DUI/DWI

Skilled Lawyers to Defend Your DUI/DWI Case

DUI/DWI

As Virginia DUI/DWI Lawyers, Crowley Peritz Law places special emphasis on defending Driving Under the Influence/Driving While Intoxicated (DUI/DWI) and Refusal cases in Northern Virginia. As one of the most common charges in a geographic area where so many have so much at stake (security clearances, professional licenses, criminal record, immigration status, ability to drive), we pride ourselves in our ability to provide comprehensive DUI/DWI defense and white-glove customer service. Successful representation is more than just high-level work in the courtroom, it also involves thinking strategically about your career/goals, what you have at risk, and making sure you are fully informed at every phase of the legal process. Ease of communications and prompt responses from an empathetic fighter on your legal team is key.

At Crowley Peritz Law, we have a plan for your case that we will begin implementing today and the local know-how to give you the best opportunity for success. There is always hope in these types of cases. Contact us today to begin restoring your peace of mind.

Our Experience

We know that Virginia has some of the toughest DUI/DWI and Refusal laws anywhere and that penalties can range from loss of license, to probation, to time in jail. For clients with an “elevated BAC” (.15 or higher) or who are charged with a second or third offense, the stakes are even greater. 

We have successfully tried thousands of cases throughout Northern Virginia including Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Fauquier and Arlington Counties, as well as the cities of Alexandria, and Winchester.

What Is DUI/DWI?

Virginia Code §18.2-266 prohibits both DWI and DUI. DWI is operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (that is, with certain levels of alcohol or some drugs in your bloodstream, regardless of how you behave). DUI is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both (that is, consuming drugs or alcohol or both to the point where it observably effects “manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, (or) general appearance or behavior.” §4.1-100). With DWI, the government tries to prove a violation of the law through a blood or breath test, whereas a charge of DUI is based on observed behaviors by law enforcement.

What Is Refusal?

Under Virginia’s Implied Consent Laws, every person who operates a motor vehicle on a highway in the Commonwealth has legally already agreed to take a breath or blood test if they are arrested for DUI/DWI. §18.2-268.2. If a person then breaks that agreement by unreasonably refusing to provide a breath or blood sample, they are charged with Refusal. Though first offense Refusal is a civil rather than criminal offense, the punishment is a one-year license suspension. A restricted license can be issued by the court after the first 30 days of that suspension. These suspensions are in addition to any suspension that happens as a result of a DUI/DWI conviction. Second or subsequent Refusal convictions (involving breath samples) are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail, a $2,500.00 fine, and in all cases result in a 3-year license revocation.

It is important to note that implied consent only applies to operating a motor vehicle on a “highway of the Commonwealth.” While it is true that this is not limited just to state-maintained roads, it does not extend to every place a motor vehicle can be driven. Many parking lots or other privately owned locations are not “highway(s) of the Commonwealth” and there is no requirement to provide a breath or blood sample for operating a motor vehicle there.

What Are the Penalties for DUI?

DUI 1st Offense:
  • Seven-day administrative suspension of your license, ending seven days after you were arrested.
  • Suspended Jail Sentence (that is, you are under the threat of going to jail for a period of a year in the event you don’t do all the things the Court orders you to do, or if you are charged with or convicted of another crime after the day you are found guilty of the DUI/DWI).
  • One-year loss of license (if you are licensed in Virginia) or one-year loss of driving privileges in Virginia if you are licensed in another state or the District. A restricted license will be issued which allows for all the driving that can be done on a regular license, so long as an Ignition Interlock device is installed on your vehicle for one year.
  • VASAP classes/supervision.
  • Fine of up to $2,500.00.
  • Criminal record (convictions in Virginia cannot be expunged).
  • Increased penalties: In addition to the above penalties, the court must order an active jail sentence of five days if there is a child in the vehicle or the Defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .15 or higher. If the Defendant’s blood alcohol is .21 or higher, the court must order an active jail sentence of 10 days. For cases where the blood alcohol is .15 or higher, there are additional significant limitations to any restricted license issued.
DUI 2nd Offense:
  • Administrative suspension of your license for 60 days or until your first court date (other than an advisement hearing), whichever comes first.
  • Mandatory Minimum active jail sentence of 20 days and a minimum $500.00 fine if your prior offense (the date the offense was committed, not the date of conviction) was less than five years ago.
  • Mandatory Minimum active jail sentence of ten days and a minimum $500.00 fine if your prior offense (the date the offense was committed, not the date of conviction) was more than five but less than ten years ago.
  • 3-year loss of license. A restricted license may be issued together with installation of ignition interlock four months after conviction for a second conviction within ten years, and one year after conviction for a second conviction within five years.
  • VASAP classes/supervision.
  • Criminal record (convictions in Virginia cannot be expunged).
  • Increased penalties: In addition to the mandatory jail time mentioned above, an additional 10 days of active jail will be imposed if the blood alcohol content (BAC) was .15 or more, and an additional 20 days of jail will be imposed if the BAC was .21 or more. As with a first offense, there is an additional five-day jail sentence if there is a child in the vehicle.
DUI 3rd Offense:

A third DUI offense in Virginia is a felony. Like all felonies, it comes with a loss of civil rights (right to vote, possess a firearm, hold office, etc.). A felony record also makes a person ineligible for many jobs, loans, business licenses, and some types of public assistance. In addition, the penalties are as follows:

  • Administrative license suspension until the day of trial.
  • Mandatory Minimum active jail sentence of 90 days if either of the prior offenses were more than five but less than 10 years ago, plus a $1,000.00 fine.
  • Mandatory Minimum active jail sentence of six months if both prior offenses were within a five-year period, plus a $1,000.00 fine.
  • Indefinite license revocation (may petition for a restricted license no sooner than three years and for full restoration no sooner than five years).
  • Vehicle forfeiture.
  • Criminal record (convictions in Virginia cannot be expunged).
DUI 4th Offense:

A fourth DUI offense in Virginia is a felony. Like all felonies, it comes with a loss of civil rights (right to vote, possess a firearm, hold office, etc.). A felony record also makes a person ineligible for many jobs, loans, and some types of public assistance. In addition, the penalties are as follows:

  • Administrative license suspension until the day of trial.
  • Mandatory Minimum active jail sentence of one year.
  • Indefinite license revocation (may petition for a restricted license no sooner than three years after conviction, and for full restoration no sooner than five years after conviction).
  • Vehicle forfeiture.
  • Criminal record (convictions in Virginia cannot be expunged).

Prior Convictions

In Virginia, a prior conviction for DUI or DWI does not necessarily have to be from the same state. In fact, there is an entire body of law related to what out-of-state DWI, DUI, or OWI laws are “substantially similar” to Virginia’s law to count as a prior conviction. In many cases, this distinction can be the difference between a DWI 3rd offense and 2nd offense. In other words, understanding these differences can prevent you from becoming a convicted felon. Our experienced attorneys at Crowley Peritz Law can help navigate this complicated part of the process.

DUI/DWI for Defendants Who Are Under 21 Years Old and “Baby DUI”

If you or your child is less than 21 years old and operates a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more, your DUI/DWI will be treated just like any other.

However, if you are under 21 years old and are found to be operating a motor vehicle while having a BAC of at least .02 but not more than .07, you can be charged with driving after illegally consuming alcohol, sometimes referred to as “Baby DUI.” If convicted, the penalties are as follows:

  • One-year license suspension (eligible for a restricted license with ignition interlock)
  • Payment of a $500.00 fine or 50 hours of community service.
  • VASAP classes/supervision