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Does Virginia treat drunk drivers harshly?

The state of Virginia is very hard on those who are caught drinking and driving. Driving while under the influence of alcohol puts you and others at risk of being involved in an accident, which is why it's illegal throughout the United States.

You can be charged for drinking and driving even if you are only exhibiting signs of being intoxicated if you have an open container in your vehicle. Additionally, if you refuse a breath test, you will lose your license for one year. In the case that you are convicted of a DUI, your penalties run consecutively. That means that if you lose your license for a year for refusing the test and another year for a DUI, you actually lose your license for two years in total.

For a first-offense DUI, you face a minimum fine of $250 that is mandatory by law. You also lose your license for one year. On a second offense, you can have your license revoked for up to three years and may face a jail sentence of up to a year. Your mandatory minimum fine for a second offense is $500.

If you have a passenger in your vehicle who is under 17 at the time of the arrest, you also face additional penalties such as a fine of up to $1,000 and a mandatory five-day jail sentence. Since there are so many different factors that could increase the penalties you face, it's a good idea to talk to your attorney as soon as possible to address your arrest and potential defensive options.

Source: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicels, "Virginia is TOUGH on drunk and drugged drivers," accessed June 13, 2017

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