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DUI Offenses

DUI and Your License – VA Code 18.2-266

One of the first questions lawyers are asked when someone walks in the door with a DUI case is – “Am I going to lose my license?” It’s a very important question because the privilege to operate a motor vehicle is how most people get to and from work, take care of medical appointments, and provide care for their family and children. If you can’t drive because of a DUI, how will all of this get done? What many people don’t realize is that their license is suspended from the moment they are charged with a DUI.

Administrative Suspension

The administrative license suspension happens when you are CHARGED with DUI. A license suspension is a temporary withdrawal of your driving privileges. You will receive an administrative suspension after a DUI arrest if:

  1. You are an adult whose breath test at the station/jail was 0.08 or higher
  2. You are an underage drinker whose breath test at the station/jail was 0.02 or higher
  3. You are person who was also charged with Refusal to take a breath or blood test.

If you were taken to the hospital under suspicion of DUI and your blood was taken, the administrative suspension will not apply. Your license also will not be suspended if you were on private property because implied consent to blood or breath test does not pertain to these DUIs. If you have a Virginia license, your license is suspended everywhere during the suspension; if you have an out of state license, you cannot legally drive in the state of Virginia.

If this is a first offense for DUI, your license will be suspended for seven days. If it is second offense, then your license will be suspended for 60 days or until trial whichever comes first. If this is a felony level DUI, your license will be suspended until trial. Your license will be confiscated at the time of your arrest and handed over to the magistrate. At the end of your administrative suspension, you can pick up your license from the clerk’s office of the jurisdiction in which your charges are. If you do not pick it up, your license will be mailed to you.

Suspended via DUI Conviction

If you are convicted of DUI first offense, your privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended for a period of one year from the date of your conviction. A DUI second offense will result in a license suspension for three years. Any felony conviction for DUI carries with it an indefinite revocation of your license and you cannot begin the process of having it restored until at least five years have passed.

However, you can drive during this period with a restricted license, if the court grants you one. You will be required to have an ignition interlock installed for 12 months if you take advantage of the restricted license. Any violations with the interlock can potentially put your restricted driving privilege at risk and may even land you in jail.

The loss of driving privileges can be the most disruptive consequence of a DUI conviction. If driving is important to you and your family, we can help you form a plan and provide options right away so we can work together to give you the best chance of getting a restricted driver’s license if you are convicted of your DUI.

DUI and Jail

One of the biggest questions that you can face when dealing with a DUI is – “Am I going to jail?” The answer is – it depends. Every DUI case has different facts and circumstances that could lead to incarceration or not. And the judge ultimately determines what sentence you receive if you are convicted. The only 100 percent effect way to avoid jail is to win your case and walk out of court with an acquittal of your charges. However, there are some guidelines you can use to assess the potential risk for an active jail sentence.

Mandatory Time

Mandatory Minimum jail time is a statutory required sentence for certain offenses. This means that the judge has no discretion and cannot suspend a portion of your jail sentence. You also must serve every day of a mandatory sentence and there is no “good time” jail credit like there is for other misdemeanor offenses. Mandatory time is typically associated with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or repeat offenses for DUI. The chart below summarizes the offenses where you may be at risk for mandatory jail sentences.

1st DUI-BAC >.15-.20 5 days 22d DUI-BAC <.14
(less than five years)
1st DUI-BAC >.20 10 days 22d DUI-BAC >.15-.20
(less than five years)
1st DUI-w/minor 5 days 22d DUI-BAC >.20
(less than five years)
2nd DUI-BAC <.14
(less than ten years)
10 days Felony DUI 3rdOffense
(less than ten years)
3 months
2nd DUI-BAC >.15-.20
(less than ten years)
20 days Felony DUI 3rdOffense
(less than ten years)
6 months
2nd DUI-BAC >.20
(less than ten years)
30 days Felony DUI 4thOffense
(with in ten years)
1 year

Aggravating Factors

Other considerations that may increase the risk of an active jail sentence include the following:

Bad Behavior: If you were combative, argumentative, or disrespectful towards law enforcement, many judges and commonwealth attorneys look poorly upon this behavior.

Accident: In accident cases, especially if there are injuries or significant property damage, the judge or commonwealth attorney is more likely to seek a sentence that involves active jail time.

Other Driving Issues: Perhaps it wasn’t an accident, but your driving was so bad it could have caused one, such as driving very fast, veering into several other lanes, headed the wrong way down the road. This could have a impact on the length of an active sentence.

Other Evidence of a Substance Problem: This may be your first DUI but if you have other crimes such as drunk in public or possession of narcotics, the court may see this as just the first time you were “caught” behind the wheel because of a greater substance abuse problem.

Talk to an experienced DUI lawyer at Invictus. We can help you understand what your potential outcome may be. We can form a plan with you that will give you the best chance to win your case and ensure the best outcome possible.

DUI Timeline

Going through the entire process after a DUI arrest can be very upsetting. From going to court and lawyer meetings, most people just want to know when their life is going to return to normal. Here is what you can expect as a reasonable timeline of the events of your DUI case.

  • Arraignment – the first hearing is explained in more detail here (link to the morning after a DUI). Usually within seven to ten days after your arrest. The court will normally set your trial date on this date.
  • License Return – You can pick up your license after seven days has passed at the Clerk’s Office in the city you were charged.
  • Hiring a Lawyer – Any time between the time you were arrested and the time you go to trial you can hire a lawyer to represent you. The longer you wait to hire an attorney, it is more likely your trial date will be delayed so that your attorney can have adequate time to prepare.
  • Trial – your court date for trial will typically be set between forty-five and sixty days from the date of your arrest.

DUI and Military Service

If you are on active duty and you are charged with a DUI offense, Invictus Law is uniquely qualified to defend you case AND your career. Our team of Virginia Beach DUI Lawyers includes over 25 years of military justice experience as former U.S. Marine Corps and Army JAGs. We fully understand the risk to your career and your security clearance. Due to our extensive experience and expertise as both civilian and military lawyers, we can help you navigate the civilian charges out in town – while at the same time advise you and advocate on your behalf to your chain of command to ensure that you have the best chance possible to remain on active duty and continue your career. Should your command decide to take any administrative action in the form of Non-Judicial Punishment (Article 15) or an Administrative Separation Hearing, we have decades of experience of advising and representing Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen. We are your best legal defense option if you want to continue to serve because we can fight for you on every legal battlefield.

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