Second Offense DWI in Virginia

What Virginia considers a second DWI offense, and what penalties follow a conviction.

A DWI (driving while intoxicated) is considered a second offense in Virginia if the driver has one prior DWI conviction that occurred within the last ten years. A second-offense DWI is a misdemeanor and usually carries mandatory jail time, fines, substance abuse treatment, and license suspension. This article discusses the specific penalties you'll face if convicted of a second DWI in Virginia.

Criminal Penalties

The penalties for a second-offense DWI are set by statute and are more severe if the driver had a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or a minor passenger at the time of the offense. The driver will also face increased penalties if the prior DWI conviction occurred within the last five years.

Jail time. A second offense can carry a maximum of one year in jail, but the minimum jail time depends on different factors.

Prior Within Last 10 Years

Prior Within Last 5 Years

Standard DWI

10 days to 1 year

20 days to 1 year

.15% to .20% BAC

20 days to 1 year

30 days to 1 year

.20% or more BAC

30 days to 1 year

40 days to 1 year

A driver transporting a juvenile passenger (17 years old or younger) will receive an additional five days in jail.

Fines. A second DWI conviction normally carries a fine of $500 to $2,500, a $50 trauma fund fee, and a $250 to $300 treatment fee. The court will add an additional $500 to $1,000 if a juvenile passenger was present during the second offense.

Treatment. The Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) is mandatory for all second-offense DWIs. Based on the results of the initial evaluation, the court can order treatment or a minimum of 20 hours of education classes.

Driver's License Consequences

A DWI can result in multiple license-related penalties. If drivers receive multiple license suspensions, they will typically run concurrently, meaning back-to-back.

License seizure. If, at the time of arrest, the driver's BAC was at least .08%, the officer is supposed to immediately seize the driver's license. The local court will hold the license for 60 days.

Conviction suspensions. The Virginia Department of Transportation (DOT) receives notice of all DWI convictions. For a second conviction, the DOT will issue a three-year license revocation.

IIDs. A minimum six-month ignition interlock device (IID) requirement is mandatory for all second offenses. However, with the IID, the driver may be able to obtain a restricted license, which permits the holder to drive to and from work, school, and treatment. If the driver is compliant with the VASAP requirements, he or she can request a restricted IID license after serving four months of the revocation period (one year if the prior offense was within the last five years).

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