New Law Targets DUI Repeat Offenders
An article in the Free Lance Star reports that a new law has been passed in Virginia, which will mandate stiffer penalties for repeat DUI (Driving under the Influence) offenders. Virginia legislators are applauding the new law which makes certain repeat DUI offenses felonies. The new law was enacted amid harsh criticism of the current DUI laws, which allowed offenders convicted of multiple DUI offenses to be sentenced to only a misdemeanor if they committed a subsequent DUI crime. The old law allowed repeat DUI offenders who had caused serious injury or death in alcohol-related offenses to only face misdemeanor charges in many cases. This happened due to a clause in the old law which stated that repeat DUI offenses must occur within a ten-year period to be charged as felonies.
Under the new law, repeat DUI offenses after an offender has already been convicted of a third or subsequent DUI will be punished as Class 6 felonies in Virginia. These DUI felonies will carry a mandatory 1-year jail sentence, a minimum fine of $1000 and a 5-year driver’s license suspension. A spokesperson from the Virginia-based nonprofit organization, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, commented on the new law and noted that DUI convictions are currently on the rise in Virginia and that statistics show that there were more than 28,700 drivers convicted of DUI last year in the state. The new law also applies to those who get convicted for DUI and who have a previous conviction of DUI maiming, involuntary manslaughter DUI, BUI (boating under the influence) maiming, or involuntary manslaughter BUI.
Virginia has been in the news lately as a state that is constantly enacting new DUI laws. Last year, the state passed a law requiring the installation of an ignition interlock device on the car of anyone convicted in the state for DUI for six months in order for them to get a restricted driver’s license after their conviction. The law required the installation of the device regardless of the driver’s BAC at the time of their arrest for DUI. Those convicted of DUI in Virginia must also complete theVirginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP).
The program provides a screening process for DUI offenders who want to get their driver’s licenses back after a conviction. The main goal of ASAP is to prevent DUI offenders from getting subsequent DUI convictions by offering a number of educational classes and treatment programs. Those ordered by the court to attend an ASAP course are put on probation for DUI, given a restricted driver’s license and assigned to a case manager. The initial meeting with the case manager is for the purpose of determining the DUI offender’s level of addiction to alcohol or drugs. First-time DUI offenders who had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of 0.15% or lower at the time of their arrest are usually put in an alcohol awareness class and may also be required to undergo mandatory alcohol treatment. Repeat DUI offenders, who are mainly alcoholics, are quickly referred for outpatient treatment to licensed local providers.
This article is brought to you by Anelli Xavier DWI Defense, a DWI lawyer in Syracuse.