Getting two DUIs is bad enough, but if you manage to get charged with a third DUI then the penalties get much worse. This is the stage where a DUI becomes a felony. Your driving privileges, and even your car, can be threatened as well.
It doesn’t matter if the offenses are years apart. You need a Richmond DUI lawyer with experience in third DUI offense cases. The Pendleton Law Team is ready to help you fight this charge.
Why Is a Third DUI Charge so Bad?
A third DUI offense is codified in Virginia law §18.2-266 as a class 6 felony, punishable by 1-5 years in prison and fines from $1,000 to $2,500. There are also several modifiers that can increase both of these, like if you were underage or if someone was injured or killed in a crash.
In addition, your vehicle is subject to seizure and forfeiture. This means the state can take it as punishment along with your license. Furthermore, you will lose your license for at least three years, and possibly for life.
There is a possibility of a shorter jail sentence, but there are mandatory minimums. If you get your third DUI in 10 years, the minimum sentence is 90 days. If it’s within five years, the minimum is 180 days.
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After Your Sentence
Once you are out of jail or prison, getting your license back is no small matter. You will first be forced to attend Virginia’s Alcohol Safety Action Program, as well as some form of treatment or educational course mandated by the court to help with your alcoholism.
Also, as the third DUI offense, you cannot get any kind of license for at least three years. This includes restricted licenses. It may be possible after five years to appeal to the court to get a license reinstatement, but you will be required to use an ignition interlock device for at least six months.
You will also have the loss of civil rights that comes with a felony conviction. These include losing your right to vote, to bear arms, to serve on a jury, and others. Getting these rights back is a years-long process of staying on the right side of the law, then petitioning the court.
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What If My Prior DUIs Were Out of State?
Out-of-state DUIs count under Virginia law for higher-level offenses. Granted, the state will have to prove that the law violated in another state meets the standard of Virginia law, but most states have largely similar DUI laws.
Thus, if you’ve had DUI problems in the past in another state, don’t think that the clock resets here! It takes over 10 years for a DUI to drop off your record for mandatory punishment. Depending on the old DUI, a judge could still bring it into consideration when deciding a sentence.
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Get an Experienced Third DUI Offense Lawyer Today
If you’re in Richmond and you’re facing a third DUI charge, you cannot afford to waste time. Even a short prison sentence can make you lose your job and your home. The license revocation and vehicle seizure will add even more obstacles once you’re freed.
Fight back as best as you can with help from our legal team. The Pendleton Law Team is ready to help you with your case. Call us or use our contact form to set up a consultation as soon as possible. The earlier we can start on your case, the more favorable your chances will be.
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