Virginia DUI/DWI Misdemeanor
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the crime of driving while intoxicated by alcohol or other intoxicants can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. It all depends upon the facts surrounding your case. And although both misdemeanors and felonies are criminal offenses, there is a big difference in the severity of punishment that each one carries. Regardless of whether a DUI/DWI conviction is classified as a misdemeanor or felony, a DUI/DWI conviction will be on your permanent criminal record.
Offenses That Constitute A Misdemeanor
What is a misdemeanor? A misdemeanor is considered a lesser offense than a felony. Under Virginia law, there are four classes or levels of misdemeanors. The less serious classes of misdemeanors are Class 3 and Class 4 misdemeanors. These classes of misdemeanors do not carry jail time, but rather they consist of solely a fine. On the other hand, Class 1 and Class 2 misdemeanors are more serious with a Class 1 misdemeanor carrying up to one year in jail and a Class 2 misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail. Additionally, both Class 1 and Class 2 misdemeanors carry a fine as well.
When is DUI/DWI a misdemeanor? Most of the time, a first offense DUI/DWI is charged as a misdemeanor. However, if there are other crimes connected to the DUI OR DWI—for example, if someone is injured or killed as a result of the DUI/DWI—then it can be charged as felony. Under the Virginia DUI/DWI statute, except in extenuating circumstances, both first offense and second offense DUI/DWIs are treated as misdemeanors. However, if you are charged with a third or subsequent offense within ten years, you will be facing a felony charge.
Misdemeanor Costs And Sentences
What is the punishment for a misdemeanor DUI/DWI? Depending upon your blood alcohol content and whether you are charged with a first offense DUI/DWI or a second offense DUI/DWI, you will be facing between five and twenty days in jail at a minimum. Additionally, you will be assessed a minimum fine of either $250 or $500. Your driver’s license will also be suspended for one year.