For Virginia drivers who are found guilty of DUI, a single error can have long-lasting repercussions. Sometimes, even when there is no evidence of wrongdoing, the defendant will enter a guilty plea in order to avoid the harshest consequences of a DUI conviction. However, it’s critical to comprehend the potential effects a DUI conviction in Virginia may have on your driving privileges and criminal history.
DUI Repercussions on Your Record
A DUI conviction carries penalties such as fines, maybe jail time, and license suspension. However, there may be further serious repercussions that stick with you, even when serving any criminal sentence. DUI convictions result in criminal records, points on driving records, and a long-term effect on insurance premiums.
DUI Criminal Record
In Virginia, a DUI is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Unfortunately, anyone found guilty of a DUI in Virginia will always have that criminal conviction on their record. There is no time restriction on how long a DUI conviction will remain on a driver’s record or how long it will take for it to be erased.
A criminal history is documented in a person’s criminal record. This could consist of a history of arrests, convictions, and subsequent court rulings. Law enforcement can view a person’s whole criminal past through their criminal record, which can be used as evidence against a defendant who is facing criminal charges. For instance, if earlier drunk driving convictions are revealed in a criminal record, the prosecution may file a fresh accusation of drunk driving as a second offense with stiffer penalties.
Criminal records can be deemed public documents in several cases. This denotes the fact that the public might be able to look up a person’s criminal record. Criminal charges, arrests, and convictions typically make up criminal records. An arrest record will be created in the event of a DUI. The criminal record will reflect any charges that are brought by the Commonwealth. The judgment will be noted on the criminal record whether they enter a plea of guilty or are adjudged guilty in court.
DUI and a Virginia DMV Driving Record
Your driving record with the Virginia DMV will also include a DUI conviction. Your personal driving privileges, restrictions, and also your insurance obligations may all change if you are convicted of DUI. Six demerit points will be added to your license if you have a DUI conviction, which could lead to additional driving limitations based on other traffic violations or offenses.
A DUI will be recorded on your DMV record for eleven years, unlike a criminal record which will reflect a DUI conviction for the rest of your life.
How a DUI Can Impact Your Auto Insurance Rates
Virginia prohibits driving without auto insurance. Most Virginia drivers are required to carry the following minimum liability insurance:
- $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $20,000 for property damage per incident.
- Uninsured Driver $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for bodily injury
- Property Damage from Uninsured Drivers $20,000 per accident
However, before being allowed to legally drive again in Virginia after a DUI conviction, drivers must obtain special insurance coverage. The DMV mandates that drivers who have been found guilty of operating a vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs possess a Financial Responsibility Certificate. This has higher liability coverage standards than an SR-22 declaration of financial responsibility.
Automobile insurance providers send FR-44s to drivers who have been convicted of DWI. FR-44 drivers must carry twice as much liability insurance as other motorists, including:
- $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $40,000.00 for property damage per incident
Unfortunately, many drivers may need to get new coverage because their current insurer will no longer provide coverage for those who have recently been convicted of a DUI. As well as having substantially higher premiums.
Drivers who are found guilty of DUI may be required to keep FR-44 insurance for three to four years. A driver must keep their FR-44 paperwork current for three years if they wait until their revocation period ends. Drivers may be required to keep FR-44 insurance for four years if they receive a restricted driver’s license prior to the revocation period expiring.
Is it Possible to Seal Your Records or Have a DUI Expunged?
Most of the time, a DUI conviction cannot be erased from your record and you cannot have your record sealed. Generally, in order to be eligible for expungement, your case must have one of the foregoing dispositions:
- Charge Nolle Prosequi (the Commonwealth withdrew the charges), or the charges were dismissed
- Acquittal (found not guilty)
The charge is effectively removed from the public criminal record when your record is “expunged.” Once the arrest record is sealed, private and public employers looking for your criminal history will find no trace of the arrest.
To keep a DUI off your record, you should simply avoid drinking and driving in the first place. Discussing your situation with a DUI defense lawyer will give you the best chance to keep your record clean. Anyone accused with a DUI in Virginia has a number of defenses at their disposal, including contesting the traffic stop, any field sobriety tests, and any chemical tests for alcohol or drugs.
Contacting a Defense Lawyer for a DUI
In Virginia, a conviction for drunk driving results in a permanent criminal record. However, being detained for intoxicated driving does not automatically result in a conviction. Avoiding a conviction can save you tens of thousands of dollars in higher insurance costs and the stress of having a stain on your record for life. The best way to appeal a DUI conviction is to discuss your case with a skilled Virginia DUI defense lawyer. For a consultation, get in touch with the Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge, today.