Motorists in Virginia are usually charged with DUI (driving under the influence) when their blood alcohol concentration(BAC) measures at least 0.08%. For commercial drivers, the minimum BAC value required for a DUI charge is 0.04.
In Virginia, a first-time drunk-driving conviction is a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 12 months in jail and up to $2500 fines. However, most first DUIs don’t carry a compulsory jail sentence. The offender will likely pay at least $250 fine and have their driving license suspended for one year.
A second conviction carries up to one year in jail, at least $500 fine, and license revocation for one year. Third and subsequent DUI convictions in Virginia are felonies with more severe penalties.
Even after facing the above DUI penalties, you cannot escape some collateral consequences.
You’ll be required to complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program(VASAP), which sets off with a drug and alcohol assessment. Depending on the evaluation results, you may need to undergo treatment and/or enroll in alcohol classes.
Other consequences include but not limited to higher insurance premiums, criminal record, and community service.
But most importantly, how long does a DUI stay in your record? The answer to this question will depend on whether you are talking about a criminal record or DMV driving record.
You might also be interested in knowing how long a DUI conviction affects your auto insurance. Read on to get these concerns answered comprehensively.
A criminal record details your criminal history, including arrests, charges, and convictions. Virginia law enforcement can look up your criminal history, and use it against you in a subsequent offense case, often resulting in severer penalties.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense in the state of Virginia, and will remain in your criminal record forever, with zero to little chance for expungement.
Government agencies and private parties have the leeway to check an individual’s criminal record when processing the following:
Note some criminal record sections are publicly available, meaning individuals can still search for your criminal history.
Whether you are arrested, charged, or convicted with DUI, any of these dispositions will reflect in your criminal record.
The possibilities of having DUI offense expunged from your criminal record can only occur under unique circumstances. In most cases, the expungement occurs when a convicted driver proves a wrongful conviction.
However, the expunged DUI may still show up in a comprehensive background check.
A typical employer may not see your expunged offense, and should not demand that you reveal it.
Bearing the above information in mind, think carefully before pleading guilty to driving under the influence.
It’s in your best interest to consult a trusted and experienced Virginia DUI lawyer to improve the chances of a favorable outcome, be it getting lesser charges or having the charges dropped altogether.
In your defense, your attorney may challenge the test results, roadside tests, or a traffic stop to save you from a criminal conviction.
Your DMV driving record includes all your driving violations, including deferred prosecutions revocations, suspensions, disqualifications and collisions.
You will receive a particular number of demerit points on your driving license whenever you’re convicted with a traffic-related crime.
Driving under influence conviction carries six demerit points valid for two years from the conviction date.
In Virginia, a DUI conviction remains in your driving record for 11 years. This period is known as the “look-back” or “washout” period, which can have a significant influence on a subsequent conviction. If you commit another DUI offense within this period, you will be charged as a second offender, thereby facing harsher penalties.
However, if the subsequent crime occurs at a time beyond the look-back period, you will be charged as a first-time DUI offender.
A DUI conviction can have incredible consequences on your auto insurance in Virginia.
You expect your car insurance company to respond to your conviction.
Exactly how your insurance provider can legally react is governed by Virginia insurance laws, but you can expect them to cancel or refuse to renew your policy, increase your premiums, or limit your coverage provisions. The responses can also be subject to your negative history with the provider, including unpaid or late premiums.
If your insurance company raises your premiums to unreasonable amounts or cancels your policy, you can seek coverage from a high-risk-driver insurance provider. Unfortunately, the nonstandard policies obtained from these providers have relatively higher premiums.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, anyone convicted of driving under alcohol or drug influence must file a Financial Responsibility Certificate known as FR-44. It’s issued through your automobile insurance company and serves to guarantee DMV that you (a high-risk driver) are maintaining the required auto insurance coverage.
The FR44 is similar to SR-22, except that it has higher liability coverage limits.
With that in mind, when does DUI fall off your insurance? It depends on whether you’ll wait for your revocation period to expire.
If you wait until the revocation period is over, you’ll need to maintain the FR-44 for three years, paying higher premiums than other drivers. In contrast, you’ll be required to maintain the certificate for four years if you obtain a restricted license before the expiry of the revocation period,
FR-44 minimum coverage limits are double the typical auto insurance limits.
For most drivers in Virginia, the minimum coverage limits are:
Contrarily, the FR-44 minimum coverage amounts are:
From the above figures, it’s evident that auto insurance becomes more complicated and expensive when a DUI conviction appears on your criminal or DMV driving record. An attorney experienced in Virginia laws can help you avoid or minimize these complications.
Driving under the influence conviction in Virginia carries far-reaching consequences.
Partner with an experienced, trusted and reliable Virginia DUI attorney to get the best possible outcome of your case, and escape the harsh realities of a conviction. Look no further, attorney Jad Sarsour-a Virginia attorney trusted by thousands of clients- has got you covered.
Mr. Jad will examine your case, educate you on your rights, determine your options, and identify the best way to proceed. To schedule a free consultation with attorney Jad, fill this online form, or call 703-385-6868.