Matney Law PLLC - Newport News Virginia - Traffic Court & DUI Attorney
Mark R. Matney - Attorney - Newport News - DUI Attorney

Penalties For DUI Conviction

Penalties For DUI Conviction

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

Speeding Ticket Defense Attorney

Mark Matney - DUI - Reckless Driving - Matney Law PLLC - Newport News VirginiaSpeeding Ticket

Do you need a speeding ticket defense attorney, then please consider Matney Law, PLLC in Newport News Virginia. (757) 784-3507 The lawyers at the Matney Law Firm handle everything from a speeding ticket to speeding while on a restricted license. Our traffic court lawyers handle cases in Hampton Roads, Williamsburg, Newport News, Yorktown, Gloucester, Surry, and Virginia Beach.

Call 757-784-3507 or EMAIL Matney Law for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation!

How much does your insurance go up for a speeding ticket?

"So, using these averages, a driver with a clean driving record is paying $1,310 a year for car insurance. One speeding ticket could remove that discount and increase your rate by 10 percent. That is a $611 increase a year, or $1,833 over three years; companies usually surcharge for three to five years."

How long does it take to get a speeding ticket off your record?

Most points (illegal turn, not making a complete stop, driving over the speed limit, etc.) and/or accidents will stay on your driver record for 39 months (3 years, 3 months). Points for more serious offenses, such as hit-and-run or a DUI, will stay on your record for 13 years.

Case Results

Today I helped a friend with a Speeding charge in Chesterfield County. When I reviewed the trooper’s calibration record for his radar equipment, I noticed that it expired four days after he stopped my friend. FOUR DAYS from an outright dismissal. Since I could not win based on an outdated radar calibration, I worked it out for the charge to be dismissed when my friend pays the court costs and submits a certificate for a driver improvement course.

Matney Law - DUI Attorney - Newport News - Hampton Roads area of VirginiaMark R. Matney - Attorney - Newport News - DUI Attorney

Handling a wide array of traffic violation cases

I regularly represent clients charged with traffic violations, including:

Reckless driving
Expired registration
Expired license
Running a red light or stop sign
Failure to signal when changing lanes
Failure to wear a seatbelt
Driving under the influence (DUI)
Driving without a license or with a suspended license
Leaving the scene of an accident
Violating license restrictions
Hit-and-run accidents
Passing a Stopped School Bus
Failure to Yield
Unsafe Lane Change
Following too Closely
Whether you have been charged with a moving or nonmoving violation, I possess the knowledge needed to protect your best interests in traffic court.

Reckless by Speeding - Call the Lawyers at Matney Law - Newport News VA

Reckless Driving & Speeding

Reckless by Speeding - Call the Lawyers at Matney Law - Newport News VAReckless Driving & Speeding

Matney Law PLLC of Newport News Virginia defends people in traffic court charged with reckless driving & speeding.  The lawyers at Matney Law know you do not have to live with a criminal record or a misdemeanor conviction.  Call Mark Matney for review of the traffic charge against you!  We serve Williamsburg, Gloucester, Yorktown, Newport News, Hampton, James City County, and the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

Call 757-784-3507 or Click Here to email Matney Law for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation!

lawyer Mark Matney has a top 10 AVVO rating for 2018Reckless Driving & Speeding

Reckless Driving & Speeding violations can be complex to deal with in Virginia. Matney Law, PLLC knows you might be pulled over for speeding and expect to receive a simple ticket, only to discover that you are actually facing a misdemeanor charge for reckless driving that will appear on your criminal record.

Attorney Mark Matney - Newport News Virginia - DUI & DWI attorneyMatney Law Can Help!

You do not have to live with a criminal record or explaining a misdemeanor conviction to employers. Attorney Mark Matney can help you fight the charge so that you can move on with your life.  Mr. Matney will coach you as he prepares your case for court and he will advocate for you on your trial date. Our team will help you understand your legal options and rights. We will answer all of your questions and address all of your concerns so that you are prepared for your day in court. You will be involved and informed throughout the process.

Categories of Reckless Driving

There are several categories of reckless driving in addition to speeding identified by Matney Law:
___ Driving Without a License or Driving While Suspended or revoked
___ Speeding
___ Passing a Stopped School Bus
___ Failure to Obey a Highway Sign
___ Running a stop sign
___ Failure to yeild


What should I do to prepare for my case?

Obtain a copy of your driving transcript from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

If your DMV record shows a negative point balance, then compete a DMV approved driving course.

Have your speedometer calibrated if speed is an element of your case.

Obtain the full names and addresses of any witnesses who are involved in your case.

Obtain copies of any medical records related to your case.

What is the maximum sentence if the court finds me guilty of reckless driving?

Reckless driving is a class one misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of twelve months in jail and/or a fine of $2,500.00. (Virginia Code, section 18.2-11). The judge may also suspend your driver’s license.

Do I face any active jail time for reckless driving?

In the Hampton Roads area, the primary reasons for active jail time in reckless driving cases are: speeding above 89 miles per hour, bad prior driving record, lack of cooperation with the police, and accident cases.

How long will a reckless driving conviction stay on my record?

As a misdemeanor, a reckless driving conviction will remain on your Virginia criminal record permanently. However, reckless driving will be removed from your DMV record after eleven years.

How many demerit points will the DMV assign me for a reckless driving charge?

DMV assigns six demerit points for any reckless driving charge.

What is the general rule for reckless driving?

The Virginia Code provides that, “[i]rrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.” (Virginia Code, section 46.2-852).

Can a reckless driving charge be reduced or amended to a less serious charge?

Lawyers typically try to have reckless driving charges reduced to improper driving. The judge has discretion to amend the charge to improper driving when the poor driving behavior is less severe. The advantages of improper driving include that it is a traffic infraction instead of a misdemeanor, it carries fewer DMV demerit points, and the maximum fine is $500.00.

For reckless driving due to speeding, it is sometimes possible to reduce the charge to the traffic offense of speeding. This usually requires a good driving record and a speed that is close to the threshold for reckless driving.