The Commonwealth of Virginia aggressively prosecutes people accused of DUI. While any first or second DUI offense is a misdemeanor, it can become a felony after the second conviction in certain situations. Usually, a first or second DWI is a misdemeanor in Virginia. But a third or later DWI conviction within ten years can be charged as a felony.
In most cases, a DUI offense in Virginia is a misdemeanor. However, in some situations, a person may face a felony charge. Whether you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor for drunk driving, it's important to hire an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible to help you with your defense. In Virginia, a DUI becomes a felony for your third or subsequent offense.
Many DUI arrests result in a misdemeanor charge for drunk driving; however, some arrests will result in a felony charge. Finally, an often overlooked step in the process is that your vehicle may be subject to forfeiture depending on the circumstances of your DUI. Unlike any other charge, which requires the government to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, in a DUI case, the burden shifts to the defendant when the BAC is above a. Keep in mind that these mandatory felony DUI penalties are much more severe than for a misdemeanor conviction.
Officers generally don't have enough evidence to arrest you for DUI while you're inside your vehicle. If you have two previous DUI convictions in the past ten years (Virginia “failure” or “retrospective” period), then you can be charged with a Class 6 felony for your third offense. Virginia Code Section 18.2-270 provides penalties for drunk driving (DWI), commonly called DUI or drunk driving. Under Virginia law, anyone who has three DUI offenses “committed within a 10-year period will be guilty of a Class 6 felony upon conviction of the third offense.
Your manifest consent or a court order is required to test your blood after a DUI arrest, or, alternatively, the officer must show that pressing circumstances require a blood draw without a court order. We will use the Virginia DUI and Virginia DWI terms interchangeably because the law applies the same way to DUI and DWI cases in Virginia. A second DUI offense can result in prison, and a third DWI offense is a felony with 3-6 months of mandatory minimum jail time. Any DUI arrest should be taken very seriously, and legal advice should be sought immediately to get the best possible outcome.
There are 5 general ways to receive DUI charges in Virginia, all of which will result in the loss of your license, fines and possibly even jail time.