Getting arrested for any kind of criminal offense, including driving under the influence (DUI), is a frightening experience. It is not something that becomes easier the second or third time you experience it. In fact, subsequent arrests may be even more frightening, as you already have an understanding of what to expect while incarcerated and going through the court system.
More importantly, you will also likely be aware of the fact that you probably face more serious penalties and consequences for second, third or subsequent criminal offenses for the same issue. This is absolutely true for those accused of DUIs in Virginia, because the penalties for each subsequent conviction within a certain period of time increase.
The penalties for a second or third offense are harsher than those for a first. However, you should know that a conviction does not follow you for life. Instead, there is a standard look-back period during which a previous DUI conviction can count against you.
Virginia has a 10-year look-back period
Each state has its own approach to DUI charges, and Virginia is relatively strict in some regards. For example, while some states may have only a five-year look-back period, Virginia has a 10-year look-back period. In other words, if you have a previous DUI within the last decade, you will face harsher penalties if you plead guilty or get convicted of a DUI offense.
First-time offenders in Virginia only have to worry about a fine of at least $250 and the loss of their license for a year. However, second offenses carry harsher penalties.
These include a fine of at least $500, loss of their driver's license for three years and up to a year in jail. Third and subsequent offenses carry the harshest legal penalties, which can include revocation of the accused's driver's license, a fine of at least $1,000, as well as the potential for felony DUI charges.
You should consider defending yourself against a repeat DUI charge
It is a wise decision to defend yourself against any pending criminal charge to keep your criminal record clean and avoid the social and legal consequences of a conviction or guilty plea.
Between the higher potential consequences and the potential for even harsher penalties for second and third offenses, developing a defense strategy against a pending DUI is in your best interest.
It is possible to defend against pending DUI charges, even if you have an existing record. Carefully reviewing evidence of documentation from your arrest can help you determine the best strategy moving forward.