When a Virginia law enforcement officer stops your car and charges you with driving under the influence, you may have valid concerns about potential penalties if the charge ends with a conviction. Virginia takes drunk driving quite seriously, and you may face a wide range of criminal consequences after a conviction for DUI. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest, one of those penalties might include time behind bars.
Per the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, you may have to spend time in jail following a first arrest for DUI, but this is not a guarantee. However, things change with each subsequent drunk-driving arrest.
Jail time after a second Virginia DUI
As you might expect, the penalties for drinking and driving increase in severity with each new DUI arrest. While jail time is not a sure thing after a first-time DUI conviction, it is after a second one. In this scenario, you may face up to a one-year jail term. No matter what, you have to serve at least 10 days in jail following a second DUI arrest in Virginia. If your second DUI arrest comes within five years of your first one, you have to spend a minimum of 20 days in jail following your second conviction.
Jail time after a third Virginia DUI
Jail time is also mandatory after a third arrest for drunk driving in Virginia. If your third arrest takes place within five years of your second one, expect to have to serve a minimum of six months behind bars. If your third arrest occurs within 10 years of your second one, you face a minimum 90-day jail sentence.
You may face more penalties if you are under 21 at the time of your arrest or are driving with a restricted license when authorities stop you.