The government is adopting multiple measures to minimize incidents of a reckless, drunk driver getting behind the wheel and posing danger on the road. The public is getting educated on DUI laws. There are sobriety checkpoints to prevent a drunken motorist from potentially causing bodily injury, property damage, or even fatalities. Punishments for repeat DUI offenders are more severe.
What are the consequences faced by those who repeat driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses? The terms DUI and DWI are usually interchangeable, but some states distinguish DUI specifically for drugs and DWI for alcohol. The general rule is that those with a criminal record face graver consequences. It only follows that penalties for DUI or DWI offenders who have already previously been convicted of the same are much more severe.
There are states that impose a much higher penalty if the offender resolutely refuses to take a blood test or a breathalyzer test. Understandably, penalties also increase if the blood test results show very high blood alcohol content.
Penalties for Repeat DUI Offenders
Different states employ a wide range of increased penalties for repeat DUI offenders, including jail time or imprisonment, suspensions of licenses, driver intervention or treatment programs like mandatory drug and alcohol rehabilitation as a condition of probation or parole, and monetary fines that could go up to more than $10,000.
More commonly, repeat offenders are punished with the immobilization of their vehicle. The police arrange for the impoundment of the motor vehicle at the scene of the DUI arrest. If the offender has a previous DUI record, the vehicle is immobilized for a certain period. This means that it may not be released from the impound facility for a set number of days. Exceptions do apply, especially if the use of the vehicle is necessary to the family or household of the offender. For a third DUI offense, however, the consequence may be the complete forfeiture of the vehicle with a fee for transferring the vehicle’s title to the state. When this is the penalty involved, there are no exemptions or waivers.
Another penalty many states resort to is the use of ignition interlock devices. A repeat offender has an ignition interlock device installed into the vehicle. For the vehicle to start, it first has to be blown into. The tool detects blood alcohol level. If it goes beyond the legal limit, the device will prevent the vehicle from starting.
As a possible deterrent for people to drink and drive, there are states that use stigma. DUI offenders may be required to get a yellow “party plate,” identifying them as such. Habitual DUI offenders may also be included in a registry. This public searchable database details the offenders’ names, addresses, birthdates, and convictions.
The Harsher Consequences of Repeat DUI Offenses in Virginia
As an offender collects DUI convictions in Virginia, the penalties become harsher. If the time between offenses is too short, the repeat offense also transmutes from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Second DUI Offense
- Mandatory alcohol education and alcohol treatment at the offender’s expense.
- Mandatory loss of driving privileges for three years, or, in case of restricted driving privileges, the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle that the offender operates, also at the offender’s expense.
- A mandatory minimum $500 fine as well as active incarceration for 10 days if the second offense happened within five to 10 years of the first offense.
- A mandatory minimum $500 fine as well as active incarceration for 20 days if it happened less than five years after the first offense.
- Mandatory incarceration if the offender’s blood alcohol levels are 0.15 or higher.
Third DUI Offense
- Prosecution as a felony DUI – Class 6.
- Seizure and forfeiture of the vehicle.
- Revocation of driver’s license for an indefinite period of time.
- A mandatory minimum $1000 fine as well as active incarceration for 90 days if the third DUI conviction occurred within 10 years of the first DUI offense.
- A mandatory minimum $1000 fine as well as active incarceration for six months if the third DUI conviction occurred within five years of the first DUI offense.
Need Legal Representation for a Repeat DUI Case? Contact a Blacksburg DUI Attorney Today!
The above penalties, of course, are solely for the DUI charge. The punishment is expectedly more severe if the case is compounded with other criminal charges such as possession of illegal drugs, vehicular assault, manslaughter, or vehicular homicide.
The stakes are clearly higher for repeat DUI offenders. You’ll need legal counsel for putting together your best defense. Don’t plead guilty to your DUI charges before you speak with a DUI defense lawyer. Contact us at the Fisher Law Firm right away for a free consultation with one of our experienced DUI attorneys.