Just like first offenses in every charge such as reckless driving, first offense driving under influence in Virginia is slightly different than recurring driving under influence offenses.
When a driver driving under influence in Virginia is charged for the first time, as a first offence driving under influence, he/she may face penalties that include, but are not limited to, a driver’s license suspension, a monetary fine, and/or jail time. However, there are usually some mitigating factors imposed by judges when the driver driving under influence commits such act as a first offense such as not imposing an active jail sentence.
Many factors matter when a driver driving under influence is charged as a first offence. Factors such as the blood alcohol content, being under the age of 21, and whether there were minor children with the driver in the car, are of major importance.
In case the driver’s blood alcohol content is lower than 0.15, the driver would, in that case, face a class one misdemeanour with penalties that may constitute of paying a fine that does not exceed an amount of $2,500, spending a term not exceeding 12 months in jail, and/or a revocation of the driver’s administrative license. The above stated penalties are considered as maximum penalties in first offenses driving under influence in Virginia. However, exceptions do exist.
Usually, the monetary fine is $250 for driving under influence, however, in case there was a minor present in the car, the monetary amount shifts higher depending on the circumstances.
In case the driver’s blood alcohol content is between 0.15 and 0.20, an additional mandatory jail time sentence of five days is imposed on the driver apart from the original penalties mentioned above.
In case the driver’s blood alcohol content is over 0.20, an additional mandatory jail time sentence of fifteen days total (Including the first five days) is imposed on the driver apart from the original penalties mentioned above.
Also, in case the driver driving under influence caused a direct or indirect damage to a public or private property, the charge imposed on the driver will most likely be aggravated by the judge assigned to the case.
In terms of reinstating the driver’s license, the driver is required to complete an alcohol safety and education program. Also, in case the driver was charged with driving under influence with a blood alcohol level over 0.15, he/she would have to utilize an ignition interlock device when reinstating his/her license.
Moreover, judges do take in consideration active jail time in case the driver driving under influence for the first time results in an accident.
Even though there isn’t a “rule of thumb” indicating the exact penalty that the driver driving under influence would be charged with, it is always advisable that the driver that drove under influence contacts a law office and/or an attorney at law for his/her case. This is highly recommended as specialized and trained attorneys at law will provide assistance to try and mitigate the penalties associated with the driver’s case.