Enhanced Penalties for Certain DWI Offenses in Virginia

When it comes to extreme cases of DWI, Virginia imposes so called, “enhanced penalties.”  These are cases where the driving behavior was particularly dangerous, such as where the driver caused an accident or almost caused one, where the intoxicated driver’s vehicle had multiple passengers or juvenile passengers, or where the driver had a bad driving record.   Some “enhanced penalties” are in the discretion of the Court, but others are required by law.

Second/Third Offenses

Where a person is convicted of a second DWI within five (5) years of the prior offense, he or she will serve at least twenty (20) days in jail.  A second offense within ten (10) years requires the person to serve at least ten (10) days in jail.

In cases of third offenses within a ten (10) year period, the DWI becomes a felony rather than a misdemeanor.  Not only that, the person must serve at least ninety (90) days, unless the offense occurs within five (5) years of previous two, and in that case, a six (6) month sentence is required.

A fourth or subsequent offense within a ten (10) year period is a felony with a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one (1) year.

All second, third, and fourth DWI convictions include additional mandatory fines and license suspensions as well.

Elevated Blood Alcohol Content

There are enhanced penalties when a person has an elevated blood alcohol level (BAC) at the time of driving.  Again, theses penalties are not exhaustive, but provide insight on the significance of more serious DWI offenses.  If you are convicted of a DWI with BAC was (.15) to (.19), you will be required to serve at least five (5) days in jail.  If your BAC was (.20) or higher, you will serve at least ten (10) days in jail.  These mandatory sentences are doubled on second offenses.

For more information, feel free to contact me directly.  You can also find additional useful information on my Avvo.com site at:  http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/22030-va-james-abrenio-1822684.html

James S. Abrenio

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