In our last blog post, we dove into the issue of collateral damage related to convictions on charges of drunk driving in Northern Virginia. We suspect some readers may have found it rather sobering to learn just how serious the consequences can be.
Not only are their implications for the defendant in terms of possible jail time, significant fines and a loss of driving privileges. A conviction means a criminal record that can be a blot on your life well into the future, affecting efforts to get a good job, good education and find housing.
As serious as that outlook is, consider that those are penalties associated with a standard DUI conviction that is prosecuted as a misdemeanor. It is possible, though, that a case of alleged drunk driving could spark felony charges. And the consequences of conviction under that kind of scenario are worse.
If it should happen that the DUI charge against you is a third offense, it could prompt a Class 6 Felony charge. If your previous conviction occurred less than five years ago, you could face up to six months of incarceration. If it happened up to 10 years ago, you could be jailed for 90 days.
Causing a fatal accident while driving under the influence can result in a Class 5 felony charge of involuntary manslaughter. Conviction in that case might result in a prison term of not less than one year. Depending on the circumstances, the court could impose a term of up to 20 years.
In addition, there can be a loss of basic rights such as voting and firearms ownership.
Clearly, serious criminal charges need to be aggressively addressed and with the help of experienced counsel.