Life After DUI: Getting Back On Track
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges on your record can have devastating consequences, not only in light of immediate penalties but also in the way of long-term effects even after you have served your sentence or paid fines. At the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall, we have supported many clients throughout their DUI conviction, from beginning to end. We understand that people make mistakes and deserve a second chance, which is why we believe in helping to get our clients’ lives back on track after being convicted of a DUI.
If you are facing DUI charges in Virginia, consider visiting with our legal team at 703-934-0101 to set up a free consultation with an experienced DUI lawyer.
Consequences of a DUI
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, a DUI in the state of Virginia can carry serious penalties.
For a first-time DUI offender in Virginia, the penalty is a minimum $250 fine and a driver’s license revocation for a year. According to Virginia Statute Section 18.2-270.1 the court may also mandate that you have an ignition interlock device installed on one of your vehicles as a condition of getting your driving privileges back. An ignition interlock device is a device that prevents your car from starting if you have alcohol in your system.
The penalties for a second offense of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol become more severe. The fine increases to $500 at a minimum, while the license revocation increases to three years. You may also be sentenced to jail time for up to a year. If the second offense was within ten years of the first offense, you may be subject to a mandatory 10-day minimum jail
sentence. If the second offense was within five years of the first offense, the minimum jail sentence increases to 20 days.
A third offense results in a minimum $1,000 fine and an indefinite license revocation. This is prosecuted as a Class 6 felony, under Virginia Statute section 18.2-10, which carries a potential penalty of
Imprisonment for one to five years, or
Up to 12 months of jail time and a fine of up to $2,500.
Lasting Consequences of a DUI on Your Record
Unfortunately, the stigma of a DUI often does not end after your sentence has been served, or your fines have been paid. Whether your DUI offense was charged as a misdemeanor or felony, it may remain on your criminal record, which can present issues when you are seeking employment, public housing, education opportunities, and other social aspects of your life.
How to Recover After a DUI Charge
While receiving a DUI conviction can be devastating, your life can truly change. These are a few tips for how to get your life back on track after a DUI.
Consider Discussing Your Case with an Attorney
As soon as possible after being charged with a DUI, it may be in a defendant’s best interest to speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney. The best-case scenario is to have the DUI case completely dismissed. It is much easier to deal with the consequences of a dismissed DUI charge rather than a guilty plea or conviction.
An experienced defense attorney may be able to have your charges reduced or your case dismissed entirely by raising procedural and constitutional defenses. At the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall, we have represented many clients facing DUI charges, and we may be able to apply our knowledge and experience to your case.
Rely on Family and Friends
Although it can be hard to ask for help, if you have a support system, this would be the time to ask for help. It can be difficult to find a job with a DUI on your record, especially for jobs that require driving. Rely on your loved ones if you need temporary financial support while you are working on finding employment. Depending on the status of your driver’s license, you may also need to rely on others for transportation if you live and work in an area that does not have public transportation. Try to avoid involving yourself with friends or family members that may cause you to relapse and engage in destructive behaviors.
Seek Substance Abuse Treatment
Oftentimes, DUI’s are the result of an addiction. If you are suffering from alcoholism or another substance abuse problem, be sure to seek the help you need. You may be required to receive substance abuse educational programs by court order, but what is more important is that you find a treatment that works for you. The most important aspect of life after a DUI is trying to make sure it never happens again, which may mean addressing those underlying issues that caused your DUI in the first place.
Look After Your Own Mental Health
People convicted of a DUI sometimes feel guilt and shame. It is important to stay positive and remember that everyone makes mistakes, and know that you will survive the process. If you are feeling depression and anxiety related to the DUI, be sure to seek help. To get your life back on track after navigating the criminal justice system, you will need to have a plan to be physically, mentally, and financially healthy.
Avoid Future Criminal Charges
Penalties only get more severe with additional DUI charges. If you want to recover after a DUI, it is critical that it does not happen again, as you may face increased jail time and fines. Be sure to maintain compliance with any conditions of your probation, such as your ignition interlock device and any mandatory treatment. Do not drive on a suspended license or otherwise put yourself in a position to be charged with further offenses.
Speak with the DUI Attorneys at the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall
If you are facing DUI charges in Virginia, consider speaking with the attorneys at the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall. We know the DUI process inside and out, and we work tirelessly to seek the best possible outcome for our clients. We know everybody makes mistakes, but rest assured that life after a DUI goes on. Call us at 703-934-0101 for a free consultation.