Virginia DUI Laws, Fines and Penalties

Need Professional Help? Talk to a Local Defense Attorney.
Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area
searchbox small

What are the penalties for a DUI in Virginia?

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense


Min. 5 days

20 days to 1 year

Min. 6 months

Fines and Penalties

Min. 250

Min. $500

Min. $1,000

License Suspension

1 year

3 years


IID** Required

Yes (if BAC .15 or above)



**Interlock Ignition Device

How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a DUI in Virginia?

Under 21


21 or older




** BAC = blood alcohol content

How many drinks does it take? Check the BAC chart.

What if you refuse to take a chemical test in Virginia?

Virginia has an implied consent law. That means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. Learn more about Virginia’s implied consent law.


1st Offense

2d offense

3rd Offense

Refusal to take test

1 year license suspension

3 year license suspension (if prior refusal occurred within 10 years)

3 year license suspension (if prior refusals occurred within 10 years)

Disclaimer: We try to keep the information provided here up to date. However, laws often change, as do their interpretation and application. Different jurisdictions within a state may enforce the laws in different ways. For that reason, we recommended that you seek the advice of a local attorney familiar with DUI cases in your area.

Can you plead to a lesser offense than DUI in Virginia?

A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in your state, but it's possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.

Drinking and Driving Laws in Virginia

It is illegal in the State of Virginia to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above. The .08 percent limit is the benchmark for the "impaired" driver throughout the United States. In the State of Virginia, the BAC limit is lower for commercial drivers (.04) and drivers under the age of 21 (.02). The Virginia DUI law also prohibits driving under the influence of controlled substances and prescription drugs that may impair a drivers ability to navigate the roads safely.

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in Virginia? Determining the number of drinks it takes to reach the .08 percent BAC limit is different for each individual. There are many variables that contribute to a BAC score such as your weight, sex, body-fat percentage, physical conditioning and more. There are tables and calculators that can provide a reference based on number of drinks, duration interval between drinks and sex, however these tools do not factor in all of the variables in the BAC equation.

The best answer is not to drink and drive. The State of Virginia has strict laws for drunk driving, and when you drink and drive in Virginia, you risk your freedom, finances and your future.

The first time you are arrested and convicted of drunk driving in the State of Virginia you will receive a minimum fine of $250 and your drivers license will be suspended for 1 year. If you were driving with a child under the age of 17 at the time of your arrest, you will serve a minimum 5 day jail term. You will also face additional fines ranging from $500-$1,000. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was between .15 and .20 at the time of arrest you will receive a mandatory minimum 5 days in jail. If your BAC was between .20 or higher, you will receive a minimum mandatory 10 days in jail.

The second time you are arrested for a DUI in Virginia you will receive a mandatory minimum fine of $500. Your drivers license will be revoked for 3 years and you could serve up to 1 year in jail. On your second DUI you will serve a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail if it was within 10 years of the first. If the DUI was within 5 years of the first you will spend a mandatory minimum of 20 days in jail. If you were driving with a child under the age of 17 at the time of your second arrest, you will be ordered to do 80 hours of community service in addition to other fines and jail time. You will also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device installed on every vehicle you own, co-own or operate as a condition of restricted driving privileges or full restoration of your driving privileges.

The 3rd arrest and conviction for drunk driving in the State of Virginia within a 10 year period is considered a felony. You will receive a mandatory minimum indefinite drivers license revocation. You will also be fined a mandatory minimum $1,000. You will also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device installed on every vehicle you own, co-own or operate as a condition of restricted driving privileges or full restoration of your driving privileges if the court allows. If the 3rd offense was within 5 years you will face a mandatory minimum of 6 months in jail and a permanent forfeiture of your vehicle. If the 3rd offense was within 10 years you will receive a mandatory minimum 90 days in jail. and a permanent forfeiture of your vehicle.

New Virginia DUI Laws

The 2010 change in Virginia’s DUI laws includes the impoundment of an individual’s car if the individual has been convicted of a DUI and continues to drive on a suspended license. The impoundment will last a minimum of 90 days. Additionally, those driving a school bus while intoxicated now face Class 1 misdemeanor charges.

Previous Changes to Virginia DUI Laws

Virginia Senate Bill 889

Provides that operation of a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock when such operation is prohibited is a Class 1 misdemeanor and that the person's operator's license shall be revoked for one year.

Virginia Senate Bill 1463

Requires installation of an ignition interlock as a condition of license restoration after a three-year revocation for any second conviction, not just those committed within less than ten years after a first offense.

Virginia House Bill 1693

Relates to driving under the influence and blood tests, allows use of blood alcohol testing on whole blood to be admitted into evidence in a DUI prosecution.

Virginia House Bill 2532

Specifies that a locality that has passed an enabling ordinance is entitled to restitution from a person convicted of certain DUI offenses as compensation for law-enforcement response expenses regardless of whether an accident occurs, includes civil actions

On March, 27th 2008 the Governor of Virginia signed House Bill 719 into law. This bill relates to penalties for underage drinking and driving and provides that underage drinking and driving is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill also provides for forfeiture of such person's license to operate a motor vehicle for one year from the date of conviction and a mandatory minimum fine or community service.

Another change in the State of Virginia drunk driving law is House Bill 1442. This bill, Chapter No. 862, relates to limitations of ignition interlock systems and requires the implementation of ignition interlock following a first DUI conviction and raises the administrative fee. The also provides that the cost of the interlock is to be paid from the criminal fund if the person is indigent and that the person is prohibited from driving a school bus, a school vehicle, or a passenger vehicle that carries more than a certain number of people. This bill also relates to violations of a restricted license.

by: , Attorney

Talk to a Lawyer

Start here to find defense attorneys near you.
how it works 1
Briefly tell us about your case
how it works 2
Provide your contact information
how it works 1
Choose attorneys to contact you