Decades Of Successful Representation

Fairfax DUI/DWI Lawyers With Decades Of Experience

The Commonwealth of Virginia is known for having some of the strictest DWI and DUI laws in the country. If you have been charged with DUI/DWI in Fairfax or anywhere in northern Virginia, you are likely facing severe penalties. The severity of drunk driving penalties varies, but increases for those who have higher BAC levels and for repeat offenders. Aggressive defense against DUI/DWI charges is critical.

At Robinson Law, PLLC, our Fairfax DUI/DWI attorneys have more than 50 years of combined experience and an impressive record of success in fighting these charges. We offer free drunk driving defense consultations: 703-542-3616. Contact us immediately after a DUI/DWI arrest for fast and aggressive defense.

What’s The Difference Between DWI And DUI In Virginia?

DWI refers to Driving While Intoxicated, in violation of VA Code §18.2-266. DUI refers to Driving Under the Influence (of drugs or alcohol), also in violation of VA Code §18.2-266.

Although Virginia recognizes these terms interchangeably, a slight difference exists in the statute. The difference between DWI and DUI is identified in subsection (i) in the above statute, where the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% or higher. This is “DWI” and there are two possible tests the Commonwealth of Virginia may use to determine your BAC: Breath Test or Blood Sample Test. DUI, on the other hand, is the charge given when the defendant takes neither a breath test nor a blood test. DUI is obtained when an individual has consumed enough alcohol (or drugs) to the point of “…observably affect[ing] his manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior” (VA Code §4.1-100).

n sum, a DWI charge has a scientific component (i.e. the result of your breath or blood test). DUI is the charge given to an individual who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but refuses to submit to the chemical testing of their breath/blood.

Is DUI A Misdemeanor Or Felony Offense In Virginia?

A first-offense DUI and second-offense DUI in Virginia are both categorized as misdemeanors. A third-offense DUI and any subsequent DUI charges are felonies. This is true for both alcohol-based drunk driving arrests and drug-based drunk driving arrests.

What Are The Penalties For A Virginia DUI?

The penalties for a Virginia DUI conviction depend heavily on whether the defendant has any prior DUI convictions and the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the defendant. Each DUI arrest our criminal defense lawyers take on has its own set of facts – no DUI case can be compared to another DUI case.

Regardless of the nature of your DUI traffic stop, our goal is to help you overcome the charges entirely or at least reduce the penalties so they do not interfere with your life.

Learn more about the penalties for driving drunk in Virginia.

Should I Fight My Drunk Driving Charges Or Just Plead Guilty?

You have the right to fight any criminal charge and DUI is no exception.

DUI charges are expensive. Pleading guilty to drunk driving means you could be hit with the maximum penalties. You could face fines. You can temporarily or permanently lose your driver’s license. You could even end up in jail. Those are just the official legal penalties that come with a drunk driving conviction in Virginia. The conviction can also come up on background checks, limiting potential job opportunities. To say that pleading guilty and accepting a DUI conviction will make your life difficult is an understatement.

People often plead guilty to DUI because they think hiring a Fairfax drunk driving defense attorney is too expensive. However, if you balance all of the costs that come with a conviction, that may not be the case. Some people do not hire a lawyer because they think there is no way to fight the DUI offense. In reality, an experienced DUI lawyer may be able to find a defense strategy that can make a big difference for you.

Learn more about DUI defense strategies.

Do I Have To Provide A Breath Or Blood Sample?

By driving on Virginia’s highways, you have legally consented to the chemical testing of your breath or blood to establish your blood alcohol content (BAC).

This is outlined in Virginia’s Implied Consent Law (section A of VA Code §18.2-268.2). Because a driver’s license is a privilege rather than a right, the state of Virginia has the power to mandate any rule pertaining to it. You do not have the option of choosing which test you would like to have administered at a DUI traffic stop. If you are unable to submit to a breath test, you will likely be offered the opportunity to provide a blood sample. The operating vehicle must be on a highway and the breath or blood test must be given within three hours of the time of arrest. Note “highway” in this statute refers to a very broad understanding of the term.

If you refuse to submit to either test, you receive a separate, civil violation charge known as “Refusal” in addition to your DUI charge.

Learn more about the implied consent law in Virginia.

What If I Refuse The Breath Or Blood Test In A Virginia DUI?

As stated above, Virginia drivers automatically consent to have their BAC tested in the event of DUI or DWI arrest. If you refuse to submit to either test at a drunk driving traffic stop, you will be charged with the civil violation of Refusal as outlined in Virginia Code 18.2-268.3. Refusal, 1st Offense in Virginia:

  • One-year license suspension (NOT eligible for a restricted license)
  • Noncriminal violation

Refusal, 2nd Offense within 10 Years:

  • Maximum court fine of $1,000
  • Maximum six-month jail sentence
  • Three-year license suspension (NOT eligible for a restricted license)
  • Criminal violation (Class 2 misdemeanor)

Refusal, 3rd Offense within 10 Years:

  • Maximum court fine of $2,500
  • Maximum one-year jail sentence
  • Three-year license suspension (NOT eligible for a restricted license)
  • Criminal violation (Class 1 misdemeanor)

Learn more about refusing a DUI breath or blood test.

DWI, First Offense In Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia classifies a first DWI offense as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, you may face some or all the following penalties:

  • Seven-day administrative license suspension (license reinstated seven days after your arrest date)
  • Court fines ranging from $250 to $2,500
  • One-year license suspension (possibly eligible for a restricted license)
  • Possible jail time (mandatory five-day minimum IF driving with a minor in the car)
  • Possible Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP)
  • Ignition interlock device
  • Criminal record
  • Any court-ordered restitution

Learn more about first offense DUI arrests.

DWI, Second Offense In Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia classifies a second DWI offense as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, you may face some or all of the following penalties:

  • Sixty-day administrative license suspension (license reinstated 60 days after your arrest date)
  • Court fines ranging from $500 to $2,500
  • Indefinite license revocation (possibly eligible for a restricted license)
  • If within less than five years of the first offense, a mandatory one to 12-month jail sentence
  • If within 10 years of the first offense, a mandatory minimum of 10-day jail sentence
  • Possible Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP)
  • Ignition interlock device
  • Criminal record
  • Any court-ordered restitution

Learn more about second offense DUI arrests.

DWI, Third Offense In Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia classifies a third DWI offense as a Class 6 felony. If convicted, you may face some or all the following penalties:

  • Administrative license suspension until your trial date
  • Felony charge (vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture)
  • $1000 minimum fine
  • Indefinite license revocation
  • If within five years of second offense, minimum six-month jail sentence
  • If within 10 years of second offense, minimum three-month jail sentence
  • Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP)
  • Ignition interlock device
  • Criminal record
  • Any court-ordered restitution

DWI, Fourth Offense In Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia classifies a fourth DWI offense as a Class 6 felony. If convicted, you may face some of all of the following penalties:

  • Administrative license suspension until your trial date
  • Felony charge (vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture)
  • $1000 minimum fine
  • Indefinite license revocation
  • Minimum 12-month jail sentence
  • Possible Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP)
  • Ignition interlock device
  • Criminal record
  • Any court-ordered restitution

Learn more about repeat offender DUI arrests.

Elevated Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) In A Virginia DUI

In addition to the penalties listed above after being arrested for DUI, if your BAC is .15% or higher, you may be facing the following penalties: BAC of .15% to .19%:

  • 1st offense: additional mandatory, minimum five-day jail sentence
  • 2nd offense: (if within 10 years of 1st offense) mandatory, minimum additional 10-day jail sentence

BAC of .20% or higher:

  • 1st offense: additional mandatory, minimum 10-day jail sentence
  • 2nd offense: (if within 10 years of 1st offense) mandatory, minimum additional 20-day jail sentence plus $500 fine

DWI Under the Age of 21: “Baby DUI” in Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a strict zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. You will receive the same harsh punishments as those who are charged at 21 or older. If you are younger than 21 years and your BAC is between .02%-.07% at the time of arrest, you can be charged with DUI. When an underage driver’s BAC is above a .07%, the standard DUI/DWI rules apply.

  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • Court fines of up to $2,500
  • Mandatory minimum $500 fine OR minimum 50 hours of community service
  • Twelve-month license suspension (possibly eligible for a restricted license)
  • Possible Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP)
  • Possible ignition interlock device
  • Criminal record (Class 1 misdemeanor)
  • Any court-ordered restitution

Learn more about DUI charges for underage drivers.

Start Fighting Your DUI Charge With A Free Consultation

Your DUI charge may leave you feeling scared. However, it doesn’t have to. Set up a free consultation with our Fairfax law office today by calling 703-542-3616 or completing our contact form. Our lawyers can review the details of your drunk driving offense and create a tailored defense strategy that addresses your concerns and helps you seek your desired outcomes.