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Virginia DUI Attorneys

Key Takeaways

  • After a DUI charge in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you should get a DUI lawyer on your side as quickly as possible.
  • DUI laws in Virginia come with serious penalties and consequences, especially for multiple offenses, which can include fines, jail time, and license revocation.
  • Police officers must follow specific procedures when administering sobriety tests, so your lawyer may be able to get your case dismissed by showing that the police violated these procedures.
  • Even if your case cannot be dismissed, a skilled Virginia DWI attorney can help you reduce the charges and penalties you face.
  • A DUI conviction stays on your criminal record forever and is put on your DMV record for a period of 11 years from your conviction date.
person passed out on steering wheel with beer bottle in hand, drunk driving, DUI

Driving after consuming alcohol or drugs can put you at risk of a DUI charge. Once that charge is even a possibility, every moment counts, as a conviction can have severe consequences, including a license suspension, hefty fines, and even jail time. Without acting quickly, your future could be at risk.

If you act decisively, you can gather the necessary tools to help you combat this kind of charge. The one crucial tool at your disposal is hiring an experienced DUI lawyer in Virginia. That is where Randall & Bruch can help. Get in touch with our team at 757-742-6115 for legal assistance in Southampton, Emporia, Brunswick, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and the surrounding areas, and take a look at how DUI/DWI arrests work in Virginia.

DUI vs. DWI in Virginia

Unlike many other states, Virginia treats driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) the same. The two terms are synonymous regarding the potential consequences they have.


DUI is the most commonly used term in Virginia law to describe instances in which one is driving while under the influence of any substances. Depending on the severity, a DUI charge for a first or second offense is typically a misdemeanor.


DWI is a term often associated with a felony charge, but that does not make it legally different from DUI. For example, a felony charge typically comes with your third DUI misdemeanor charge if you get all three within a 10-year period.

DUI Consequences & Penalties in Virginia

If your criminal case results in a conviction, you may face one or more of these penalty scenarios.

DUI or First Offense Consequences

For a first-time DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08:

  • Fines of $250-$2,500
  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • One-year driver’s license suspension
  • Minimum of five days in jail with a BAC of at least 0.15
  • Minimum of 10 days in jail with a BAC of at least 0.20
  • If under 21 with a BAC between 0.02 and 0.08, a minimum license suspension of one year and a fine of at least $500, along with 50 hours of community service
  • If under 21 with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, you suffer the same penalties as someone 21 and older
  • If transporting a minor while intoxicated, a minimum of five days in jail and a mandatory fine
  • Required attendance at an alcohol safety action program
  • You must install an ignition interlock device on your car that prevents it from starting if you cannot pass a breathalyzer test

man blowing into a breathalyzer that's connected to his car

DUI Second Offense Consequences

For a second DUI:

  • Fines of $500-$2,500
  • A jail sentence of 10 days to 12 months
  • A three-year driver’s license suspension

A second offense within 10 years carries a mandatory jail term of at least 10 days.

A second offense within five years carries a mandatory jail term of at least 20 days.

DUI Third Offense (Felony) Consequences

  • A fine of at least $1,000
  • Driver’s license revoked indefinitely
  • Prosecution as a Class 6 felony
  • Forfeiture of vehicle if you are the sole owner
  • New license revocation runs consecutively after any previous license revocations.
  • A fourth DUI conviction results in a mandatory one year in jail.

Three DUI convictions within five years carry a minimum six-month jail term. You are highly unlikely to be granted bail while awaiting trial.

Three DUI convictions within 10 years carry a mandatory jail term of at least 90 days.

What if I Refused a Breath or Blood Test?

If you refused a breath or blood test while at a traffic stop or during an arrest for an alleged DUI, your driver’s license was likely confiscated.

Legally speaking, Virginia mandates that the court revoke the driver’s license of anyone who unreasonably refuses a breath or blood test for a period of one year. A second refusal is considered a misdemeanor and results in a license suspension of three years. You may only petition the court for your restricted driver’s license 30 days after your first refusal to take a breath or blood test. After any subsequent refusals, you can no longer petition the court.

Additional Offenses for DUI Charges

You likely know that drunk driving is illegal in Virginia and elsewhere. But did you know that there are other alleged offenses that often go along with DUI charges? Examples include the following:

In the event of an accident with property damage or injuries, even someone not in the car may be charged or sued with a civil claim in a DUI case for the following reasons:

  • Providing alcohol to a minor
  • Serving alcohol to a bar or restaurant customer who was obviously intoxicated

Can You Get a DUI on a Bike?

You are technically unable to be charged with a DUI while on a bicycle since Virginia defines a DUI as operating a motor vehicle, engine, or train while under the influence. A bicycle does not qualify. Still, you may be charged with other offenses if riding a bike while intoxicated.

Riding a bike while intoxicated is considered reckless biking, a type of traffic offense. Specifically, reckless biking refers to operating a bicycle in any manner that endangers the life, limb, or property of others. The penalties generally involve hefty fines.

How Do I Choose a Virginia DUI Attorney?

To choose a DUI attorney, you will need to look for several key factors that suggest they can be helpful with your unique case. The most important factors are as follows:

  • A license to practice law in Virginia
  • A clean ethical record, which you can check with the Virginia Bar Association
  • A law degree from an American Bar Association-accredited school
  • Extensive experience in Virginia DUI cases
  • A high success rate with clients
  • Reliable reviews and references

Do I Need A Lawyer For A DUI/DWI In Virginia?

man sitting at desk signing papers with suit on and watch on his wrist

One of the most important things you can do after a DUI is enlist a knowledgeable defense lawyer. A good lawyer can take steps to protect your driver’s license, gather evidence, challenge the prosecution, and advocate for your rights at all stages of the proceedings. Without a lawyer, you could make missteps that may cost you your rights or freedom. Having a skilled attorney increases your chances of getting a favorable outcome.

For example, a lawyer can help mitigate some of the punishments that come with a conviction, like rehab instead of jail or a misdemeanor instead of a felony. They can also help you fight for a restricted license. Additionally, a lawyer can help investigate the details of your case, such as whether or not the officer followed procedures correctly. If they didn’t, your attorney may be able to get the charge thrown out entirely.

What Happens If You Have A Virginia License But Get A DUI Out Of State?

Virginia law takes a harsh stance on DUIs and their impact on your driving privileges. Even if you get arrested out of state, you can still expect to face driver’s license suspension or revocation proceedings here in Virginia. It’s important to work with a Virginia lawyer to address that aspect of the DUI, which is separate from the out-of-state criminal proceedings.

You may still qualify for a restricted driver’s license in Virginia. We can determine if you’re eligible and help you pursue any avenues to keep your driving privileges.

Types of DUI & DWI Cases We Handle

Our Virginia law firm handles a wide range of DUI and DWI cases, including the following:

Why Clients Choose Randall & Bruch, PC

At Randall & Bruch, PC, we offer experienced legal services for DUI cases and other traffic violations. Many lawyers at our firm used to be police or prosecutors, so we have intimate knowledge of how the procedures in these cases work from both sides. In fact, we often use that inside knowledge to show how police officers and prosecutors cut corners that may invalidate any tox screen the officers administered. Take a look at what some of our previous clients had to say about our services.


“Mr. Bruch and Lori were fantastic to work with, and the cost was much more reasonable than any other lawyer I could find in the area. […] Could not recommend them more, thank you!” — Davidson

“I would like to [give] thanks for the help that I received from a good law group. I am a very, very happy customer. Thanks again.” — Darrel M.

Get Trustworthy Legal Advice As Soon As Possible

The scenarios and penalties described may not include all relevant facts in your DUI or traffic violation case. Protect your future. Contact an experienced Virginia DUI defense attorney right away. Call 757-742-6115 or complete an online form to schedule an initial consultation now. For your convenience, we have office locations in Southampton, Emporia, Brunswick, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Beat a DUI in Virginia?

A few strategies can be used to beat a DUI in Virginia, but the best approach will depend on the unique details of your case. The following are the most common defenses:

  • Establish that the traffic stop was invalid in the first place by showing that the officer had no valid reason to stop you.
  • Show that the officer had no probable cause to expect that you were intoxicated in the absence of observed behaviors like odorous breath or slurred speech.
  • Demonstrate that the field sobriety test was issued improperly.
  • Demonstrate that the breath or blood tests were issued improperly.
  • Show a violation of constitutional rights, such as your right to remain silent and protection against an unlawful search.
Can You Get Out of a DUI in Virginia?

Yes, you can get out of a DUI in Virginia if you can show that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. A lawyer can help you make this case, and if successful, they may be able to file a motion to dismiss the case entirely.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Virginia?

A DUI conviction will stay on your criminal record permanently in Virginia. As for your DMV record, the DUI will remain on it for 11 years from the date of your conviction. Note that employers, police, and insurance companies will be able to see the conviction on your DMV record.

jack t randall

Written By Jack T. Randall


As lifelong resident of Western Tidewater, Jack Randall is a local attorney who wants the best results for his clients. He is an experienced and aggressive attorney with focus on family law, criminal and traffic law, as well as personal injury law cases.