First Offense DUI Charges
Our Norfolk, VA DUI defense lawyers get results
Have you been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia for the first time? Your first DUI charge can be overwhelming, confusing, and frightening. Suddenly, you might be in jail. Your driver’s license might be suspended. You could be facing other penalties as well, especially if you’re charged and convicted of DUI.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI for the first time, you need to act fast. Otherwise, you could miss out on opportunities to fight the charges against you and put your life back together.
We know what’s at stake at Welch & Wright, PLLC. That’s why our Virginia DUI defense attorneys want to help. Our trial-tested lawyers know the rules and regulations that apply to first DUI offenses in Virginia, and we can work with you to build the strongest possible legal defense. Our mission is your freedom.
What happens after someone’s first DUI arrest in Virginia?
If you have been arrested for DUI in Virginia for the first time, several things often happen right away:
- Police officer might administer a roadside breathalyzer test, also known as a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT).
- A second DUI breathalyzer test – known as an Evidentiary Breath Test (EBT) – or a DUI blood test might be given at the police station.
- You might be required to remain in police custody after your arrest, especially if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher.
- If your BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, the police will likely take you to appear before a Virginia magistrate judge, who will decide whether to charge you with DUI.
- The magistrate judge will also decide whether to release you or keep you in jail after your arrest.
Most people charged with DUI for the first time in Virginia are released by the police after appearing before a magistrate judge, but there’s no guarantee. You may end up having to stay in jail after your first DUI arrest.
Will my driver’s license automatically be suspended?
Yes. If you are arrested and charged with DUI in Virginia for the first time, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for 7 days immediately after you have been formally charged with DUI. This automatic driver’s license suspension is known as an administrative license suspension. Your driver’s license could be suspended for even longer depending on the circumstances of your DUI arrest in Virginia. The police will likely hold onto your license during this suspension period, and you may go back after that time to retrieve it.
What are the penalties for a first DUI conviction in Virginia?
The penalties for your first DUI conviction in Virginia can vary depending on certain factors, including your age and BAC at the time of your arrest. The penalties for a first-time DUI conviction in Virginia can be found in Virginia Code 18.2-266 and include:
- Mandatory minimum fine of $250 and up to $2,500.
- Driver’s license suspended up to 12 months.
- Installation of ignition interlock device at judge’s discretion, depending on if a restricted license is being sought.
- Up to 1 year in jail.
- Automatic sentence of 5 days in jail if BAC over 0.15 percent but less than 0.2.
- Automatic sentence 10 days in jail if BAC is over 0.2 percent.
Will I serve time in jail for a first DUI conviction?
Many times, no, you will not have to serve time in jail for your first DUI conviction. However, don’t simply assume that you will automatically not be sentenced to serve time in jail just because you are a first-time offender. Some judges in Virginia can be especially tough. And the circumstances of each case can vary widely.
In many cases, you might not have to serve any time in jail if a judge sentences you to suspended jail time. There are two types of jail time when it comes to criminal charges in Virginia – active jail time and suspended jail time. Active jail time needs to be served in jail. Suspended jail time does not have to be served as long as you follow the court’s orders.
Can I appeal my first DUI conviction?
Under most circumstances, yes, you can appeal your DUI conviction in Virginia, even if you initially pleaded guilty. However, DUI appeal cases can be extremely complicated. You also have to act fast to appeal your decision.
The deadline to file an appeal for a DUI conviction in Virginia is 10 calendar days from the date of your conviction. Your DUI appeal – officially known as a Notice of Appeal – must be filed in the General District Court clerk’s office. And that’s just the start of what can be a very long, challenging legal process.
Know your rights. Contact our law firm
If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving for the first time in Virginia, you don’t have to tackle your legal case on your own. Make our law firm your first call. Contact us to learn more about your legal rights. Schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Norfolk, Virginia DUI defense lawyers. We can help you every step of the way.