Felony DUI in Virginia
You may be aware of the penalties for being convicted for the misdemeanor of driving under the influence, but you might not know that some circumstances can elevate the crime to felony DUI in Virginia. The more serious charge can result in much higher fines and longer prison terms, so it’s important to understand how the law works if you’ve been arrested for felony DUI.
Legal Definition of DUI
Under Virginia law, you can be arrested for driving under the influence if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above .08 percent. However, there are different rules for certain classes of licenses and drivers. A motorist under the age of 21 can be charged with DUI for a BAC of .02 percent, while a person holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) can be arrested for drunk driving if his or her BAC is .04 percent or higher.
Factors Implicating a Felony DUI Charge
For first and second time offenders, a DUI conviction can lead to license revocation, fines, court-ordered restitution, educational court requirements, and installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. The conviction results in a misdemeanor conviction on your crime record. In addition, Virginia law does address extremely high BAC when the percentage is .15 percent or higher. The charge is still a DUI, but the higher BAC level can increase your jail sentence by 5-10 days, and result in a stiffer fine.
A third time or fourth violation of drunk driving laws raises the drunk driving crime to a felony DUI; if you cause death to another person, you can also be charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Penalties for Felony DUI
For a felony DUI, your driver’s license will automatically be revoked until the date of your trial. Plus, other penalties apply depending on whether it’s your third or fourth DUI:
- Third Offense: If your third DUI falls within five years of a previous conviction, you could be sentenced to a mandatory six month jail term. A third DUI within a 10 year time period could mean 90 days in jail.
- Fourth Offense: A four-time DUI offender faces a mandatory minimum of one year in jail, no matter how much time has passed since the previous offense.
A Virginia DUI Attorney Can Help
A felony DUI charge carries penalties much more severe than the driver’s license revocation and other punishments handed down for misdemeanors, so it’s critical to retain an experienced DUI lawyer to protect your rights. The attorneys at Shannon & Bedois, P.C. have represented many clients in criminal court to obtain the best possible outcome. Please contact or call us at (757) 228-5529 with questions about felony DUIs in Virginia.