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How Likely Is Jail Time for the First DUI in Virginia?

Following your first DUI arrest, you are likely frightened and have many questions. One of those questions is: “Am I going to get jail time for my first DUI offense in Virginia?” This is a common question, and an intelligent one to ask. For most standard DUIs, a first-time conviction will not lead to a jail sentence. However, specific facts may change this general rule.

Our Manassas DUI lawyers teach you about first time Virginia DUI penalties and the likelihood of jail time in these cases. For answers specific to your situation, schedule a free consultation of your case.

Penalties for a First Time DUI Offense in Virginia

You have been arrested for a DUI, and you may be wondering what penalties you possibly face. Under Virginia law, a driving under the influence (DUI) charge is referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI). The two terms are interchangeable and are commonly used in place of the other. 

You may instead be charged with driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), a violation of Virginia Code 18.2-266. This law sets forth specific per se amounts of drugs in your bloodstream or urine that indicate you are intoxicated.

If you are convicted of a first DUI/DWI offense in Virginia, you could face any of the following penalties:

  • A mandatory minimum fine of $250
  • A maximum possible fine of $2,500
  • Up to one year in jail
  • If blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.15 or greater but 0.20 or less, 5 days in jail
  • If BAC is greater than 0.20, 10 days in jail
  • A 7-day administrative license suspension
  • Ignition interlock device required for your vehicle
  • 12 month license suspension by the court

These penalties show just how important it is to defend yourself, even if this is your first offense. It can affect your life in very significant ways.

Likelihood of Serving a Jail Sentence for Your First DUI Offense

The jail penalties you face will depend on your unique situation. In a standard DUI situation, the odds that you will actually serve jail time are quite low. While you could spend up to one year in jail, this is very rare.  For example, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.14 or below, most of the time you will not serve jail time for a first offense. 

If your BAC was between 0.15 and 0.20, you must serve a mandatory 5 days in jail at a minimum. If your BAC was greater than 0.20, you must spend at least 10 days in jail. In these cases, it is not uncommon for the judge to impose longer sentences than the mandatory minimum, but you must serve at least that amount if your BAC was within those ranges.

Other Factors That May Lead to Incarceration for a First-Time DUI

More serious DUI cases may increase the likelihood for a jail sentence. Aggravating circumstances such as the following could lead to jail time even for a first-time offense:

  • Driving while intoxicated with children in the vehicle
  • A hit and run accident caused by intoxication
  • The intoxication led to an accident with injuries or death
  • The driver ran from police or resisted arrest

In reality, these other circumstances are often separate charges from your actual DUI. Your DUI defense attorney can explain these nuances and how your unique situation affects the likelihood of a jail sentence.

Defend Yourself Against Virginia DUI/DWI Charges

Our highly experienced team can explain what is likely to happen in your case. We will investigate the stop and your arrest to develop effective defense strategies in your case.

Seek dismissal of your DUI charges with the help of the experienced Virginia criminal defense lawyers from Battlefield Law Group PLLC. Contact us today for a free consultation.