DUI Law in Richmond, VA

What Is a DUI?

DUI, which refers to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is a criminal offense that can lead to weighty consequences. Also known as DWI, the process of going to court to face either conviction or exoneration can change the course of your life forever.

Learn more about your DUI law defense options below, and then talk to a local attorney in Richmond, Virginia who will help you in this delicate situation. You don’t have to stare down consequences alone. You can take wise steps today to protect your interests.

Possible Consequences of a Richmond, Virginia DUI Conviction

Where you live, the severity of the incident, and your criminal record determine the sentencing for a DUI. The punishments can drastically increase if you have had previous DUIs, so be mindful of that. If this is your first DUI, do not go at it alone and risk costly mistakes. Get a Richmond law firm on your side to fight for you and your rights.

Paying Fines

If convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Richmond, Virginia, you can count on fines being a part of your sentencing. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, minimum DUI fines can range from $250 for a first offense, to $1,000 for a third offense. However, the maximum fine of $2,500 can be imposed on any offense.

However, other factors can drastically increase the amount you must pay, including:

  • Any damage to property while driving under the influence
  • If someone suffered injuries as a result of your intoxicated driving
  • Cases that include child endangerment
  • Any court costs associated with your case

Jail Time

Jail time is mandatory, even for first-time offenders in Richmond. If this is your first DUI offense, you may only have to face a day or two in prison. But if you have previous convictions for DUIs, you can be sentenced to several months or years, depending on the nature of the crime. Know that some circumstances can add even more time in a cell, including injury to other people while driving under the influence.


If you do not face jail time, you will likely be on probation, with the sentencing judge determining the duration. You will pay monthly fees, and you cannot commit any more criminal offenses, including traffic violations. If you violate the terms of your probation, count on facing time behind bars.

On your first DUI in Richmond, Virginia, you can be given one year of probation. First offenders will not typically be referred to a probation agency for supervision. Instead, they will be ordered to enter and complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP). Of note, you must enroll in VASAP within 15 days of conviction. Probation terms can include the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device, DUI School, and alcohol/drug testing. If you live in Richmond, you will typically enroll in the Capital Area ASAP. Since completion of VASAP is a condition of any suspended jail sentence, failure to comply can result in serving jail time.

Drug and Alcohol Education Program

Following a Richmond DUI sentencing, the law states you must complete a drug and alcohol education program. This will teach you about the dangers of driving under the influence. These programs cost more fees besides the legal costs you already have to pay.

If you are convicted of a DUI in Richmond, you will typically be assigned to Intensive Education DUI School. This involves spending a minimum of 20 hours during a 10-week period in class. These classes are part of the overall Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program. The standard fee is $300. For Richmond residents, you will typically take your class at the Capital Area ASAP. Of note, on-line programs are not approved by the state. After all reinstatement requirements are met, the fees to reinstate your license in Richmond can range from $175 to $220.

The education programs also include a DUI evaluation. An evaluator asks you questions about how alcohol and drugs affect your life. If they believe that you are dependent, you may have to enter a substance abuse treatment program.

Suspension or Loss of License

No matter where you may face a DUI conviction, you have to undergo a license suspension period, at the very least. If it is your first DUI, you may have a license suspension for a few months while you go through probation and the drug and alcohol education program.

If this is not your first DUI, you may have your license suspended for much longer, or you could have it taken from you permanently.

What Should You Do When Charged With a DUI in Richmond, Virginia?

If you’re facing a felony DUI charge, you must take the following steps to protect yourself:

Step 1: Contact an Attorney Familiar With Richmond, VA DUI Law

Immediately following your DUI arrest, you need to contact an experienced Richmond DUI attorney. Your attorney can help prepare for your arraignment and prepare a defense to vindicate yourself or reduce the sentencing.

Step 2: Learn About Your Local DUI Laws

Richmond, Virginia has unique laws for DUI or DWI charges. Your lawyer will work with you to help you better understand your state’s laws on driving while intoxicated. It is critical to understand what charges you face and the potential outcomes of your case. 

Step 3: Request a DMV Hearing

You or your attorney should request a hearing as soon as possible following your arrest. In Richmond, Virginia you only have so much time to ask for a DMV hearing to keep your license until your court appearance. If you do not request a hearing, prepare for a license suspension.

If you are arrested for a DUI offense in Richmond, Virginia, the officer will confiscate your license. The officer will also give you a Notice of Administrative Suspension. If this is your first offense, your license is automatically suspended for 7 days. For a second offense, your license is suspended for 60 days, or until you go to trial. However, you may contest the suspension with the court handling your DUI charge at any time during the suspension period. This is done with a Motion for Review of Administrative Suspension of Driver’s License. For residents of Richmond, your hearing request will typically be submitted to the Richmond General District Court.

Step 4: Prepare for Court Appearance

You and your attorney will prepare for your appearance and arraignment in Richmond. If you plead “not guilty,” your DUI defense attorney represents you in court, and a judge and jury oversee the DUI law case.

Step 5: Receive Sentencing or Exoneration

You will either be “not guilty” of the charges brought against you and walk free, or you will receive sentencing for a guilty verdict.

Work with an Experienced Local DUI Lawyer in Richmond, Virginia

Should you ever find yourself charged with a DUI, you need to work with an experienced Richmond, VA lawyer who can stand up for you in court. You cannot clear your name of the charges or reduce the consequences without help. Your life and future depend on having great legal representation during your DUI case. Contact an attorney near you today. We can even help you connect with legal help across Virginia state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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