Every state in the country has similar laws against driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. However, each state has its own way of dealing with criminal penalties and driving restrictions. This means that getting a DUI in another state can subject a driver to restrictions and penalties both from the state where the DUI occurred and the state that issued their driver's license.
In addition to visitors and tourists, the University of Virginia and other colleges and universities attract students from all over the country. These students may take up residence in the Commonwealth while keeping their home-state driver's license. A DUI for college students with an out-of-state license may mean the loss of their driving privileges in Virginia and a suspended license in their home state.
If you are facing a Virginia DUI charge with an out-of-state license, talk to a Virginia DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. A local attorney will be able to advise you of your rights, appear on your behalf if you are out of state, and fight to keep a conviction off your record so you can keep your license.
Virginia DUIs for Out-of-State Drivers
Virginia, like most states, has both criminal and administrative consequences of a DUI offense. The criminal side of a DUI involves the arrest, arraignment, criminal charges, plea or trial, and possible conviction and sentencing. The administrative part of a DUI involves the DMV suspending or revoking the individual's driving privileges.
The criminal penalties for a DUI do not matter based on where the person lives. As far as the Commonwealth is concerned, if you were arrested for a crime in Virginia, you will be charged in Virginia. The criminal penalties are not based on where the individual's drivers license.
The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Virginia depend, in part, on the driver's DUI history, alcohol level, and whether anyone was injured in an accident.
For example, a first-time DUI provides for up to $2,500 in fines and a year in jail. In reality, most people convicted of a first offense will not face jail time. However, if the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher, there is a mandatory minimum of five days in jail. For a BAC of 0.20% or higher, there is a minimum of ten days in jail.
Loss of Virginia Driving Privileges
An arrest on suspicion of a DUI generally results in a temporary license suspension (even if the driver is never convicted of a DUI). After a DUI arrest in Virginia, the police may take away the driver's Virginia driver's license. However, the police in Virginia cannot take away your out-of-state license. Virginia can only restrict your driving privileges within the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, in most cases, a Virginia DUI will still impact your driving privileges at home.
Reporting the DUI to Other States
Most states in the U.S., including Virginia, are part of the Driver License Compact (DLC). This is an agreement between states to share information between a driver's home state and other states where a traffic violation occurred.
Driving Restrictions in Your Home State
If a driver with an out-of-state license is convicted of a DUI in Virginia, Virginia will report that conviction pursuant to the DLC, and the driver's home state will eventually get a record of that conviction. That Virginia conviction may then have the same effects as if the individual had been convicted of the equivalent violation in their home state.
The driver may get a notice in the mail that his or her license has been suspended or revoked. The driving restrictions, suspension periods, and process to get driving privileges reinstated varies by state. Some states offer a restricted license for driving to limited locations and at limited times. Many states also offer an ignition interlock device (IID) option so drivers can get around as long as they can blow an alcohol-free breath sample.
DUIs for Virginia College Students with Out-of-State Licenses
College students are among those most likely to be impacted by a DUI in Virginia with an out-of-state license, including students at UVA. Most out-of-state college and university students come to Virginia with a driver's license issued by their home state. They may even keep their home license for the entire time they attend school.
Additionally, many young people have their first real experiences with drinking while in college. This often involves young people unsure of how alcohol affects their ability to drive, knowing how many drinks is too many, and combining alcohol with lack of sleep or energy drinks.
University students may also be hesitant about seeking out professional help because they don't want their parents to know that they got arrested. If you are a college student with a DUI or a parent of a university student who was arrested, contact a Charlottesville DUI defense lawyer about your options for fighting the criminal charges.
Hiring a Virginia DUI Defense Lawyer When Living Outside Virginia
One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with a DUI in Virginia when you live in another state is finding out a way to manage the court case from out of the area. It may be difficult to find time to travel for a court appearance, especially when these hearings can be delayed or rescheduled.
However, it is important that you don't ignore a Virginia DUI just because you don't live in a different state. If you fail to show up, you may have a bench warrant issued for your arrest or be sentenced in your absence. Talk to a Virginia DUI attorney about handling your case when you are out of state.
In many cases, your attorney can appear on your behalf so you don't have to appear. Your attorney can also arrange for remote calls or video conferences so you don't have to travel if you don't have to. This can save you time, money, and the hassle of having to travel for a brief court appearance.
Charlottesville DUI Defense Lawyer
A DUI out-of-state generally requires dealing with the restrictions and penalties for two states instead of just one. Talk to a Virginia DUI lawyer about how you can deal with a DUI while living in another state without having to return for all your court hearings. Avoiding a DUI conviction can save you from losing your driver's license in your home state and a criminal record in Virginia. Talk to an experienced Charlottesville DUI defense attorney about your case. Contact attorney Thomas M. Wilson today for a free consultation.