Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Drugs: When operating a motor vehicle, boat or watercraft in Virginia, you are legally considered driving or operating under the influence (DUI) if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher. You may be considered under the influence with a lower BAC if your ability to operate a motor vehicle, boat or water craft is impaired. If your driving is affected because you are under the influence of any drug, you may face the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle crash and a law enforcement officer has probable cause, you can be arrested for DUI within three hours of the crash without a warrant and at any location.
If you are arrested for DUI a third or subsequent time within a five-year period, you will not be granted bail while you wait to go to trial.
All DUI laws apply to mopeds operated on public highways.
Open Container: You may be charged with drinking while operating a motor vehicle if you are stopped by law enforcement and you have an open container of alcohol in the passenger area, the contents of which have been partially removed, and you exhibit signs that you have been drinking. The passenger area refers to the area designed to seat the driver and passengers and any area within the driver’s reach, including an unlocked glove compartment.
License Suspension (ALS): For a first DUI offense and/or breath test refusal, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for seven days if your BAC is 0.08 percent or higher. For a second DUI offense and/or breath test refusal, your license will be automatically suspended for 60 days or until you go to trial, whichever comes first. For a third DUI offense and/or breath test refusal, your license will be automatically suspended until you go to trial. Conviction of a DUI offense will result in suspension of your driver’s license and other penalties in addition to the administrative suspension.
Breath Test Refusal: By operating a vehicle on Virginia highways, you have consented to a breath or blood test upon arrest for DUI. If you unreasonably refuse a breath or blood test, Virginia law requires the court to suspend your driver’s license for one year. A second breath or blood test refusal shall result in a three-year suspension. A second breath test refusal is also a Class 1 misdemeanor.
If you are also convicted of DUI, the DUI driver’s license revocation period will run consecutively with the breath or blood test refusal revocation. You are not eligible for a restricted driver’s license during the suspension for a breath or blood test refusal.
Conviction for DUI first offense
Mandatory, minimum $250 fine
Driver’s license revocation for one year
Conviction for DUI second offense
Mandatory, minimum $500 fine
Driver’s license revocation for three years
Possible jail term up to one year
Conviction for DUI second offense within ten years of prior offense carries the following additional penalty
Mandatory, minimum ten-day jail term.
Conviction for DUI second offense within five years of prior offense carries the following additional penalty
Mandatory, minimum 20-day jail term
Three DUI convictions within a ten-year period
Mandatory, indefinite driver’s license revocation
If your driving privilege is revoked for a first or second DUI offense conviction and you receive another DUI, the license revocation period will run consecutively with the existing revocation period.
Conviction for DUI third offense or DWI felony
Mandatory, minimum $1,000 fine
Mandatory indefinite driver’s license revocation
Prosecution as a Class 6 felony
Conviction for DUI third offense within five years carries the following additional penalty
Mandatory, minimum six-month jail term
Conviction for DUI third offense within ten years carries the following additional penalty
Mandatory, minimum 90-day jail term
Permanent forfeiture of your vehicle (if you are the sole owner)
Conviction for DUI fourth or subsequent offense
Mandatory, minimum one-year jail term
BAC of 0.15% and not higher than 0.20% at the time of arrest
First offense carries a mandatory, minimum five-day jail term in addition to all other penalties
Second offense within ten years carries a mandatory, minimum ten-day jail term in addition to all other penalties
BAC of 0.20% or higher at the time of arrest
First offense carries a mandatory, minimum ten-day jail term in addition to all other penalties
Second offense within ten years carries a mandatory, minimum 20-day jail term in addition to all other penalties
Driving on a Suspended License: A third conviction within ten years for driving on a license suspended because of a DUI-related offense is a class 6 felony and carries a mandatory term of one to five years or a fine of $2,500 or both.
Criminal Record: Any DUI offense will be reported to the Central Criminal Records Exchange by law enforcement at the time of your arrest. In other words, you could end up with a criminal record because of a DUI arrest.
Zero Tolerance: If you are under age 21, you cannot purchase, possess or consume alcohol.
If law enforcement stops you while driving after illegal consumption of alcohol, you are subject to administrative license suspension (ALS). If you are convicted of driving after illegally consuming alcohol and were found to have a BAC of 0.02 and less than 0.08, the court penalty will include a suspension of your driving privilege for one year from the date of conviction, and a minimum mandatory fine of $500, or the requirement that you complete at least 50 hours of community service.
Regardless of age, if driving on a DUI suspended or restricted license, you may be charged with DUI if you drive with a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher.
Equal Penalties for Under Age 21: Persons under age 21 who drive while under the influence of drugs or with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher are subject to the same penalties as persons age 21 or older.
Transporting Children While Under the Influence: Conviction of any DUI offense involving a juvenile passenger (age 17 or younger) in the vehicle at the time of the offense carries an additional mandatory five-day jail term in addition to all other fines and jail sentences. You may also be assessed an additional fine of at least $500 and up to $1,000. A second DUI offense with a juvenile (age 17 or younger) in the vehicle carries an additional 80-hour community service requirement in addition to all other fines and jail sentences.
Ignition Interlock Device: If you are convicted of a DUI first offense, the court will require that you have an ignition interlock device installed on at least one vehicle and any vehicles you operate as a condition of restricted driving privileges.
If the court does not require ignition interlock, DMV will require you to have an ignition interlock device installed on at least one vehicle and any vehicles you operate as a condition of restricted driving privileges.
If you are convicted of the following:
Convicted of a DUI second offense within ten years, or
Convicted of a DUI third or subsequent offense within ten years
the court will require that you have an ignition interlock device installed on every vehicle you own, co-own or operate as a condition of restricted driving privileges or full restoration of driving privileges:
In the following cases:
Convicted of a DUI second offense within ten years, or
Convicted of a DUI third or subsequent offense within ten years, or
Convicted of three separate DUI offenses within ten years
DMV will require you to have an ignition interlock device installed as a condition of restricted driving privileges or full restoration of driving privileges, even if the court does not require it.
Convictions for a first offense violation of the ignition interlock restriction or other restricted license provisions will result in a DMV revocation of your driving privilege for one year. Two or more convictions of violating restricted privileges will result in a three-year revocation. Restricted privileges will not be available during these revocation periods.
Persons convicted of a DUI in a U. S. District Court are able to petition for restrictions in a General District Court in their residential jurisdictions. They are also subject to the above requirements.
Alcohol Education Program: If you are convicted of DUI, you must report to an Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) in your area for screening and probationary oversight to have your license reinstated. This process will determine the intervention services that are most appropriate. At your own expense, you may be assigned to an education program and/or referred to treatment. You will spend a minimum of 20 hours during a 10- week period in ASAP classes if you are assigned to education. Those convicted of a first offense will be on probation for a year. For a second or subsequent offense, three years probation is required. If ignition interlock is required, Virginia ASAP will monitor your compliance with the court’s requirements.
Vehicle Impoundment: The vehicle you are driving will be immediately impounded or immobilized for 90 days if you are caught driving after your license has been suspended for an alcohol-related offense. The court can impound the vehicle for an additional 90 days following conviction. The owner of the vehicle impounded (other than the driver) may petition the court for release of the vehicle. Anyone who knowingly permits operation of their motor vehicle by a person known to have a revoked or suspended license for an alcohol-related offense can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Restitution: Depending on local ordinances, you may be liable (for up to $1,000) for the cost of law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire fighting and rescue personnel who respond to a crash or incident resulting from your DUI violation.
Penalties for Providing Alcoholic Beverages to Persons Under Age 21: If you provide or sell alcoholic beverages to a person under age 21, intoxicated or ordered by a court to refrain from consuming alcohol, you are subject to a fine up to $2,500, 12 months in jail and mandatory suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year. These same penalties apply if you assist someone under age 21 in obtaining or purchasing alcohol.
Penalties for Persons Under Age 21 Purchasing, Possessing or Consuming Alcohol: If you’re under age 21 and you purchase, possess and/or consume alcohol, you face a fine ranging from $500 to $2,500, up to 12 months in jail and mandatory suspension of your driver’s license for at least six months but not more than one year.
Penalties for Possessing Alcohol Beverages at Public Schools: Drinking or possessing alcoholic beverages on public school grounds can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail regardless of your age.
Misrepresentation of Age: If you are under age 21 and you use or attempt to use an altered, fictitious or simulated document or student ID to establish a false age in an attempt to consume or purchase alcoholic beverages, you will:
be fined at least $500 or, be required to perform at least 50 hours of community service
face up to 12 months in jail and,
face mandatory suspension of your drivers’s license for at least six months but not more than one year.
Boating and Hunting Under the Influence: It’s unlawful to operate a boat or watercraft while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. It is also unlawful to hunt wildlife using a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.