Virginia DUI Laws & Penalties

Virginia DUI law section 18.2-266 states that it is against the law for any person to drive a motor vehicle in the state of Virginia while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or greater.

It is not necessary for a person who has been stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence to display the signs one would typically associate with someone who is under the influence.  Just the fact that a chemical test shows a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or greater will get you arrested for DUI in Virginia.

It should also be noted that a person could still be arrested for driving under the influence in Virginia even if their blood alcohol concentration level is below the legal limit of .08% just by displaying signs that are consistent with a person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.



When an officer stops someone on suspicion of DUI in Virginia, the officer is already starting to build a case against that person by observing their driving patterns prior to initiating the DUI stop.  If the officer has established reasonable grounds and suspects that someone is under the influence, the officer is going to request that the individual perform some field sobriety test (it is not required by law that you submit to the field sobriety tests. If an officer asks you to take the field sobriety test, just kindly refuse his request).

Virginia First Offense DUI

A Virginia first offense DUI conviction is a Class 1 Misdemeanor offense and carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time: If your BAC level was below .15% any jail sentence will be at the court's discretion.  If your BAC level was at least .15% up to .20% you will have to serve a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 5 days.  If your BAC level was .20% or greater you will have to serve a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail.

  • Fines: A first offense will result in a mandatory minimum $250 fine amount.

  • Test refusal: A first offense refusal will result in a 1 year license suspension.

  • Ignition interlock: If your first offense resulted in a BAC reading of .15% or greater the court may require you to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicles you own prior to allowing the DMV to issue you a restricted license or reinstate your license at the end of your revocation period.

  • License suspension: Your license will be suspended for 1 year following a first offense.  The court has the authority to grant first time offenders at the time of sentencing with restricted driving privileges.  First time offenders who refused to submit to a breath test will not be eligible for a restricted license.

    Before the Virginia DMV will reinstate your license following your revocation period or issue you a restricted license you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Virginia FR44 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a license reinstatement fee to the DMV.

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Virginia Second Offense DUI

A Virginia second offense DUI conviction is a Misdemeanor offense and carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time: If your second offense occurred within 5-years of a previous offense there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 20 days.  If your second offense occurred more than 5-years ago but less 10-years since a previous offense there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 days. If your BAC level was at least .15% but less than .20% there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10-days.  If your BAC level was .20% or more there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 20-days.

  • Fines: A second offense conviction will result in a mandatory minimum $500 fine amount.

  • Test refusal: A second offense refusal will result in a 3 year license suspension.

  • Ignition interlock: If your second offense occurred within 10 years of a first offense the court will require you to install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles that you own before the DMV will be allowed to issue you a restricted license or reinstate your license at the end of your revocation period. If the second offense occurred within 5-years of your first offense the DMV will require you to install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles that you own before they will issue you a restricted license or reinstate your license at the end of your revocation period.

  • License revocation: Your license will be revoked for 3 years following a second offense.  The court has the authority to grant second time offenders with restricted driving privileges.  If your second offense occurred within 5 years of your first offense you will be eligible for a restricted license after 1-year of your revocation period has passed.

    If your second offense occurred more than 5 years since your first offense but less than 10-years since the first offense you will be eligible for a restricted license after the first 4-months of your revocation period has passed.

    Before the Virginia DMV will reinstate your license following your revocation period you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Virginia FR44 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a license reinstatement fee to the DMV.

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Virginia Third Offense DUI

A Virginia third offense DUI conviction is a Class 6 Felony offense and carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time: If your third offense occurs within 10 years years of your previous offense convictions you will be facing a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 90 days.  If your third offense occurs within 5 years of your previous offense convictions you will be facing a mandatory minimum of 6 months in jail.

  • Fines: A third offense conviction will result in a mandatory minimum $1,000 fine amount.

  • Test refusal: A third offense refusal will result in a 3 year license suspension.

  • Ignition interlock: If your third offense occurred within 10 years of a previous offense the court will require you to install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles that you own before the DMV will be allowed to issue you a restricted license or reinstate your license at the end of your revocation period. If the third offense occurred within 10-years of your previous offenses the DMV will require you to install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles that you own before they will issue you a restricted license or reinstate your license at the end of your revocation period.

  • License suspension: A third offense within a 10 year period may result in your being classified as a habitual offender by the Court and the DMV.  Your license will be revoked indefinitely and you will need to speak with the DMV regarding what will be required of you in order to reinstate your license following a third offense conviction.

    Before the Virginia DMV will reinstate your license following your revocation period you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Virginia FR44 policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance liability coverage limits.  You will also have to pay a license reinstatement fee to the DMV.

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Virginia Fourth or Subsequent Offense DUI

A Virginia fourth or subsequent offense DUI conviction is a Felony offense and carries the following penalties:

  • Jail time: If your fourth or subsequent offense occurs within 10-years years of your previous offense convictions you will be facing a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 1-year.

  • Fines: A fourth or subsequent offense conviction will result in a mandatory minimum $1,000 fine amount.

Virginia Chemical Test Refusal Penalties

If you refuse to submit to a chemical test in Virginia the officer must inform you of the penalties for test refusal and ask you a second time if you will submit to a chemical test.  A first offense refusal will result in your license being revoked for 1-year.  You will also not be eligible for a restricted license if you refuse a chemical test.



Any second or third offense test refusal will result in your license being revoked for 3-years and you will not be eligible for a restricted license during the revocation period.

Virginia CDL DUI Laws

A person operating a commercial motor vehicle in the state of Virginia while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or an intoxicant with a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or greater or failing to submit to a chemical test is in violation of the state's laws regarding CDL's and will be arrested for DUI and your CDL will be revoked for a period of 1-year following a first offense violation.  A second CDL DUI offense will result in your CDL being revoked for life.

If you were carrying hazardous materials at the time, your CDL will be revoked for 3-years. A second offense violation while carrying hazardous materials will result in a permanent CDL revocation, you will never be able to drive or operate a CMV again.  A CMV operator stopped and found to have any measurable amount of alcohol less than .04% in their system will be issued an "out-of-service" notice and will not be allowed to drive for the next 24-hours.

Virginia DUI Under 21 Years of Age

In Virginia if you are under the age of 21 and stopped by an officer and found to have been drinking and driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .02% - .08% your license will be suspended for at least 6-months.  You will have to pay a fine amount between $500 and $2,500 and you could be facing up to 1-year in jail.

If you are under 21 and are arrested for having a BAC level of .08% or greater you will be facing the same fines and penalties as someone over 21 would face for the same offense.

You will also be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of an FR44 insurance policy before the Department of Motor Vehicles will reinstate your license.

Virginia SR22 Requirements

Before the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will reinstate your license following your revocation period, they will require you to file an SR22 form with them before issuing you a new license. You will be required to carry your FR44 insurance for a period of 3-years.

At anytime during this 3-year period if there is a lapse in your Virginia Fr44 insurance coverage, your insurance provider is obligated by law to immediately inform the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles of the lapse.  If a lapse in coverage occurs, the Virginia DMV will immediately revoke your license and you will be required to re-file an SR22 form with the DMV before they will issue you another license.

Since you are going to have to have your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years, it is important to find the cheapest policy you can before choosing one.  DUI Process has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of Virginia and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.

You won't be able to find a SR22 insurance policy in Virginia for any less. Type in your zip code below so we can provide you with the cheapest rates in your area.

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Other Virginia DUI Resources

  • Virginia First Offense DUI - First offense information including penalties, fines, potential jail time, license suspension, DUI classes, and much more.

  • Virginia FR44 Insurance Filing - We have compiled everything you need to know about Virginia SR22 insurance and filing requirements including important addresses, phone numbers, etc.

  • Virginia VASAP Classes - We offer a complete listing of state approved DUI alcohol safety action programs listed by County.

  • Virginia Bail Bondsmen - Comprehensive list of Virginia bail bond agents including address, phone, website, etc.