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What penalties might you get for a DWI in Virginia?

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2021 | Drunk Driving Accidents |

There is a wide range of penalties you could receive if you are convicted for a DWI in Virginia. It partially depends on whether or not it’s your first offense and how much over the legal intoxication limit you were.

Driver’s license suspension

Virginia may suspend your license until your trial if you have been charged with DWI. Law enforcement could also suspend your license if you refuse to consent to a chemical analysis of your breath or blood.

On a first offense, you may have a seven-day suspension. A second offense within a 10-year period, however, could result in a 60-day suspension or up until the trial.

Jail time

The maximum jail time punishment for your first offense is one year. If your BAC was between .15 and .20, Virginia mandates a minimum jail time sentence of at least five days. The minimum jail time is twice as long if your BAC was above .20.

Mandatory jail time is longer for your second DWI offense within a five-year period. With a BAC under .15, you would have to serve 30 days at least with the possibility of 10 of those days suspended. A judge typically can’t sentence you to more than one year on the second offense within a five-year period.


There is a mandatory minimum fine of $250 for a first-time DWI offense in Virginia with the maximum set at $2,500. On a second DWI within a five-year period, the minimum fine is $500.

Misdemeanor or felony

A DWI could be either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the situation. Generally, it’s a Class 1 Misdemeanor up until your third offense within 10 years. At this point, the judge may charge you with a Class 6 Felony. Under this type of felony, a judge could sentence you to one to five years in the State Penitentiary.

Virginia has a detailed system for how to penalize DWIs. There are certain minimum punishments as well as a cap on the extent of these penalties. You should understand the potential risks of a DWI and seek help if you struggle with substance use.