For some people, getting behind the wheel while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs seems like a perfectly harmless thing to do. Unfortunately, Virginia sees far too many cases in which driving under the influence (DUI) has serious consequences. According to statistics from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, alcohol has been involved in between 25 and 43 percent of traffic accident fatalities in recent years.
For this reason, the Commonwealth of Virginia takes DUI violations incredibly seriously. You can face up to twelve months in jail, even for a first conviction. If you are convicted of involuntary manslaughter or maiming due to driving under the influence, you may end up spending up to twenty years in prison.
Yet incarceration is not the only penalty for a DUI conviction. Violators also face high financial costs.
If you are found to have committed a DUI offense in Virginia, you will be expected to pay steep criminal fines in accordance with the court’s discretion. First-time offenders can expect to pay a fine of $250 to $2,500. Offenders convicted of involuntary manslaughter or maiming will pay at least $1,000.
If you are convicted of a DUI, you may have to attend educational courses on substance abuse and specific traffic school courses. Failure to comply with this order may result in additional jail time. You will be responsible for the full cost of these educational courses.
A DUI conviction often results in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. You may apply for your license to be reinstated after the suspension or revocation period ends, but you will also have to pay significant reinstatement charges. You may also be required to pay additional vehicle registration fees.
Ignition Interlock Device
You could also apply for a restricted driver’s license if your license was suspended. Once your restricted license is granted or your driver’s license has been reinstated, you will be required to buy and install an ignition interlock device into your vehicle. With this device in place, you will need to register a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) test before your vehicle can start. If your BAC is too high, the device will set off an alarm.
Increased Auto Insurance Premiums
After being convicted of a DUI, you can expect that your auto insurance premium will increase. This will become particularly significant if you have multiple convictions. Insurance providers are always more cautious when it comes to DUI offenders because they present an increased risk to the insurance company’s bottom line.
The educational and other requirements you will face after a DUI conviction mean that you will spend a significant amount of time fulfilling the court’s orders. This means that you will likely have to take time off work. In combination with the expenses you will incur as a result of your conviction, the lost earnings you face can create a serious burden on your financial situation.
You will be required to appear in court as soon as the prosecution files your DUI charges. Because the process can often end up being lengthy, you may incur significant legal fees. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to reach a plea deal on your behalf, which can shorten the legal process and minimize your fees.
Contact an Experienced Richmond DUI Attorney
From the restrictions on your liberties to the significant effects on your financial situation, the consequences of driving under the influence should not be underestimated. If you have recently been charged with a DUI, you need an excellent legal representative who can work to minimize the penalties you face.
The experienced Richmond DUI attorneys at Bain Sheldon are prepared to take action to protect your legal rights and interests. Contact us online today or call us at 804-282-8625 for a free case evaluation, and let us get to work for you.