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What if I face drunk driving charges a second time in Virginia?

In Virginia, people who are stopped by law enforcement and charged with drunk driving might have a previous conviction for driving under the influence on their record. When this happens, it is important to understand that the penalties for a second offense are harsher than they are for the first. Knowing how state law views those who are charged a second time and what the possible penalties are if there is a conviction can be a foundational part of a defense.

The penalties for a second offense are contingent on how much time has passed from the prior incident. If there is a second offense and it happens in fewer than five years since the first offense, the person will be fined a minimum of $500 and be incarcerated for a minimum of one month and up to one year. Twenty days is the mandatory minimum. Should the second offense happen within five to 10 years after the first offense, the person will be fined $500, there will be incarceration for a minimum of one month with 10 days the mandatory minimum.

If there is a second offense within 10 years of the previous offense, the blood-alcohol content will be important in determining the penalties. If the BAC shows at least 0.15 percent BAC but below 0.20 percent. There will be a minimum jail sentence of 10 days. If it was higher than 0.20 percent, there will be a mandatory minimum of 20 days. There will also be a fine of $500.

While the penalties might not sound overly harsh, it is vital to keep in mind that if the person is convicted of a second offense, there will be far more severe penalties if they are confronted with a third or subsequent DUI. Driver's licenses can be lost, vehicles can be seized and other penalties can be assessed. Having a strong DUI defense is imperative to dealing with a second drunk driving arrest. A law firm that is experienced in helping people who are facing drunk driving charges should be called immediately to begin planning a strategy to confront the charges and seek a reasonable resolution.

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