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Everything You Need to Know About DUI's & DWI's in Virginia 

The following is written by one of our experienced DUI attorneys to help you understand the the basics of DUI laws and penalties in Virginia. After learning about DUI charges in Virginia, contact one of our DUI lawyers for a free consultation and case assessment. 


The Basics 

In Virginia, Driving Under the Influence is a class 1 misdemeanor outlined in Virginia Code § 18.2-266.  Therefore, the maximum penalties for a DUI in Virginia (first offense) include, a fine of up to $2,500, a jail sentence of up to 12 months, and a license suspension of up to 12 months. Additional conditions of a typical DUI sentence include, mandatory ASAP alcohol education classes, probation, and installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. 

When Can You be Convicted of DUI in Virginia

Generally, in Virginia, you can be convicted of the crime of DUI when you:

  • Drive under the influence of alcohol 

  • Drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher 

  • Drive under the influence of marijuana or another drug/intoxicant 

Differing Penalties for a DUI in Virginia 

Penalties for a DUI in Virginia change based on the number of prior DUI convictions on a defendant's record as well as the blood alcohol content of the driver connected with the offense.  

First Offenses 

For first offense DUI's, penalties will change based on the blood alcohol content of the driver. For a blood alcohol content of .15 to .20, the law requires a mandatory minimum of five (5) days in jail. Even more serious, a blood alcohol content over .20, carries a mandatory minimum of ten (10) days jail. If your blood alcohol was below .15, there is no mandatory jail sentence. See the break-down below:

  • .08-.14-No mandatory minimum of jail time.

  • .15-.20-Five (5) days mandatory minimum of jail time 

  • .21 and above-10 days mandatory minimum of jail time

Consecutive DWI Offenses 

Consecutive DUI offenses in a certain number of years will lead to increased penalties and mandatory minimums for DUI convictions. See Virginia Code § 18.2-270 for a break-down of these increased penalties. 

Virginia ASAP Program for DUI Convictions 

If you are convicted of a DUI in Virginia, you’ll have to do VASAP. This is Virginia's Alcohol Safety Action Program. This will come standard with any DUI conviction, so there is no way around this requirement. Expect VASAP classes to run a minimum of 10 weeks of classes. Each class is normally two hours long. Depending upon your record and substance abuse history, you may be required to do additional things such as therapy and AA meetings.

DUI Defenses 

An experienced lawyers knows several important DUI defenses. These defenses are incredibly technical and nuanced. So much so, that one of our best DUI attorneys is doing a weekly series outlining each defense in detail. These defenses include:

Click each link to read more about these separate DUI Defenses. 



The consequences of a DUI conviction in Virginia can be immense. The Pickett Law Group, PLLC is an experienced law firm with two generations of former prosecutors, who have handled numerous DUI cases. Our DUI Lawyers have successfully fought DUI charges in Fairfax County, Arlington County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County. Contact one of our DUI Attorneys today for a free consultation and assessment of your case. We have what it takes to help you beat the charge. 

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