The state of Virginia imposes strict penalties for driving while under the influence. Whether the substance in question is alcohol or another controlled substance, drivers may face consequences that spread far beyond the immediate encounter with the police.
From the immediate legal penalties to the far-reaching consequences on one’s personal and professional life, it is important that Virginia residents gain a comprehensive understanding of how a DUI conviction can impact their future.
This article aims to highlight the importance of seeking legal representation and making informed decisions to mitigate the potential long-term effects of a DUI conviction in Virginia.
The best thing to do after being charged with a DUI is to seek legal assistance from a Virginia DUI attorney who can help you address the potential short- and long-term risks as competently as possible.
Being convicted of a DUI in Virginia carries numerous immediate repercussions. Those convicted will face a fine of at least $250 (but not more than $2500) and up to one year in jail.
Their license can be suspended for up to a year at the court’s discretion, and they may be required by Virginia code § 18.2-270.1 to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Each of these penalties becomes more severe or long-lasting if this is the individual’s second, third, or later DUI.
All of these items will need to be contended with immediately after the DUI conviction. However, additional consequences may continue to impact the convicted individual for months or even years after the DUI in ways that they did not expect.
Criminal Record and Employment
One of the most significant long-term impacts of a DUI is its presence on an individual’s criminal record. A DUI creates a permanent criminal record that cannot be expunged per Virginia law.
Thus, any time the affected person attempts to seek employment or perform certain other tasks in the future, the other party may be able to see that the individual has a criminal record.
This can impact a person’s eligibility for jobs in the future and may result in the termination of their current employment. As a result, a person may face difficulties with establishing consistent income due to their DUI conviction, and they may no longer be able to pursue their desired career path or see the growth within their company that they intended.
Loss of Driver Privileges
Among the many potential consequences a court can levy during a DUI conviction is the loss of driver privileges. The court can suspend an individual’s license, and if this is not their first DUI, this suspension can last for years or even indefinitely.
Without the ability to legally drive a vehicle, the affected individual may no longer be able to go to work or manage their commute using public transit. This can lead to a loss in income and opportunity.
If they are still able to find a way to commute to work, they will experience a degradation of their free time, as they must rely on public transportation for their needs instead of the convenience and speed of their own vehicle.
Loss of Vehicle
For those who have been convicted of multiple DUIs within five to ten years, the court has the right to force the individual to forfeit their vehicle. This leads to many of the same consequences to employment, income, and opportunity as license suspension, but with the additional loss of a financial asset.
Adjustment of Responsibilities
Regardless of whether a person faced with a DUI conviction loses their vehicle, their license, or their employment and other opportunities for success, these elements can impact the other responsibilities they maintain in their lives.
For instance, if a person has received partial or sole custody of a child, they may find this arrangement changed by the court once the DUI threatens their income or ability to drive the child to important appointments.
Additionally, a criminal record can impact how a court assigns responsibility in cases of child custody, and it may eliminate a person from holding certain volunteer or part-time offices, such as security and caring for children in the public sector.
Seek Legal Help to Mitigate Short- and Long-Term Consequences
If you are faced with a DUI charge, it is imperative that you work with a legal team as soon as possible after the event to manage your case.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge can assist you in building a case and mitigating both the short- and long-term consequences of a DUI conviction in Virginia so your future remains bright. Contact The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge to schedule a consultation.