Is a DUI a misdemeanor or felony in Virginia?

In most cases, a DUI offense in Virginia is a misdemeanor offense. However, in some situations, a person can face a felony charge. Whether you are being charged with a felony or misdemeanor for drunk driving, it’s important to retain an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible to help with your defense. Felony drunk driving

When You Can Be Charged With a Felony DUI 

In limited circumstances, a DUI is charged as a felony in Virginia. You may face a felony charge in the following situations:

  • If you were convicted of a DUI twice within the last 10 years, you could face a Class 6 felony DUI charge.
  • If you caused someone to suffer injuries or death as a result of your drunk driving—even in a first offense—you may face Class 6 felony charges.

While a Class 6 felony is the lowest level felony, a conviction can result in harsh penalties. You may face a prison sentence of between one and five years. However, the judge or jury has the discretion to sentence you to jail instead of prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500. The following are mandatory minimum sentences:

  • 90-day minimum jail sentence for a third conviction within 10 years
  • Six-month mandatory jail sentence if the third conviction occurred within five years
  • Mandatory fine of $1,000

In addition, your driver’s license could be revoked indefinitely.

You can also face harsh penalties if convicted of a misdemeanor DUI. This can include a mandatory minimum $250 fine, possible mandatory jail sentence, and a driver’s license suspension. As with a felony conviction, you would have a permanent criminal record that could limit your ability to obtain a job and affect other aspects of your life long after you complete your sentence.

You Need an Experienced DUI Attorney

You need a skilled DUI attorney who can help you build a strong defense, so the charges might be dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. To learn about our experience fighting for the rights of our clients charged with a DUI and how we can assist you, start an online chat to schedule your free consultation today.

 

Charles V. Hardenbergh
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