In Fairfax, penalties for DWI charges can vary significantly depending on the facts of the case and even more importantly, which judge is involved. While every case is unique and there is no such thing as a “typical” result, there are certain punishments that tend to occur more frequently than others.
“Wet Reckless” in Fairfax
“Wet Reckless” is a slang term used in Fairfax and other jurisdictions in Virginia to describe a DWI that has been reduced by either the judge or the prosecutor. A conviction for reckless driving is typically considered a victory for the defense because it looks much better on a person’s criminal record than a DWI. Additionally, the maximum loss of license for a reckless is only six months as opposed to 12 months for the driving while intoxicated charge, with ignition interlocks not typically required. Commonly, the punishment for a wet reckless generally involves thirty days of suspended jail time (meaning that one only serves time if there is a subsequent violation of the law). Furthermore, there is usually a $300 fine, a six month loss of license and a requirement to complete the Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP).
Getting a DWI reduced to a wet reckless usually only takes place typically if there is a significant legal issue in the case. Obtaining this reduction becomes increasingly difficult for accused motorists with higher BACs. For example, it is far more likely for one with a BAC of a .08 or .09 to get a wet reckless than someone who has a BAC of a .13 or .14.
Virgina Baby DWI
In the state of Virginia, Baby DWI is slang for a conviction under 18.2-266.1, which makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive after they’ve been drinking any alcohol, regardless of what their BAC is. While the BAC required for conviction in a standard DWI case is .08, for a Baby DWI the threshold is only .02. Punishments upon conviction can include a one-year loss of license and a $500 fine. In some cases, the fine can be eliminated in exchange for 50 hours of community service. Additionally, the judge may required the individual to complete the Fairfax ASAP program although it is not necessarily required. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, a restricted license may also be issued.
First DWI Offenses, BAC .14 or Below
While like all first offense DWIs, the maximum penalty in Virginia is 12 months in jail and a $2500 fine, the standard punishment for a Fairfax DWI involving a BAC of .14 or below is much less severe than that. Generally, those convicted of driving while intoxicated will receive thirty days of suspended jail time, a $600 fine with $300 suspended, a 12 month loss of license, and ordered to complete the ASAP program. Although defendants are generally allowed to get a restricted license during those 12 months. By law Defendants are also required to have ignition interlock installed on their cars for 6 months.
First Virginia DWI Offenses, BAC .15 to .20
Typical punishments in for DWI cases involving a BAC in the .15 to .20 range often call for suspended jail time, $600 fine with $300 suspended, a 12 month loss of license and the completion of the ASAP program. Unlike offenders with numbers registering in the lower range, those with higher BACs are also required to serve five days of active jail time. Additionally, there also may be some period of time before the court will allow a restricted license as a judge may not allow one until the ASAP program has been started and a program evaluator indicates their approval.
First VA DWI Offenses, BAC .21 or Above
Fairfax DWI defendants that register a BAC of .21 or above are subject to the most severe punishments of all. In addition to the loss of licenses, completion of the ASAP program and ignition interlock requirements, these “super drunk” offenders are required to serve ten days of active jail time. In these cases, it is exceptionally likely that a significant time period must pass before a restricted license would be issued to a person who had a BAC of .21 or above.
Second Virginia DWI Within 10 Years, BAC .14 or Below
Before a person can be convicted or a second DWI in Virginia, the government will have to prove the existence of the prior conviction. This can often be more difficult than expected, especially if the prior conviction was in another state. Assuming that the state government can prove the prior conviction, a typical punishment for the second driving while intoxicated offense would include ten days of actual jail time as well as suspended jail time and a required $500 fine. Second-time defendants will also lose their license for three years, with no opportunity for a restricted license within the first four months. Participation in the ASAP program and ignition interlock systems are also required.
Second VA DWI Within 10 Years, BAC .15 to .20
For second-time defendants facing DWI charges with BACs ranging from .15 to .20, the penalties are increasingly severe and include an extra ten days of active jail time in addition to the ten days in jail for the repeat offense. Despite the harsher jail sentencing for the higher BAC range, the fine, loss of licenses, ASAP program requirements, and ignition interlock systems are the same for lower BACs – suspended jail time, $500 fine, and a loss of licenses for three years.
Second VA DWI Offense Within 10 Years, BAC .21 or Higher
Virginia DWI defendants facing their second charge with BACs in the range of .21 or higher face amongst the most severe punishments for offenders. In addition to receiving an extra twenty days of active jail time (for a total of thirty days), those faced with these charges may be subjected to the same fine, loss of license, ASAP program, and ignition interlock requirements as offenders with lower BACs.
Second Virginia DWI Within 5 Years, BAC .14 or Below
Individuals who are charged with a second Virginia DWI within five years are looking at significant consequences. State law requires that those who meet this criteria serve twenty active days in jail and lose their license for a period of 36 months. During that time, a restricted license may only be issued after the first year. In these heightened Fairfax DWI cases, offenders are also subjected to a $500 fine, participation in the ASAP program, and ignition interlock requirements.
Second VA DWI Offense 2nd Within 5 Tears, BAC .15 to .20
Virginia DWI offenders with a BAC ranging from .15 to .20 will receive harsher penalties because of their increased level of intoxication while on the roads. Defendants will receive a total of thirty days of active jail time, in addition to fines, loss of license, ASAP program requirements, and ignition interlock systems.
Second VA DWI Within 5 years, BAC .21 or Higher
Those who are charged with their second Virgina DWI offense within five years and have a BAC of .21 or higher are subjected to an extra twenty days of active jail time, totaling 40 days behind bars. Additionally, offenders will also be required to endure the same consequences as those second-time defendants with lesser BAC levels – the fine, loss of license, participation in ASAP programming, and ignition interlock systems are all required.
Third Virginia DWI Within 10 Years
The third time a person is convicted of a DWI in Virginia within a ten year period, the charges become felony offenses with significantly harsh consequences. While punishments can range from ninety days to five years in jail, third-time offenders are subjected to a mandatory ninety day jail sentence. This means that under no circumstances can judge a give less than a three-month sentence for these defendants. Offenders are also required to pay fines of at least $1000 and have their driver’s license suspended indefinitely. In these cases, a restricted license may only be provided after five years and with a petition and permission from a judge.
Third VA DWI Offense Within 5 Years
Individuals who are convicted of their third VA DWI charge within a five year period are also facing a felony offense. These defendants are subjected to a range of 180 days to five years in jail, with a mandatory 180 day jail sentence. This ultimately means that judges are prohibited from giving less than an offender less than a six month sentence. Third-time offenders who are charged within a five year period are also required to pay a fine of $1000 and have their license suspended indefinitely. A restricted licenses may only be provided after a period of five years, with petition and permission from a judge.