Getting arrested for DUI or DWI in Virginia is a very serious offense with possible consequences, which include jail time, significant fines, and a license suspension. Unlike nearby states, Virginia DUI laws are some of the strictest, even for first time offenders.
One of the most controversial DUI consequences is the requirement of an ignition interlock device. Half the states require an interlock device for all DUI offenses, and the other half only require the devices in extreme circumstances. Virginia is one of the states that require an ignition interlock device for all DUI offenders. However, because a first-time DUI results in an automatic suspension of your driver's license, the only way the interlock device would be required to be installed is if you request to have a restricted license to be able to drive for work and other limited purposes, and that request is granted. Ignition interlock devices in Virginia are required to be installed for a minimum of six months, but oftentimes a longer period is required. If the interlock device registers a violation at any time during its period of use, the length of time required to have the device installed is extended another six months, and the violator risks having his probation violated. Keep in mind that when your probation is violated, any suspended jail time is usually rescinded by the judge and you will have to serve the full amount of your sentence.
Another consequence of getting a DUI is that you are required to attend, and pay for at your own expense, classes under the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP). Just like other states require alcohol treatment classes for anyone charged with DUI, Virginia has created their own program to handle this.
In addition to interlock devices and VASAP classes, there are significant fines and jail time associated with DUI convictions. In most first offense DUI cases, if your BAC is below 0.15, jail time is avoided. However, if your BAC is between 0.15 and 0.20, there is a mandatory minimum that requires at least 5 days in jail. If your BAC is above 0.20, you are required to serve at least 10 days in jail. If you have committed more than one DUI offense in a 5 or 10 year period, the required minimum amount of jail time and the amount of fines increase significantly.