What Kind Of Sentence Should You Expect If You Are Convicted In Fairfax, Virginia for Your First DWI?

What Kind of Sentence to Expect For Your First DWI


Jail Time

In Virginia, a DWI conviction is a Class 1 misdemeanor (the most serious type).  One possible penalty is jail time.  If the defendant’s BAC is below a .15, Virginia law does not require the defendant to serve any jail time and the court will probably not give the defendant a custodial sentence.  However, this is no guarantee; if the court finds the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious even if the defendant’s BAC is below a .15, the court may impose a jail sentence.

If the defendant’s BAC is between a .15 and .20, Virginia requires that the defendant serve a minimum of five days in jail.  The usual 50% reduction for good time served does not apply to this sentence so the defendant must serve the full five days.  If the BAC is above a .20, the sentence increases to a minimum of 10 days.


Driver’s License Suspension

Jail time is not the only penalty for a first-time DWI conviction.  When a defendant is arrested for a DWI, his driver’s license is administratively suspended for seven days.  Upon conviction of a DWI, the defendant’s driver’s license will be suspended for 1 year.  Many first-time DWI offenders request (and are granted) a “restricted license.”  This license allows the defendant to drive back and forth to work, to school, medical facilities, court-ordered programs for alcohol counseling, and a few other exceptions.  The court will order the defendant to enroll in an alcohol counseling course through the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program as a condition of carrying a restricted license.


Other Fines, Fees, and Restrictions

The defendant must pay any court-ordered restitution.  He will also have to pay a minimum $250 fine, up to $300.  The court may also require the defendant to install an ignition interlock device on his vehicle.  A DWI conviction will also appear on his criminal record.

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