When a Virginia police officer makes a suspected drunk driving arrest, it activates a series of events within the criminal justice system. Whether you’re struggling with alcohol addiction or had a momentary lapse in judgment when you got behind the wheel, if the police have arrested you, you must navigate the system as the court fully adjudicates your case. This process can be highly complex and stressful. A DUI typically carries numerous repercussions, even if a conviction does not occur.
It’s helpful to have a support system in place from the start, including someone who is knowledgeable regarding Virginia DUI laws and understands how the criminal justice system functions. It’s less stressful if you have someone on your side who can inform you and clarify any laws or portions of the process that you don’t understand.
Possible repercussions of a DUI arrest
While every case is unique, the system itself operates under the same laws and guidelines for every Virginia DUI arrest. The following list shows five common repercussions that may occur if police take you into custody for suspected drunk driving:
- You will, at some point, face a judge following a DUI arrest.
- You will end up in a jail cell, either temporarily until bail is set and paid or until you go before a judge.
- If you refused a Breathalyzer after a lawful arrest, you will incur a driver’s license suspension.
- A conviction will no doubt include paying a fine as part of sentencing.
- Auto insurance premiums may double or triple following a DUI conviction.
In addition to these repercussions, a criminal court judge might order you to undergo an alcohol addiction evaluation or enter a rehabilitation program. You might serve time in jail or on probation as well.
A DUI can affect your professional and private life
If you’re a licensed professional, your license may be at risk if you’re arrested for DUI in Virginia. A drunk driving arrest is often embarrassing and can negatively affect your reputation in your community. It can also impede your relationship with loved ones and friends.
The police may have arrested you following a motor vehicle collision where another person or people suffered injury or death. Such issues intensify the gravity of a DUI arrest. If a fatality has occurred, your life will never be the same.
There is no such thing as a “minor” drunk driving incident
It’s a big mistake to underestimate the possible repercussions of a Virginia DUI. Even if no accident occurred or it was your first offense, there’s no such thing as walking away from a drunk driving arrest without consequences.
However, not every DUI arrest is lawful, and not every case results in conviction. This is why it’s best to secure legal support as soon as an arrest has taken place. Having someone on hand to act as your personal advocate increases your chances of achieving the best outcome possible in court.