom line
The bottom line if charged with DUI is act smart, act fast and get help. You’ll be better off doing so.