In a recent study conduct by WalletHub, Virginia was found to rank #8 out of the 50 states in a ranking of the harshest DUI penalties in the country. Compared to many states that do not impose either minimum jail sentences or mandatory suspension of drivers license, Virginia has adopted both of these punitive and preventative measures in its combat against drunk driving. However, this study also works to demonstrate how prosecutors in Virginia often vilify and attempt to impose the harshest sentences possible, without putting much stock or interest into the specific facts of a case. But at least that’s a strong reason why you should always have a DUI attorney by your side when you are facing a DUI charge.
According to the study, after a DUI conviction, most states impose a 3 month suspension on your driver’s license. In Virginia, a first offense DUI conviction is going to lead to a 1 year suspension of your license – more than 3 times the national average!
Additionally, Virginia now requires the installation of an ignition interlock device after every DUI conviction, while in most states, an ignition interlock device is only required after a 2 or 3 conviction, or when an elevated BAC is involved. This is not the case in Virginia. If you’re convicted of a DUI, you are going to be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle – and pay for it!
Finally, in most other states in the country, only prior DUIs committed in the past 5 years impact the penalties that are imposed on a new offense. However, in Virginia, the prosecutors can bring in prior DUI convictions up to 10 years old to elevate the punishments that are imposed and trigger various mandatory minimum thresholds.
This study goes to show, if you’ve been charged with a DUI in Alexandria, Fairfax, Arlington, or Prince William County, you are best served by immediately reaching out to a qualified DUI attorney to make sure that your rights are properly and thoroughly protected.