Virginia DUI Laws & Penalties

Virginia DUI

Virginia DUI law (section § 18.2-270) states that DUI is a class 1 misdemeanor.  The best way to describe exactly what Virginia DUI law says is to describe it as 2 separate violations. When someone is arrested in Virginia for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (prescription or illegal) they are charged with 2 separate offenses. These 2 separate citations are what comprise what is commonly referred to as a Virginia DUI.

Virginia drunk driving convictions can be obtained by proving either of the following offenses;

  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol (or drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs), or by
  • Violating the Virginia "per se" laws.


The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Virginia is .08 % which means that it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08% or greater. If you submitted to a chemical test and the results came in at .08% or greater then you'll most likely be convicted of violating the Virginia per se law. The test results are the only evidence the prosecution needs to prove guilt on this count.

What is not commonly realized though is that you can get a Virginia DUI even if you are not over the legal blood alcohol limit. If the officer determines that the amount of alcohol you consumed was enough to impair your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle he or she can still cite you for driving under the influence (DUI), no matter what your BAC was. Below are some of the punishments you can expect.

Virginia DUI Punishments

Relevant DUI law statutes:  Virginia DUI Law § 18.2-270, § 18.2-271, § 18.2-270.1, § 18.2-271.1

Virginia DUI First Offense

Class 1 Misdemeanor

  • Max fine is $2500
  • Max jail sentence is 1 year for a misdemeanor
  • Drivers license suspension for 1 year (judge can allow restricted driving privileges allowing transportation to and from work)
  • Alcohol education program (Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, or VASAP)

Note:  If your BAC was below .15% it is not likely that you will serve jail time. If your BAC was .15% or above a mandatory 5 day jail sentence applies. If your BAC was .21% or greater there is a 10 mandatory 10 day sentence.

Virginia DUI Second Offense

  • Drivers license suspension for 3 years (restricted driving privileges available after 4 months of suspension if 2nd was within 10 years of 1st OR after 1 year if 2nd was within 5 years of 1st offense)
  • 10-20 day jail sentence (depending on how recent the last offense was)
  • Alcohol education program (Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, or VASAP)

Virginia DUI Third Offense

  • Class 6 felony
  • Imprisonment up to 5 years in state prison system (minimum of 3 months)
  • Alcohol education program (Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, or VASAP)

Virginia DUI Attorneys

DUI Arrest Help.com has compiled a list of skilled DUI defense attorneys in Virginia who have agreed to offer you a free initial consultation to discuss your case.  There is no obligation to use them, and you can get some great information about what you should do in this free consultation.  

Click here to speak with one of our Virginia DUI lawyers.

Insurance Considerations for a Virginia DUI

SR-22 insurance is required in the state of Virginia after a DUI conviction.  This type of insurance is classified as 'high risk' meaning you are a higher risk to the insurance companies so consequently they will charge more for taking on more risk.  This can get very expensive if you sign up for one of these policies with the wrong company.

DUI Arrest Help.com has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of Virginia and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.

You won't be able to find a cheaper SR22 insurance policy in Virginia for any less.  Type in your zip code below so we can provide you with the cheapest rates in your area.



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Other Virginia DUI Resources