When people make the mistake of getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol, they do not think about the grave consequences that may follow them. Driving under the influence (DUI) is a severe offense in Virginia, and it has major ramifications that can haunt someone for years.
Fines, legal fees, and court appearances are just the beginning. A DUI can impact your relationships, employment, finances, and mental health.
If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, it’s crucial that you contact our attorneys today at (757) 568-7978 immediately.
Criminal Penalties of a DUI
Keep in mind that consequences vary depending on circumstances. A first-offense DUI is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Generally, this will come with penalties including up to one year in jail, and fines will set you back anywhere from $250 to $2,500. Additionally, you would lose driving privileges for up to one year, potentially affecting your job and various aspects of your life.
If this is a recurring offense, the punishment will be much harsher. The courts will impose penalties based on the length of time since your previous conviction, as well as your blood alcohol content (BAC).
For example, a second DUI within less than five years may include:
Jail for up to one year, with a mandatory minimum of 20 days
Fine of up to $2,500, with a mandatory minimum of $500
Driver's license suspension for three years (eligible for a restricted driver’s license after one year)
Ignition interlock device installation for six months to two years
Third and subsequent DWIs are charged as Class 6 felonies, regardless of what your BAC was or when your previous conviction took place. The stakes are high with these cases, and you will need a highly-experienced lawyer to defend you.
Financial Consequences of a DUI
Following criminal penalties, the next area that you will be deeply affected by revolves around finances. There are the fines and fees associated with a DUI, but there are also less obvious expenses that you will have to pay for.
You should prepare for your car insurance premiums to skyrocket, and some insurance carriers may decide to drop your coverage. It is even costlier for those with repeated charges because they are a “high-risk” driver. If you are ordered to hand over your driver’s license, getting to work will be challenging and put your employment at risk. Finding an alternative mode of transportation such as Uber or Lyft can add up quickly.
Social and Emotional Implications of a DUI
A DUI conviction touches every part of your life from relationships to your mental health. It’s quite common for people to experience feelings of anxiety, guilt, anger, and shame after a first-time DUI. However, it’s important to look at why this happened, especially if it’s occurred more than once. Some people charged with a DUI suffer from alcoholism, bipolar disorder, depression, and other mental illnesses. Seeking counseling can help you make better choices and cope with what happened.
It may also affect your personal and professional relationships and hurt future opportunities. If you were to apply for a new job or housing, you may need to get a background check in which your felony or misdemeanor would show up, potentially jeopardizing your chances. These long-term effects can negatively impact your wellbeing, which is why getting help is vital.
See What Tillotson & Martin, LLC Can Do for You
When you have been charged with drinking and driving, you must hire a team who truly cares about helping you. At Tillotson & Martin, LLC, our #1 priority is our clients, and we will do everything in our power to avoid a conviction because we understand how devastating it can be. Because of our vast knowledge and experience with DUI cases, we were called to write the book Virginia DUI Law, which prosecutors and defense attorneys use throughout the state. If there's anyone you can trust to handle your case, it's us.
Our Coastal Virginia DUI lawyers are ready to help you with your case. Start your defense today and call us at (757) 568-7978 for a free consultation.