Sentencing Punishments for DUI Offenses in Virginia, by Thad Furlong

The Commonwealth of Virginia has imposed strict sentencing punishments for individuals found guilty of driving under the influence. These are harsh compared to other states and are made stricter every year. A person can be found guilty of DWI (driving While Intoxicated) or DUI (Driving Under the Influence) if the officer has probable cause to believe their driving is impaired by alcohol or another drug. The same law covers both DWI and DUI. Virginia courts often refer to both types as “DUI.”

First time offenders can expect a minimum $250 fine and to have their driver’s license suspended for one year. A Restricted License with an Interlock ignition device allowing driving to and from work may be requested. Drivers with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 or greater face a mandatory five-day jail sentence. For a BAC greater than 0.20, drivers face a 10-day sentence. Different counties may add on higher punishments or additional DUI penalties, like having to attend a Victim Impact Panel composed of people injured by Virginia drunk drivers. All convicted Virginia DUI/DWI drivers also must complete ASAP. an alcohol safety program.

For second offenses, the state could convict an individual for one month to one year with a mandatory fine of $500 or more and a license suspension of up to three years. Repeat convictions within a five to 10 year span carry mandatory sentencing with additional jail time for a higher BAC. So Virginia has a 10 year look-back period for prior DUI offenses.

If an individual receives a third DUI within 10 years, the offense is classified as a class six felony. Along with a sentence of at least 90 days in jail, the offense carries a minimum $1000 fine and loss of license.

A fourth DUI offense results in a mandatory sentence of one year in jail.

About the author: Thad (Thaddeus) Furlong is an attorney based in Stafford, Virginia, whose area of practice includes handling criminal DUI and DWI offenses, drug offenses, traffic violations, and other crimes. A former law enforcement officer, Mr. Furlong understands the impact laws can have on the accused and strives to offer clear and effective representation.

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About Thad Furlong

A criminal defense attorney, former law enforcement professional, and veteran of the United States military, Thaddeus Furlong brings more than three decades of relevant experience to his work at Stone Furlong Drewniak PLLC in Stafford, Virginia. Commanding an impressive and highly diversified professional background, Thaddeus Furlong spent the first 20 years of his career in a broad range of educational and occupational capacities, with notable work performed as a nuclear submarine officer, police officer, FBI Instructor and his helping hundreds of clients as a Georgetown Law criminal defense attorney. During this time, Thaddeus Furlong worked in the U.S. Navy in land and sea assignments, including on the staff of the Commander Middle East Force during the reflagged tanker hostilities in the Persian Gulf. While in the Navy, he also served on nuclear submarines, was a Certified Government Contracting Officer, and worked with various embassies in a number of countries. In addition, Thaddeus Furlong attended California State University, Los Angeles, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. First in his class at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Explorer Academy, he was selected to represent the department at a conference in Washington, DC, where he met the President of the United States. He also served as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department and graduated first in his class with the Fairfax County Police. He has served in a variety of law enforcement positions, including patrol operations and criminal investigation. He is now an adjunct instructor at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Seeking further professional development, Thaddeus Furlong enrolled at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., where, in addition to his coursework, he took part in various legal aid activities. Graduating from Georgetown with his Juris Doctor in 1995, Thaddeus Furlong subsequently passed the Virginia Bar Examination and embarked on the next phase of his career. After 10 years at various law firms in Virginia, Thaddeus Furlong joined Bose Law Firm PLLC as a Senior Attorney. From 2005 through 2010, Thaddeus Furlong proved an integral member of the team at Bose Law Firm PLLC, representing clients on a wide variety of cases involving bank fraud, sex crimes, DUIs, and more. Expanding his legal practice, Thaddeus Furlong teamed up with a number of former law enforcement professionals, now experienced criminal defense attorneys, to form Stone Furlong Drewniak PLLC, which represents clients statewide in all Virginia local and federal courts. Aside from his work at Stone Furlong Drewniak PLLC, Thaddeus Furlong serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Northern Virginia Community College and Adjunct Instructor at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. To read more about the professional history of Thaddeus Furlong and the legal services he provides at Stone Furlong Drewniak PLLC, please visit the firm’s official website at www.stonefurlongdrewniak.com.
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