Just about a year ago, that we wrote about consequences an individual in Virginia could face if convicted for a third time for driving under the influence. Penalties can be serious in such cases. So can they be for first time DUI offenses, however, so anytime a charge is brought you should be prepared to do all you can to protect your rights. Working with a skilled attorney is the way to do that.
As was noted in that previous DUI/DWI entry, if your third-time conviction happens within a 10-year period, you will face a mandatory 90-day term in jail. If the conviction is the third in five years or less, the incarceration time jumps to 180 days. There could also be fines and loss of driving privileges, as well. Penalties for a first-time DUI conviction tend to be lighter, but can also have lingering implications long after a sentence is completed.
To be convicted of driving while impaired, the state has to prove certain elements.
- You must have been driving a motor vehicle. (Being at the controls of any type of motor vehicle might spark an arrest, a riding lawn mower, a motorized wheelchair, even a motorized skateboard).
- Impairment due to some intoxicant must be shown.
- Specific concentrations of a suspect substance must be evident in blood samples.
If all of the standards are met and a conviction obtained, a first-time offense could yield a $250 fine and loss of license for one year. If tests indicate a substance in your blood over set levels, higher fines and longer time in jail could result.
Of perhaps equal concern is that having a DUI conviction on your record is something that can stick with you long term. It can negatively affect your prospects for work, education and more.
With so much at stake, you owe it to yourself to have an experienced legal advocate at your side.