Nearly half a million people reside in Virginia’s most desirable coastal city. Virginia Beach provides access to miles of pristine coastline and is home to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is a must-visit strip that stretches across blocks of restaurants, hotels, shops, and family-friendly attractions. Tourists travel to Virginia Beach from all over the world to partake in the beach culture and nightlife. With an increase in foot and vehicle traffic, police officers throughout the city are on high alert for wayward drivers, particularly those who show signs of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a severe criminal offense that can change the life of anyone charged. Even if you have never before been in trouble with the law, a DUI charge can disrupt your lifestyle and damage your reputation. Working with a DUI lawyer in Virginia Beach should be your first step after your arrest. A compassionate lawyer will do everything possible to mitigate the DUI charge or have it dismissed entirely. If you’re facing your first, second, or third DUI charge, you can trust the team of Virginia Beach DUI lawyers at Pendleton Law.
Penalties for a First Offense DWI in Virginia Beach
Driving under the influence is a class 1 misdemeanor offense in the Commonwealth, placing this crime just one level below a felony. A relatively common belief is that a misdemeanor of any kind is less damaging than a felony. When it comes to drunk driving, however, a conviction could follow you for life.
The Commonwealth of Virginia will never expunge a DUI conviction, which is why seeking an attorney to help you fight the charges against you soon after your arrest is extremely important. The sooner a Virginia Beach DUI attorney can learn about your case, the better your outcome could be. If an attorney can work on your case before the court files formal charges, he or she might be able to file a motion to have the charges dismissed. Learning your options for defense is crucial if you hope to avoid the worst penalties the system may impose.
The penalties you could face for your first DWI conviction for a BAC of above 0.08 and below 0.15 may include:
- A fine of up to $2,500 plus court costs
- Incarceration in a county jail for up to 12 months
- A period of probation
- Loss of driving privileges through a license revocation
- Mandated driver education and alcohol treatment
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Other Ways a DUI Charge Could Impact Your Life
In addition to administrative and criminal penalties, your way of life could change completely. Your relationships with loved ones might weaken, as can those with employers and coworkers. You might lose the trust of those you care about the most, and building up your reputation could feel like a never-ending battle. In some situations, those with DUI charges against them lose their jobs even before the court gains a conviction.
People who have been arrested for DUI tend to suffer emotionally from the unexpected results of their arrest. DUI defendants may experience grief, depression, and anxiety. Over time, emotional suffering may give way to physical health issues. Even with a strong support system, it can be an uphill battle to overcome a DUI in Virginia Beach.
Common experiences among people who have been charged or convicted of DUI are:
- Social stigma
- Loss of a job and limited opportunities for future employment
- Permanent criminal record
- Challenges regaining the trust of loved ones
- Financial hardships due to the loss of employment and costly fines
- Higher car insurance payments
You should not navigate a charge as serious as DUI on your own. The attorneys with Pendleton Law are passionate about helping people facing criminal traffic charges receive quality legal counsel. Our goal is to reduce the effects of a DUI on your life and help you keep your driver’s license. We have obtained thousands of successful results for people in situations very similar to yours, and have also helped people facing second, third, or subsequent DUI charges.
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What are the consequences of a second DUI in Virginia Beach?
The severity of the penalties associated with DUI in Virginia Beach escalates as the number of DUI offenses climbs. If you’re charged with DUI a second time within 5 years of your first conviction, the Virginia DMV will suspend your driver’s license for three years. The three-year period is mandatory. During this period, you will not be eligible to apply for a restricted license for up to one year. In addition to losing your driving privileges, the judge will be required to sentence you to a minimum of 20 days in jail.
If your second DUI occurred within 5-10 years of your first conviction, the DMV will suspend or revoke your driver’s license for three years; yet, you could apply for a restricted license 4 months after the suspension period begins. You will also be required to spend a minimum of 10 days in jail and install an ignition interlock device.
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Obtaining Effective Legal Representation for DWI in Virginia Beach
Pendleton Law Team is a boutique law firm that provides quality criminal defense to people in Virginia Beach. Our team of DUI attorneys has years of experience fighting DUI and other alcohol-related charges. We understand that a DUI arrest may have been a challenging and emotional experience, and will do everything we can to mitigate the harm. Our goal is to have your DUI charge dropped or reduced whenever possible and to mitigate any criminal penalties if a conviction is unavoidable. We will be by your side throughout the entire criminal process.
Whether you face your first or fourth DUI charge, you need strong representation from attorneys who practice in the court that will hear your case. Our team of confident lawyers can help you get through this. Founder Christina Pendleton has been recognized as a Super Lawyers Rising Star, and our firm has been awarded Avvo’s Client’s Choice. We aim to provide you with the tools necessary to protect your rights in court. Contact us for a free consultation by calling our criminal hotline at (804) 554-4444 or complete our contact form.
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