First Time DUI
You never thought it could happen to you. But here you are, facing DUI charges. If you’re like most people facing a first time DUI, you have a lot of questions. Will you lose your license? If so, for how long? Are you going to spend time in jail? What does this mean for your future? The first thing to realize is that just because you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence doesn’t mean that you’re going to be found guilty. At Robinson Law, PLLC, we have a team of Fairfax DUI defense attorneys with decades of practical experience successfully representing clients in exactly the same situation as the one you’re in right now. We know you’ll have questions, and we’re prepared to answer them.What Are the Punishments for a First Time DUI in Virginia?
Virginia has some incredibly harsh DUI sentencing laws. However, because this is your first offense, the good news is that it is very unlikely that a judge would impose anything near the maximum penalty, which includes:
- Up to a year in jail,
- A fine of $2,500,
- A one-year license suspension imposed by the court, and
- A seven-day license suspension imposed by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
Often, judges are open to the possibility of sparing first-time DUI offenders from any jail sentence. And depending on your situation, you may qualify for a restricted license. However, if you obtain a restricted license, you will only be able to drive to pre-determined destinations (i.e., work or school), and you will need to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.The DUI Process Explained
Every state’s DUI laws are a little different. In Virginia, as soon as you are arrested for a DUI, the officer will confiscate your driver’s license. Because this is your first DUI arrest, the suspension will last seven days. After that, you’ll get your license back, at least until trial.
If you beat the case, that’s the end of the story. However, if you are ultimately convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the judge will sentence you to whatever they feel is appropriate. Often, this results in a term of probation and a fine ranging between $250 to $500. However, if your blood alcohol content was over .15, then the judge is required to sentence you to at least five days in jail. And, if your BAC was over .20, then the judge will be required to sentence you to at least ten days in jail—even for a first offense DUI.Are There Diversionary Programs for First Time DUIs?
Unfortunately, there is little in the way of diversionary programs, even for those facing their first DUI offense. However, in certain circumstances, a DUI defense attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to amend the criminal complaint to reflect reckless driving instead of driving under the influence. While reckless driving is still considered a criminal offense, it is far less serious than a DUI conviction and typically does not result in a lengthy license suspension. However, because no prosecutor wants to appear “soft” on DUIs, these situations are often limited to those cases where the evidence against you is fairly weak.
Rather than offer diversionary programs, Virginia law allows for those convicted of a first DUI offense to petition the court for a restricted license. This allows you to drive to certain predetermined locations, usually during certain times of day and is contingent upon you installing and paying for an ignition interlock device.Reach out to an Experienced Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney to Get Started on a Defense Today
If you are facing your first DUI in Northern Virginia, it’s easy to panic. However, the reality is that thousands of people have made it through the same situation. At Robinson Law, PLLC, we’re here to make sure that your DUI arrest has as little impact on your future as possible. From the moment we get involved in your case, we will listen to what’s most important to you and fight hard for the best possible result. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation today, call (703) 844-3746. You can also connect with us through our online contact form. We proudly represent clients in Fairfax, Loudon, Stafford, and Suffolk counties, as well as throughout Northern Virginia