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Matney Law PLLC has put together this detailed document for Penalties For DUI Conviction in Virginia. The Matney Law firm provides legal defense for drunk drivers in Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, and the counties of York, James City, New Kent, Isle of Wight, and Surry.
Call 757-784-3507 or Click Here to email Matney Law for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation!
What are the Penalties for a DUI conviction in Virginia?
Virginia Code Section 18.2-270 provides mandatory minimum sentencing requirements for people who are convicted of DUI and imposes enhanced penalties for cases that involve a high BAC and/or a subsequent offense. A judge must sentence someone who is convicted of a first offense DUI whose BAC is below 0.15 as follows: fine between $250 and $2,500, one year license suspension, completion of the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP), and installation of an ignition interlock system for 6–12 months. Although there is no mandatory jail sentence for a first offense DUI with a BAC under 0.15, judges typically order a suspended jail sentence that could be imposed if the person fails to complete VASAP or does not remain of good behavior. In most cases, a first offender does not go to jail other than at the time of the arrest, receives a restricted license to drive for work, school, and certain other defined purposes on the day of court, and receives a fine close to the $250 minimum.
With respect to the alcohol level, even for a first offense, jail will be imposed for a BAC of 0.15 or above. In Virginia, a BAC of 0.15 to 0.20 will result in a five-day mandatory minimum jail sentence and if the BAC is above 0.20 the jail sentence will increase to a mandatory minimum of 10 days.
The penalties for a DUI conviction increase dramatically for a second offense. The judge must order the defendant’s license to be suspended for three years and the minimum fine increases to $500. If the second offense occurs within five years of the first offense, there is a mandatory minimum 20-day jail sentence and the defendant will not be eligible to apply for a restricted license until one year after the date of the conviction. If the second offense occurs within five to ten years of the first offense, then the mandatory minimum jail sentence is ten days and a restricted license may be obtained after four months. In both cases the judge may impose the ignition interlock machine for as long as the person has a restricted license.
The BAC is a significant factor in a second offense. The mandatory minimum jail sentence for a high BAC doubles when attached to a second offense. Thus, a person who is convicted of a second offense DUI with an elevated BAC will receive 10 mandatory days of jail with a BAC of 0.15 to 0.20 or a minimum of 20 days of jail if the BAC is over 0.20. Significantly, the mandatory jail for a high BAC is in addition to the mandatory jail for the second offense itself. This means that if a person is convicted of a second offense DUI within five years of a first offense and has a BAC over 0.20, then he would receive a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 20 days for the second offense, plus at least 20 days of jail for the high BAC, for a total of at least 40 days in jail.
A third offense DUI conviction is a Class 6 felony. This means the loss of certain rights (such as voting, serving as a notary, and possessing a firearm) in addition to the penalties imposed by the court. Being found guilty of a third DUI results in an indefinite license suspension and no opportunity to apply for a restricted license until three years after the conviction. The minimum fine for a third DUI is $1,000. The sentencing range for a third DUI conviction is one to five years with a mandatory minimum time in jail of six months for a third offense within five years and at least three months in jail if the third offense is within five to ten years of the priors.
In addition to the mandatory sentencing requirements of the Virginia Code, judges evaluate several other factors to determine whether a DUI sentence should include enhanced penalties. These factors include: blood alcohol level, refusal to submit to blood alcohol testing, whether or not the driver caused an accident, degree of cooperation with law enforcement, any additional charges against the defendant, and any prior criminal history. Moreover, many judges consider personal injuries to others as an aggravating factor that justifies imposing or increasing time in jail. In one of my first-offense DUI cases, the driver injured his passenger and received a six-month jail sentence (three months to serve after good time credit) and in another first-offense DUI case the driver injured a couple who was driving another vehicle and received a twelve-month jail sentence, which he appealed to the next level court. Most first-offense DUI cases do not involve any active jail time, but the extent of the injuries in these two cases provoked the judges to deal more harshly with the defendants.
It is important to note that judges consider lack of cooperation with the police when they make their sentencing determinations. Two reckless driving cases that I handled demonstrate how judges react adversely to conflict between the client and the police. The two clients were in similar situations with comparable speeds and the same judge. The first driver saw his charge amended from the misdemeanor of reckless driving to a traffic infraction. However, the second driver was found guilty of reckless driving. The driver who was convicted of reckless driving had ranted and cursed at the police officer. The judge was simply unwilling to give that driver a break after he had been so discourteous and uncooperative with the officer.
One situation that sometimes affects sentencing is a client’s past criminal history. If a client had a DUI conviction more than ten years before the new charge, then the prior offense cannot be used to elevate the new charge to a second offense. However, the prosecutor or the judge may argue that the person should not be treated the same as someone who is truly a first offender. This argument is sometimes successful in obtaining a more severe sentence than would be typical for someone without the prior record.
Matney Law Reviews… (See Google Business Page) We are pleased to share a sampling of the review that former clients have provided for Matney Law, PLLC (Learn More...) . The Lawyers at Matney Law defend people throughout Hampton Roads against DUI / DWI, Reckless Driving, and other traffic related violations. For more reviews, please visit: www.avvo.com | www.rateabiz.com
Mr. Matney and his crew did a fantastic job handling my case. They were all very professional, communicative, and kept me in the loop each step of the way. I commend them for that. Yesterday I even received a closing packet in the mail, never have before, pretty awesome. I hope to never need them again, but if I do, I will not hesitate to call and/or recommend his office to a friend. Thanks again! 7-6-2020
First Time Getting a Ticket
First time getting a ticket and it was an out of state ticket in Virginia. Mr. Matney was referred to me by a friend and I reached out by email, receiving a call from him after 5 pm on a Friday asking me all my information and giving me advise even before I hired him. Once I did the communication on the process and how everything would and should work was quick and spot on. The advice given to me by Mr. Matney and his team, (Mary Alice and Claire) was a big relief and helped calm my fears never having dealt with a ticket but an out of state ticket at that. The out come of my speeding ticket was that it was reduced to defective equipment. Having given them all my information and probably more than they needed helped Mr. Matney prepare my case and I didn't even have to drive over 3+ hrs to be in court that day. Would recommend them (and have already) to anyone who receives a ticket in VA - and watch out for those rural areas where the speed changes quickly!
Excellent Job Representing Me!
Mark Matney did an excellent job representing me in a reckless driving charge. I was more than satisfied with his work. He was thoroughly professional and experienced, knew the law, and described what would happen when we appeared in court. He laid out the possible outcomes, carefully distinguishing between the most desirable outcome (charges dismissed) and what we might have to consider as an acceptable outcome (charges reduced, which was the outcome and with no demerit points). Mark is a courteous, friendly person, who listened to my story and made me feel comfortable during the entire process. I would not hesitate to use his services again or recommend him.
So Thankful I Called Matney Law
After my accident, I was extremely nervous about my court fine(s), insurance rate going up, and the mark it would leave on my driving record. I rear-ended someone in stop-and-go traffic, which caused them to rear-end the car ahead of them - nobody was hurt, and I was given a "following too closely" ticket. My best option was to hire a lawyer, but, being from out of town left me blindsided since I knew nobody in the area who could recommend the best lawyer. After investigating many law firm websites, I decided to call Matney Law, and I am SO thankful I did! Their Avvo badges on their website, the provided list of case outcomes, and the many wonderful reviews I read were what made my decision easy. I also liked that the consultation was free! I left a message, since I called after office hours, but shortly after leaving my message Mr. Matney called me back. I explained my situation to him and he made sure to ease my mind as he explained how having a lawyer through this process would work. He answered all of my questions thoroughly and made me feel very comfortable about having his firm represent me. Not once did I feel rushed or like I was just another paycheck. His assistants were both very sweet and helpful throughout the time leading up to my court date, too. Ms. Abigail Hockett represented me on the date, and I feel that she is just as wonderful as Mr. Matney! She called me about a week before the court date to go over information and she, too, put my mind at ease. She explained the possible outcomes and finalized the exchange of any additional documents I had that would help support my case (new tire receipts, etc.) On my court date, she went over what would happen in the courtroom and had given the judge documents to support my case beforehand to look over, in the hopes of the best possible outcome - dismissal of the ticket. I think we were in the courtroom for all of five minutes... after the judge called my name, he looked at my paperwork and dismissed my ticket. Thank you so much, Matney Law, for everything you have done for me! From all of the reviews I have read, it seems like this is the royal treatment that every one of your clients gets. Hopefully I will not be in the same situation again, but if I am I will absolutely hire you again without hesitation. If you are on the fence as to what law firm can help you, I urge you to call Matney Law. 10/10 experience.
5.0 stars - Posted by Michael - January 21, 2017
Received a summons for reckless driving while on travel to VA (85mph in a 60). Called Mark immediately upon arrival to my hotel. He returned my call within a very short amount of time. His price is fair, staff is exceptional, and he has a plan. He put me at ease and gave me confidence that things would be ok after preparing for the trial date. His approach is pragmatic and realistic...
Mark Randolph Matney’s response: “Rewarding result. You definitely helped us to help you by following the game plan and providing the documents that helped me present your case to the judge.”
Impressed by Your Kindness & Consideration
5.0 stars - Posted by PKK - January 1, 2017
I wanted to take a moment to personally thank you for the professional manner in which you handled my son's summons of 'following too close' in the City of Newport News. When I contacted your office, I was immediately impressed by the kindness and consideration shown by you and Claire, your office manager, respectfully...
DUI and Reckless Driving
5.0 stars - Posted by anonymous - December 12, 2016
It was one of the hardest moments of my life. I was pulled over for going 85 in a 60 and DUI. My career was about to be over. I keep asking myself how I could have been so stupid. I chose Mr. Matney after calling and reviewing a few Lawyers. I was facing a Reckless Driving charge and DUI. I was going to lose my license for a year, face huge fines, maybe...
Mark Randolph Matney’s response: “Thank you for your humbling review. This was a case where our pretrial preparation helped us exploit a weakness in the prosecutor's case. May you continue to see God's blessings in every area of your life.”
I Got My Ticket Reduced Significantly
5.0 stars - Posted by Jim Keene - November 16, 2016
I recently was pulled over for speeding. The speed limit sign was blocked by trees. I hired Mark Matney as my attorney. He was very well prepared. I got my ticket reduced significantly and I had no points deducted from my record. I would highly recommend Mark Matney.
Wills and Trust
5.0 stars - Posted by anonymous - August 26, 2016
Mr. Matney did not advertise that he dealt with wills and trust, but he took care of doing this for us. He was very professional and met with us several times before finalizing the document. He was very assuring to us that what we wanted would be done in a timely manner and it was. Very happy that we have Mr. Matney as our lawyer.
Mark Randolph Matney’s response: “Thank you for your testimonial. I appreciated the opportunity to help. When I was with a general practice firm earlier in my career, I was trained in estate planning. I enjoy the opportunity to help people with their wills or trusts because I know that it will benefit them and their loved ones.”
5.0 stars - Posted by Tyrone - June 12, 2016
Calling Mr. Matney, was one of the best decision I ever made. His professionalism before and during my court case was top notch and ended with an excellent result!! His staff was great during this process, answering any questions or concerns promptly. I'm truly thankful for Mark and his staff. I highly recommend him for your legal needs!
5.0 stars - Posted by Paul - June 9, 2016
Mark Matney and his staff were very helpful and diligent in their representation of myself and my case. Communication was quick and concise, but easy to understand and the follow up when contacted was great. Great attorney and great office staff to deal with
Mark Randolph Matney’s response: “We appreciated the opportunity to help with this defense. This result is a good example of the importance of prior planning. In this reckless driving by speed case, we were able to avoid the misdemeanor even though the trial was held in the client's absence since he was an out of state resident.”
Professional and Respectful Representation
5.0 stars - Posted by anonymous - May 25, 2016
Mr. Matney and staff showed a level of professionalism, sensitivity and respect that I have not experienced from any dealings with other lawyers. He kept in contact with me on a consistent basis and kept me abreast of all processes and procedures. His representation resulted in a very satisfying outcome in my case. I highly recommend this wonderful team!
Mark Randolph Matney’s response: “I especially appreciate your comment for its acknowledgement of the outstanding help I receive from my staff. We appreciated the opportunity to participate in your case and to help you resolve a difficult situation. Thank you.”
5.0 stars - Posted by Brian - March 6, 2016
I called Mr. Matneys office a couple minutes before they closed and he talked to me about my case for a little while. He was in no rush to get off the phone and answered all my questions. When I hung up I knew I had found my attorney. In court he maintained his cool and very collected composure and got my reckless reduced to improper driving. Would recommend him to anyone with a traffic/dui charge.
Mark Randolph Matney’s response: “Thank you for your input Brian. I believe that a significant part of my role as lawyer is helping people to prepare for their time in court. I want each client to know what to expect and to feel ready for any questions that are raised during the hearing.”
One of VA's finest Attorneys!!
5.0 stars - Posted by Sheref - January 31, 2016
I am from NJ and was travelling to VA Beach Labor Day weekend. I was pulled over by a state trooper for doing 85 in a 60 and received a reckless driving ticket. The trooper explained that this was a mandatory court appearance. Upon researching the VA traffic laws, I learned if found guilty one could face jail time, a criminal record and heavy fines...
Mark Randolph Matney’s response: “Thank you for the opportunity to help you. I am very glad for your successful result! Part of my work is helping clients who are not local to understand the unique elements of the Virginia traffic laws and courts.”
DUI law can be complex and frustrating. With any other offense, you are innocent until proven guilty. But when you are facing a DUI, DWI, or a drunk driving charge, the results of a blood or breath test render you presumed to be under the influence and in violation of the law. This means that if you are facing DUI charges, you need to be represented by an experienced lawyer who knows DUI defense, please consider attorneys at Matney Law PLLC. Our focus coverage area is with a focus on the cities of Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, and the counties of York, James City, New Kent, Isle of Wight, and Surry.
Call 757-784-3507 or Click Hereto email Matney Law for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation!
Need A DUI Attorney?
If you need aDUI attorney, you can count on Lawyer Mark Matney. Mr. Matney will take the time to explain the DUI law and answer all your questions. He and his staff will support you as you prepare for your day in court. Mr. Matney will be your advocate on your trial date to help ensure that you obtain the best possible outcome.
We Prepare You!
Mark Matney will thoroughly prepare for your case by accessing records from the police officer and prosecutor, reviewing any videos, analyzing reports from the Department of Forensic Science, and obtaining your side of what happened through a detailed client questionnaire.
A conviction of driving under the influence results in many serious penalties. You may face consequences such as:
• Fine and court costs • Jail sentence • Suspended license • Ignition interlock machine • Assignment to Alcohol Safety Action Program • Insurance cancellation or rate increase • Assignment of DMV demerit points
Try and Handle On Your Own
If you try to handle a DUI charge on your own, you may miss legal, factual, medical, or technical defenses that may be available to you in your case. Let an experienced DUI defense lawyer assist you so that you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you explored every possible avenue to defend against your charge.
Free Initial Consultation
At Matney Law, PLLC, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your pending DUI case and assess your options. We have flexible appointment availability to accommodate your busy schedule. We also work with you on your fee through payment plans and early payment discounts.