Most people in Virginia may be aware that a charge of driving while intoxicated is a criminal offense. A conviction, therefore, leaves a person with a criminal record. Certainly, nobody wants to have a criminal record on file but some people might too easily dismiss these charges as many drunk driving charges are misdemeanors so drivers might not consider them too serious. However, it is important to be aware that some DWI offenses can actually be felonies.
As explained by the Code of Virginia, if a person is charged with a driving while intoxicated offense for the third time within the span of 10 years, they may be charged with a Class 6 felony. Because felonies are more serious offenses that misdemeanors, the penalties associated with a felony DWI conviction may be more severe. Also, the criminal record will reflect a felony conviction for any future employers, landlords or lenders to see.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, anyone charged with a third DWI within the span of 5 years will not be allowed to post bail while awaiting trial. Convictions for a Class 6 felony DWI do come with mandatory minimum confinement sentences. The length of time that a person may be in custody can be even greater if the three convictions happened within five years as opposed to within 10 years.
A driver's consequences may also be increased if they had a minor in the vehicle with them at the time of their felony DWI arrest. A fourth DWI conviction within 10 years is also a felony and may further increase prison time.