Maybe your friends have told you that being convicted for Driving Under the Influence of drugs or alcohol in Virginia is no big deal. However, it's good to know just what the consequences would be if you are pulled over on your way home and blow more than a .08 blood alcohol level.
If you are convicted of a DUI in the State of Virginia you can expect:
- Permanent Criminal Record: Even a first conviction is recorded as a criminal misdemeanor and will show up on any background check for the rest of your life. It could potentially harm your ability to get a loan, job, or rent an apartment.
- Suspension of Your Driver's License: You will lose your driver's license for up to one year on a first conviction, and if you had an excessively high level or had other aggravating factors, it could be longer. This is generally non-negotiable.
- Potential Jail Time: If you were arrested after an accident where there was damage to property or to another person, you could be facing jail time of up to 30 days. The period could be longer if you are charged with other crimes besides the DUI resulting from the accident.
- Use an Ignition Interlock Device: Once you get your license back, it is likely you will have to serve probation of up to a year that includes the use of an ignition interlock device. In order to operate the vehicle, you would have to take a breathalyzer test and pass for the ignition to start.
If your friends think that getting a DUI is no big deal, then they may not have to worry about driving to work every day, or being able to get a better job after passing a criminal background check.
When you wish to avoid adding a DUI conviction to your permanent record and are arrested and charged with such a crime, it's entirely in your best interest to contact an attorney experienced in drunk driving cases to help you work with the courts to keep your permanent record clean.