If you receive a DUI/DWI charge in Virginia, you already face severe penalties, such as losing your driver’s license, a fine, jail time and probation. However, if certain factors are present, the prosecutor will request penalties that go well beyond that. In this case, you are subject to an “aggravated DUI/DWI charge.”
An aggravated DUI/DWI charge arises when certain aggravating factors are present during a routine DUI/DWI stop. A conviction can result in enhanced penalties by doing one of two things: either raising the actual charge against you or expanding the range of potential punishments. Because the consequences of an aggravated DUI/DWI are so severe, it is important that you understand what factors may result in an elevated charge. Here are five factors that commonly result in an aggravated DUI/DWI in Virginia.
1. Very high BAC
Virginia’s legal limit for blood alcohol concentration – regardless of whether you look, sound, or move as if you were sober – is.08%. The law presumes that if your BAC is .08% or higher during a traffic stop, you are guilty of a DUI/DWI. However, if your BAC is unusually high — .15-.20 or .21+ — you will be charged with and aggravated DUI/DWI. Such charges carry mandatory jail time of 5 and 10 days, respectively. See Va. Code § 18.2-270(A).
2. Multiple convictions
If you are a repeat offender, you will face additional jail time and fines. Virginia imposes harsher penalties to repeat offenders in an effort to discourage future similar behavior. For a second offense in 10 years, there is a 10 day mandatory jail stay plus a $500 minimum fine. If the second offense is in 5 years or less, there is a 20 day mandatory jail stay plus a $500 minimum fine. See Va. Code § 18.2-270(B). For a third offense or subsequent offense, the charge becomes a felony and far even more severe fine and jail sentence is possible.
3. The presence of minors
If child (someone under age 18) is riding in the car with you and you are found guilty of DUI/DWI, the judge will impose an additional $500-$1000 fine and 5 days of mandatory jail time. See Va. Code § 18.2-270(D).
4. Speeding while intoxicated
If you are speeding 20+ mph over the limit and/or going 86 mph while drunk or high, you could be charged with Reckless Driving. See Va. Code § 46.2-862. This would be separate criminal charge in addition to the DUI/DWI charge.
5. Driving on a suspended license
Finally, if an officer catches you driving on a suspended or revoked license while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you could be charged with criminally under Va. Code § 46.2-301. This would be separate criminal charge in addition to the DUI/DWI charge.
If you or a love one are facing any type of DUI charge, you need an experienced and skilled defense attorney who can fight for you. Contact Frankl Miller Webb & Moyers LLP, to speak with Mr. Gick in a free consultation. Call us at 540-627-5131 or send us an email to schedule your free consultation.