Most Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges in Virginia are misdemeanors, but under some circumstances, you can be charged with a felony. Felony convictions appear in your background check when you apply for housing or employment. These charges carry hefty fines and significant jail time, forever changing your life.
If you have been charged with Felony DUI in Virginia, contact the criminal defense attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC.
Third or Subsequent DUI Convictions
A third DUI conviction is a Class 6 Felony, and you could face up to five years in prison and fines up to $2,500. Unlike first and second DUI offenses, your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) does not affect the penalties.
A third conviction within 10 years carries a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If you have a third conviction within five years, you face a mandatory minimum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Fourth or subsequent convictions within 10 years have a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one year and a $1,000 fine.
The Court could sentence you to additional penalties including:
- Revoking your driver's license. After your third DUI conviction, you lose the ability to apply for a restricted license.
- Installing an Ignition Interlock Device on any vehicle registered in your name for at least six months.
- Confiscation of vehicles owned solely by you.
DUI-Related Involuntary Manslaughter
In Virginia, involuntary manslaughter is unintentionally killing another human being without premeditation. If you drive under the influence of alcohol and cause another person's death, you could be charged with involuntary manslaughter in addition to DUI.
Involuntary manslaughter is a Class 5 Felony. If convicted, you face up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $2,500. Your driver's license is revoked. You can petition for a restricted license three years after your conviction and for full reinstatement of your driving privileges after five years. However, based on the circumstances of your case, the Judge may choose not to grant your petition, and your driver's license may remain revoked.
If your actions were so reckless that they demonstrated a reckless disregard for human life, you could be charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter. This conviction has a mandatory minimum one year in prison, but you could face up to 20 years.
In addition to fines and imprisonment, you face having your vehicle seized and forfeited.
The Commonwealth may prosecute you under other Virginia homicide laws, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
You may also face a civil lawsuit for wrongful death. This typically happens after your criminal trial, but the deceased's estate can file a lawsuit at any time. The civil lawsuit may proceed whether you are convicted or acquitted of DUI-Related Involuntary Manslaughter or Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter.
DUI and Child Abuse
If you are charged with DUI and were transporting a child under the age of 18 at the time of your arrest, you may face enhanced penalties, including mandatory five days in jail and a fine between $500 and $1000. This is a misdemeanor charge. However, in some cases, the driver's actions show complete disregard for the child's safety, and you could be charged with felony child abuse charges in addition to DUI.
Child abuse is any willful act or omission that shows a reckless disregard for human life. This is a Class 6 Felony, and you could face one to five years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. Reckless driving, speeding, or failing to secure the child in an age-appropriate car seat could result in child abuse charges.
If your child suffered serious injuries as a result of your DUI, and the prosecution proves that your actions were willful, you could be charged with a Class 4 Felony and face two to 10 years in prison and fines up to $100,000. A serious injury is a fracture, disfigurement, severe burn or laceration, or life-threatening internal injuries.
In addition to criminal charges, a DUI and child abuse conviction could affect your child custody. You may also face a civil lawsuit if you were transporting someone else's child at the time of your arrest.
A felony DUI charge can severely impact your future, so you need a strong defense. The attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC, will analyze all aspects of your case and build the strongest defense for you.
Law enforcement must have a legal reason to stop your vehicle. If they do not have probable cause, we can challenge the basis of the initial traffic stop.
If you provide a breath or blood sample, law enforcement and associated medical personnel must follow precise collection, testing, and chain of custody procedures. We can challenge these.
A margin of error exists in chemical breath and blood tests. If your sample was within this margin of error, we can use this in your defense
Have You Been Charged With Felony DUI in Virginia?
Your Felony DUI case is unique, and you need an aggressive, dedicated attorney from S.L. England, PLLC, to look at all aspects of your situation and build the strongest defense for you. Call (202) 572-1020 or contact us online today.