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Richmond, VA Criminal Defense Lawyer

DUI Penalties

The outcome of DUI convictions can change your life. You must protect your future.

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Protecting the well-being of its citizens is at the heart of traffic laws in Virginia, especially those which define driving under the influence and set forth the consequences. It is important to understand the penalties for this crime if you are convicted; they can influence how you live your life and can even impact your family.

While the laws seem straightforward and the penalties are clearly identified, those who are charged are not automatically found guilty and sentenced. In fact, there are steps they can take to protect themselves and their future, the first of which is to engage an experienced Richmond DUI attorney.

Cody Villalon has made a commitment to serving those in and around his Richmond community. He is dedicated to protecting their rights, building quality defenses, and minimizing the impact of the actions they may have taken.

Facing DUI charges places you in an unfortunate situation, but Mr. Villalon knows how to help.

He is ready to leverage his decade of experience, hands-on commitment to personal and quality service, and knowledge of the local legal system to protect you.

If you have been charged with a DUI, reach out to Mr. Villalon today at 804.316.0765 to schedule a free consultation. This meeting provides you with the opportunity to see firsthand exactly how he works with his clients. It is an investment in your future; Mr. Villalon will review the facts of your case and share how he believes he can defend you.

Mr. Villalon strongly believes that knowledge is power.  As such, he has shared below the penalties one faces for conviction of DUI in Virginia.

DUI Charges in Virginia Can Change Your Life

What Is Driving Under the Influence?

Just as the words suggest, driving under the influence (DUI) means operating a vehicle while impaired. Because that term can be ambiguous, the state has identified specific metrics under which individuals can be charged.

These include being over 21 years of age and operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than .08; being under 21 and operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .02; and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, including those prescribed by your physician. You can also be charged with a DUI in Virginia if you are operating your vehicle unsafely (regardless of your BAC).  Keep in mind that even simply sitting in a parked car while under the influence can result in an arrest.

Penalties for Conviction Can Be Severe

Understanding First-Time DUI Penalties in Virginia

Make no mistake — while penalties for a first-time DUI offense are less serious than those for repeat offenders, they are still impactful and can affect both you and your family.

If the DUI did not result in an accident that caused a death or serious injury, you would likely be charged with a misdemeanor. If you are found guilty, you face a sentence that may include, among other things, monetary fines, jail time, and the suspension of your driving privileges. More specifically, the penalties involve:

  • A $250 mandatory minimum fine that, depending upon the circumstances, can go up to $2,500
  • Jail time of up to 12 months
  • One year suspension of your driver’s license.

In some cases, you may be eligible for a restricted license that would include the required installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for 6 months.

First-time offenders with a high blood alcohol content face severe mandatory minimum sentences.  These include five days in jail for a BAC between .15 and .20, and 10 days in jail for a BAC higher than .20.  Convicted drivers will also receive points on their license which impact insurance rates.

DUI convictions become part of your permanent record and can affect a host of opportunities in the future.

Clearly, if you have been charged with a DUI in Virginia, even if it is your first offense, you have reason to be concerned. Engaging a seasoned Richmond DUI attorney is a smart investment in your future.

Second-Time DUI Charges Are Even More Serious

In Virginia, being arrested and charged with a DUI for the second time is very concerning. While first-time offenders face impactful consequences, it is hoped that they would serve as a deterrent for repeat behaviors. When they don’t, offenders are dealt with harshly.

If found guilty of a DUI for a second time, sentencing depends upon the time between convictions. If the second offense falls more than 10 years after the first, the law regards it as a first offense.  However, if it falls within 10 years you will be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to:

  • Mandatory jail time of 10 days (20 if the offense was within 5 years of the first) and a maximum prison sentence of 12 months
  • $2,500 in fines ($500 of which is mandatory)
  • Mandatory minimum six month IID installation
  • License suspension of three years.

If your BAC is considered high, mandatory jail time is increased to 10 days for a BAC between .15 and .20 and 20 days for those whose BAC registers above a .20.

Third Time DUI Offenders Will Be Charged with a Felony

If you have been arrested and charged with your third DUI, you are facing life-changing consequences. These offenses are charged as a felony and the associated punishments are severe.  They include:

  • Jail time of a minimum of 6 months (mandatory) with a maximum of five years
  • Fines of a mandatory minimum of $1,000 with a maximum of $2,500 (court costs are additional)
  • Vehicle seizure and forfeiture
  • Payment to the Virginia Trauma Center Fund ($50)
  • License revocation for an indefinite time period (after 3 years you may apply for a restricted license and after 5 years you can apply to have your driving privileges restored).

Additionally, your third DUI offense will result in 6 points being added to your driving record, and the conviction remains on your record for 11 years. You will also be considered a convicted felon, a fact that remains on your permanent criminal record.

Other factors that could impact the penalties include transporting a minor under the age of 17 and refusing to take a breathalyzer test.  Your DUI defense attorney in Richmond can further explain these situations and the additional sentences in which they may result.

Mitigating Factors

The situations and consequences discussed above all assume a lack of serious injury or death. If your DUI accident does result in either of these, then the penalties are even more severe.  In fact, even a first-time DUI offender who seriously injures or kills another can face felony charges.

Individuals convicted of driving under the influence who seriously injure another can be charged with a class 6 felony and will face penalties of up to five years in jail and fines totaling $2,500.  If the victim’s injuries can be categorized as permanent and significant, penalties are even greater and may involve jail time of 2-10 years and fines not to exceed $100,000.

In the unfortunate situations where loss of life is the result of the accident, the driver can be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

This class 5 felony can result in up to 10 years in prison and fines of $2,500.  On the other hand, those convicted of aggravated vehicular manslaughter charges, which are brought when cases are particularly reckless, face at least one year in prison (mandatory) and a maximum of 20 years behind bars.

Needless to say, engaging a Virginia DUI felony attorney in cases like this is critical.

Act Now – Engage an Experienced and Reputable Richmond DUI Lawyer

Cody Villalon Is Well-Positioned to Protect Your Rights and Your Future

Now that you are aware of the penalties associated with DUI convictions in Virginia, it should be incredibly clear that identifying a seasoned professional to protect your well-being is of the utmost importance.

Convictions and their consequences can have a lifelong and far-reaching impact on both you and those you love. The laws governing DUIs are incredibly complex, and the legal process itself is both time consuming and complicated. You should not attempt to travel this road alone.

For more than a decade, Cody Villalon has been providing outstanding DUI defense services to those in and around the Richmond area.  His firm is founded on the belief that providing quality defense services to those who need them helps uphold the foundations on which our country was built and keeps us all safer. He has a long-standing commitment to the community and is dedicated to providing each of his clients with the compassionate service they deserve. He intentionally manages his caseload in order to personally represent each of his clients.

Reach out to Mr. Villalon today at 804.316.0765 to schedule a free consultation and learn just how powerfully he can serve you. Time is a valuable asset in DUI cases; allow us to leverage it on your behalf.

Attorney Cody Villalon Richmond, VA


Cody Villalon is a criminal defense attorney in Richmond, VA representing clients accused of violent offenses and DUIs, and he specializes in serious criminal charges. He possesses more than 10 years of legal experience, has defended more than 1,000 cases, and has spent more than 5,000 hours in court. He is highly professional and well-respected by prosecutors and judges. [ Attorney Bio ]


  • Virginia Criminal Defense Assoc.
  • Best Defense Award
  • Best DUI Lawyer Award
  • Best DUI Lawyer Award
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