What Happens When You Get a 2nd DUI in Virginia

A 2nd DUI in Virginia is a serious offense that may include jail time, hefty fines, a license suspension, and an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car.
Written by Mariza Morin
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If you receive a 2nd DUI violation in
, possible penalties include 10 days to 12 months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. You’ll also get a three-year license suspension and a required ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle for a minimum of six months.
Virginia doesn’t play around when it comes to driving under the influence—especially with repeat offenses. Due to strict
Virginia DUI laws
, even the first DUI violation can cost drivers dearly, while repeat offenses carry heavier penalties including jail time, license suspension, and an IID installed in your car. 
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What is a 2nd offense DUI in Virginia?

You’ll be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (
) in Virginia if: 
  • You’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • You’re 21 or older and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more
  • You’re under 21 and have a BAC of 0.02% or more
  • You have a blood concentration of 0.1 milligrams per liter or more of methamphetamine
  • You have a blood concentration of 0.02 milligrams per liter or more of cocaine or ​​phencyclidine (PCP)
In Virginia, a DUI conviction will stay on your record for 10 years—known as a “look-back period” or “washout period.” If you’re arrested for another DUI violation within 10 years of a first offense, your arrest will count as a 2nd DUI in Virginia
However, if you get caught with a 2nd DUI after this 10-year window has passed, then it will legally count as a first offense since the previous conviction disappears from your record. 
Key Takeaway If you already have a DUI under your belt within the last 10 years, you’ll be charged with a 2nd DUI offense in Virginia.

What is the punishment for a 2nd DUI in Virginia?

The criminal penalties are much more severe if you’re convicted of a 2nd DUI in the state of Virginia. They include: 
  • 10 days to 12 months in jail
  • $500 to $2,500 in fines 
  • A required ignition interlock device (IID) for a minimum of six months
But be aware that DUI penalties can get a whole lot worse for you in certain situations. Aggravating factors can result in steeper fines and longer jail sentences for a 2nd DUI in Virginia in the following circumstances: 
  • Driving under the influence with a minor passenger
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a commercial license
  • Refusal to submit to a BAC test
  • Property damage or injury due to being under the influence
  • You’re under 21, violating Virginia’s “zero tolerance” laws
Key Takeaway The base penalties for a 2nd DUI in Virginia include 10 days in jail, a $500 fine, a three-year license suspension, and an IID for a minimum of six months. 

How much does a 2nd DUI in Virginia cost in the long run?

The penalties explained above are just the beginning of the consequences you’ll have to live with after your 2nd DUI offense. In addition to serious jail time, you’ll also have to contend with hefty fines, DUI school, mandatory license suspension, and increased insurance costs
Let’s take a closer look at the long-term consequences for drivers with a 2nd DUI conviction. 

Fees, penalty assessments, and DUI school

While the maximum fine for a 2nd DUI is $2,500, this number can quickly skyrocket as you’ll be responsible for fees and penalty assessments on top of this original fine. Additionally, you’ll have to pay the standard $300 plus a $100 intervention fee for attending the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP). 
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Alternative transportation

Once you get past those initial penalties, extra costs are still on the horizon. With your driver's
license suspended
for three years following a 2nd DUI in Virginia, you’ll have to rely on alternative modes of transportation. You can try to get rides from family and friends or use public transportation. You can even take advantage of ride services to get around but those will start to add up very quickly—especially over a three-year period. 

Increased car insurance costs 

And don’t forget, your car insurance premium will go up by an average of $237 each month after a DUI conviction. Apply that to the Virginia car insurance average of $2,600 per year, and you’ll end up paying an extra $2,844 a year for basic
liability car insurance
So let’s crunch the numbers. After adding up all the necessary fines, fees, assessments, IID, ASAP (DUI school), and additional insurance premiums, the total five-year cost of a 2nd DUI in Virginia could balloon up to $22,320! 

How to avoid jail time for a 2nd DUI in Virginia

If you’re looking at a 2nd DUI conviction in Virginia, you may be able to limit your jail time and drive down the excessive costs of a conviction. Here’s how: 
  • Hire a defense attorney. While it won’t be easy bringing down your jail sentence for a 2nd DUI conviction, you’ll need a skilled lawyer to help navigate this serious situation. 
  • Plead guilty to a “wet reckless” charge. This lesser offense will severely lighten your penalties, though jail time is most likely unavoidable.
DUI penalties in Virginia depend on the severity of your situation and it’s highly unlikely that your case will be dismissed altogether. However, if critical evidence proving the charge is thrown out, your defense attorney may be able to get your DUI charges dropped. 
In some cases, you may be able to take a plea bargain for a lesser “wet reckless” charge, which is a reckless driving violation that involves alcohol or drugs. This charge reduces your penalties to six months in jail, a maximum $1,000 fine, and completing the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program as part of your probation.
Typically a wet reckless conviction will not include any license suspension or mandatory IID installation. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get around serving jail time, but your sentence will be shorter and the long-term costs of a wet reckless offense are drastically reduced compared to a 2nd DUI conviction in Virginia. 
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No—a 2nd offense DUI in the state of Virginia is considered a misdemeanor
Generally, a minimum of 10 days in jail is a mandatory penalty for a 2nd DUI in Virginia. But you may be able to reduce this jail sentence with a “wet reckless” plea bargain deal. 
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