There are five types of DUI in Virginia: motor vehicle DUI, motor vehicle DUI by a driver under 21, commercial vehicle DUI, motorboat DUI, and airplane DUI. The offenses and penalties are similar, but there are important differences as well. The information on this page applies to the most common category of DUI—offenses committed in a motor vehicle.
Motor vehicle DUI is usually a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Prior convictions for DUI or related offenses can elevate an offense to a Class 6 felony. The state legislature has added to the standard misdemeanor and felony penalties for DUI.
For offenses where none of the enhancements described in the next section apply, the penalties include all the following:
- Permanent record of the conviction. Virginia never expunges criminal convictions.
- Administrative driver’s license suspension following arrest.
- Possible incarceration up to twelve months.
- Fine from $250 to $2,500 plus a $25 “contribution” to the Virginia Neurotrauma Initiative Fund.
- Completion of the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) or similar program.
- One-year (nationwide) driver’s license suspension. However, the court can grant a restricted driver’s license.
- Court costs (separate from fines).
- Probation or “good behavior.”
- Ignition interlock installed on every vehicle driven for a minimum of six months.
The courts can also order other conditions. For example, the court might require substance abuse treatment, AA/NA attendance, or psychiatric evaluation and treatment as a condition for suspending jail time.
Enhancements to the Standard DUI
Enhanced or additional penalties apply in addition to the standard penalties for cases involving:
- Elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
- Convictions for prior DUI or related offenses.
- Transportation of a minor.
The enhancements are part of the standard DUI charge rather than separate offenses.
Elevated blood alcohol concentration
This enhancement applies only in misdemeanor DUI cases. There is a mandatory minimum fine of $500, and mandatory minimum jail time as follows:
- BAC from .15 to .20—five days for a first offense. For a second offense within ten years, the mandatory minimum incarceration increases to ten days.
- BAC above .20—ten days for a first offense. For drivers with a prior conviction, the mandatory minimum increases to twenty days.
Transporting a minor
Five days of mandatory incarceration and a fine of $500-$1000 added to the standard DUI penalties and any other enhancements.
This applies when drivers have been convicted for DUI or related offenses committed prior to the current offense. A second offense is usually a misdemeanor, but could be a felony depending on the nature of the prior offense. A third offense in ten years is usually charged as a felony.
Second Offense committed within less than five years or five to ten years of a prior offense
- Class 1 Misdemeanor conviction. Expunction is not possible.
- Administrative driver’s license suspension for 60 days following arrest unless the DUI charge is resolved sooner.
- Mandatory incarceration:
- Second offense committed within five to ten years of a prior offense—ten days.
- Second offense committed within less than five years—twenty days.
- $500 minimum fine.
- Suspension/revocation of driver’s license for three years, which applies nationwide.
- This is separate from the 60-day administrative license suspension described above.
- The court can grant a restricted driver’s license after a waiting period:
- Four months from the conviction for a second offense within five to ten years.
- One year from the conviction for a second offense within less than five years.
- Some judges require a formal hearing after the waiting period to request a restricted license.
- Ignition interlock on all vehicles driven for at least six months.
- Administrative license suspension until resolution of the DUI charge.
- Incarceration for up to five years, with mandatory minimum periods of incarceration:
- Third offense within ten years—90 days.
- Third offense within five years—six months.
- Fourth offense within ten years—one year.
- DUI after any previous felony DUI or related conviction—one year.
- $1000 minimum fine.
- Probation following release from incarceration (usually supervised through the Department of Corrections).
- Revocation of driver’s license for a minimum of five years.