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All Press Releases for January 09, 2013 »
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Virginia DUI Convictions Carry Serious Criminal Consequences

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime in Virginia. Even a first offense for driving with a blood alcohol content just slightly over the legal limit can result in significant criminal penalties.
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    January 09, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime in Virginia. Even a first offense for driving with a blood alcohol content just slightly over the legal limit can result in significant criminal penalties.

The legal consequences can be even worse when driving under the influence results in an accident that injures another person. In those cases, drunk drivers may face lengthy prison sentences.

Take, for example, the case of a Virginia man who was recently sentenced to two years and three months in jail -- plus a nine-year suspended jail sentence -- after being convicted of causing an accident in which his 15-year-old passenger was severely injured.

The accident occurred in the summer of 2011. The driver, who is now 19 years old, allegedly got behind the wheel of his vehicle while under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana. He eventually lost control of his vehicle, causing the car to crash into a tree. His passenger fractured her skull in the crash and was in a coma for 10 days. When she awoke, she had to relearn how to move and communicate.

The driver was ultimately convicted on charges including underage possession of alcohol and maiming while driving under the influence. Though the sentencing guidelines suggested a prison sentence of six months, the judge in the case thought the driver's behavior was severe enough to warrant a significantly harsher penalty.

Virginia DUI penalties

This case highlights just how severe the penalties for drunk driving in Virginia can be. It is important to note, however, that the penalties are substantial even under less dramatic circumstances.

At minimum, a first DUI offense will result in a fine of at least $250 and a one-year driver's license revocation. A subsequent offense within ten years will bring an increased fine, a three-year driver's license revocation and the possibility of a year in jail. The penalties increase with each additional offense.

The penalties for drunk driving in Virginia can also be more severe for drivers whose blood alcohol contents significantly exceed the legal limit of 0.08. A first DUI offense with a blood alcohol content above 0.15 but below 0.20 will result in a mandatory minimum five-day jail sentence in addition to any other penalties imposed. A first offense with a blood alcohol content of 0.20 or higher will bring a mandatory minimum ten-day jail sentence.

These are just some of the penalties that can be imposed on convicted drunk drivers in Virginia. Other consequences may include mandatory use of an ignition interlock device, vehicle impoundment, restitution payments and participation in alcohol awareness classes. Given the serious implications of a DUI conviction, it is important to consult with an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney if you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence.

Article provided by Weisberg & Zaleski, P.C.
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