The Hidden Costs of a DUI Conviction in Virginia

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you probably have realized that the costs of a DUI arrest are great, both emotion­ally and financially. Emotionally, there is the shame of being arrested, telling your family and employer, going to court, and dealing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The emotional and psychological costs of a DUI arrest are different for everyone, but when it comes to money, everyone is in the same boat.

If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.08% or higher when you were arrested, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for seven days. You will not even be able to get a “temporary” license, which still permits you to legally drive a motor vehicle under limited circumstances. The only way to end this type of suspension is by demanding a hearing to convince a judge that there was no probable cause for the stop.

If you are like most people, you will probably still need to get around, whether it is to and from work, your children’s school, the grocery store, and so on. You may not have to pay for gas, but public transportation rarely is free—if it is even available where you live.

If you decide not to hire an attorney to fight the charges against you, your finances will still take a big hit. Initially, you will pay a fine (a minimum of $250 for a first offense) and court costs, which can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of your case. Then there are the “hidden” costs of a DUI conviction:

  • Towing and parking fees for your vehicle at the time of arrest
  • Enrollment in Virginia Alcohol Safety (VASAP) class
  • Installation and monitoring of an ignition interlock device
  • Sheriff’s work release program, if the judge orders it
  • Serving jail time in the jurisdiction that is least disruptive to your life
  • Enrollment in a substance abuse program, if ordered to do so
  • Increased cost of auto insurance.

Other things to consider:

  • Your credit rating may take a negative hit, impacting your ability to get a loan or buy a home.
  • You may not be able to rent a car.
  • Being convicted of DUI means time away from work, which may impact your employment. A criminal record will affect your ability to secure future employment.
  • If you keep your job, you may lose your company car privileges.
  • When you are eligible to have your driving privileges restored (generally after one year for a first offense), you must pay DMV a fee for reinstatement of your license.

The penalties are harsher for drivers with a BAC of .15% or higher at the time of arrest, or for subsequent offenses. The bottom line is that a first offense DUI conviction in Virginia will cost at least $10,000—and that does not include legal fees.

We provide comprehensive, aggressive DUI defense for our clients. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Virginia, call our office today at (804) 835-5127 for a confidential consultation.

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