If you’ve found yourself in the awful position of being pulled over and arrested by the police for driving under the influence, you’ll no doubt be worried about what’s coming next.
Will I lose my license? Will I go to jail? Am I going to be fined? These are just a few of the questions that might be going around your head.
In most instances, a DUI in Virginia is a misdemeanor offense but there are circumstances when it becomes a felony.
When does a DUI become a felony?
Virginia is tough on those who habitually choose to drive under the influence and imposes harsh penalties as a result.
A DUI in Virginia becomes a Class 6 felony when it’s the third offense within a ten-year period. This holds a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail and a minimum of one year if the three offenses occurred within a five-year period. There’s also a minimum fine of $1000. If you’ve been found guilty of a felony DUI previously at any time you can also be charged with a felony offense in subsequent arrests.
There are other felony offenses that you risk being charged with if you were intoxicated and caused an accident. For example, if you injured another person as a result of your DUI, you may face charges for causing harm to that person. This can vary in seriousness depending on the level of injury caused, ranging from DUI maiming all the way up to aggravated or involuntary manslaughter.
A strong defense is the best way to fight a DUI charge effectively. Making sure you seek some legal help as soon as possible after your arrest is essential in fighting your case.