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First-time DUI in Virginia: What can you expect

We all make mistakes. It's a phrase you've probably heard more times than you can count in your lifetime. But while some regard a mistake as something simple and easily forgivable, there are others out there who believe that a mistake can be something major as well.

Take for example drinking and driving. Many consider drinking and driving to be a major mistake; and for many more, a mistake they are not likely to repeat. Ever. But while these individuals may feel remoreseful, the law is very clear: if you choose to drink and drive, you will be punished.

So what can you expect from a first-time DUI here in Virginia? Let's take a look at the law.

For starters, a first-time offender will be immediately fined a mandatory minimum of $250 for driving under the influence. Next, their license will be automatically revoked for one year. The removal of a person's driving privileges is perhaps the most devastating of all the penalties associated with a first-time DUI because not having the ability to drive can greatly affect a person's ability to get to and from work, eventually causing them to lose employment in many cases.

But these are not the only penalties an individual could face if they receive a first-time DUI in Virginia. In 2012, the Virginia legislature enacted a tougher DUI law that now affects all persons convicted of driving under the influence. Drivers who receive a DUI are now required to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles – this goes for first-time offenders as well.

If a first-time offender also refuses to submit to a breath test or chemical testing, they could face further penalties. That's because Virginia is an implied consent state. A breath test refusal charge can also lead to the revocation of a person's driving privileges as well as another stain on that person's criminal record.

Sources: The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, "Virginia Is Tough on Drunk And Drugged Drivers," Accessed Dec. 29, 2015

MADD, "Virginia, Drunk Driving," Accessed Dec. 29, 2015

Virginia Decoded, "§ 18.2-268.3," Accessed Dec. 29, 2015

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