DUI convictions have weighty consequences, but with each subsequent violation, the level of severity escalates. If you currently face a second offense, you likely have many questions. It's important to understand that DUIs are somewhat of an umbrella term and that the specific circumstances surrounding your case influence its outcome.

However, the road ahead comes with challenges when facing a repeat violation.

Timing Matters

The first thing you want to think about as you sort through this situation is timing. How long ago the previous violation occurred will impact the type of penalties you face. If the past conviction occurred greater than ten years ago, you might be able to breathe a slight breath of relief.

You still face serious legal woes, but they may not be as impactful as someone with a more recent conviction. Those individuals with a DUI within the last five years face the harshest penalties, followed by those with convictions within the previous 5 to 10 years.

Possible Penalties

The state of Virginia also makes a distinction when it comes to the types of penalties you face, classifying them into two categories, administrative and criminal consequences. Administrative penalties include monetary and regulatory consequences, whereas criminal penalties may include jail time and impact your record.

If you are convicted of a DUI between 5 and 10 years after your previous offense, you may face the following consequences:

•    At least a $500 fine

•    Minimum 3-year license suspension

•    Mandatory jail sentence of 10 days to 1 year

However, if you are convicted of a DUI less than five years after your previous offense, your consequences will be more severe:

•    At least a $500 fine

•    Minimum 3-year license suspension

•    Mandatory jail sentence of 20 days to 1 year

•    3-years’ probation

•    Required installation of ignition interlock device

The above represent just some of the penalties you face.

There Are Game Changers

As previously stated, the circumstances of your case have a significant influence on its outcome, particularly when it comes to your blood alcohol content (BAC) level, the passengers in the vehicle and any injuries or property damages sustained. These game changers can send a case in an entirely different direction.

For example, the second violation within five years for a driver with a BAC level less than .15 comes with a minimum of 20 days in jail. However, if your BAC level is higher than .20, you face a mandatory minimum of 40 days in jail. Virginia also has harsh penalties for those drivers that operate under the influence with minor children or disabled persons in the vehicle.

If any person was injured due to your actions, you could even face a DUI maiming charge, which comes with serious, long-term consequences.

The Location of the Charge Doesn't Matter

If you didn't receive your first DUI conviction in the state of Virginia, don't assume you can conceal it. If you previously lived in another place, the moment you transferred your driver's license to Virginia, your DMV record from the previous state automatically moved over, including the information about the DUI conviction.

Even if you weren't a resident of the other state and received the last conviction while vacationing, DMVs always supply the licensing state with a record of these infractions. While some places will waive previous convictions outside the state, Virginia is not one of them. No matter the state, any prior convictions will be factored in.

It's important to highlight the level of severity you face. It doesn't matter if it's your fourth violation or only your second; the courts take DUI convictions very serious, and any person who is a repeat violator is thought to have a low level of regard for the law and for the safety of others.

An attorney on your side becomes critical in this instance. Tolbert & Tolbert, LLP can review the specifics of the case to determine the best path forward for you.