Even if a Harrisonburg resident can avoid jail time after a first-offense DUI, there are still plenty of consequences to a conviction that can really make life hard for several months.
For example, Virginia has a one-year license revocation for a first time drunk driving conviction. For those who rely on their vehicles to get to work, school, or just where they need to go, having to find other transportation for a year can be a real hardship. As expected, if it is a repeat offense, the suspension can be longer.
However, this revocation is not the only penalty related to drunk driving that can affect a person's ability to drive legally. For instance, even for a first offense, there is what is called an administrative suspension of one's license that can last for at least a week.
This suspension takes effect once a person submits to a test and that test shows he or she had a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. For repeat offenses, the suspension lasts longer and can in some cases last until one's criminal case gets resolved.
Likewise, should an officer determine that a person refused to submit to chemical testing, there will be an automatic suspension for one year over and above whatever the court imposes for the DUI conviction itself. This suspension is absolute, meaning that a person may not ask for restricted or probationary driving privileges.
For some, facing a license suspension after a DUI can feel like just as serious of a consequence as being placed in jail for a day or two. The possibility of a license suspension, even for a first offense, may be enough of a reason to mount a defense against drunk driving charges.