Are There Different Levels of DUI Charges?

DWI Lawyer

Unfortunately, driving under the influence charges can happen more than once to someone. As the number of times you have received a DUI charge increases, the penalties also increase as a reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA relies on can explain. Driving under the influence is a misdemeanor unless one of the following also takes place:

  • It is the person’s third or more DUI offense
  • The DUI caused harm to someone else
  • The driver has already had a felony DUI

First Offense

In many states, for a first DUI offense the driver can expect to be charged between $400 and $1,000 worth of fines, several days to months in county jail, and a multi-month educational course on substance abuse. A first offense also typically comes with a one month to a year license suspension. However, in some cases a judge can decide to enforce a “restricted license” versus completely suspending it. This would mean that the driver is allowed to drive only to and from school, work, or any court approved courses for DUI education. A driver facing a first time offense could also undergo between three and five years of probation.

Second Offense

If someone is charged with their second DUI within 10 years, they can face more severe penalties. In some states, a driver that has been convicted with their second DUI faces at least four days in county jail and up to one year. They also face similar fines of between $400 and $1,000. A driver with their second DUI will also be mandated to attend between an 18-month to 30-month DUI course and will have their license suspended for two years. Commonly if their license is suspended for two years, the license will be changed to a restricted license after the first year. It is important to note that the penalties received for a second DUI charge will vary state to state but they must fall between the requirements set by law.

Third Offense

If a driver receives a third DUI charge within 10 years, they will receive at least four months to one year in county jail. In addition to jail time, they will be fined upwards of $1,000 and be mandated to attend a month-long DUI course. Another consequence of receiving three DUIs is that the driver will have their license suspended for three years. Typically after half of the suspension, they are able to have their license back as a “restricted license”. A third offense also requires, in some states, to have an ignition interlock device installed on their car, which inhibits the car from starting until a sample of breath that does not contain alcohol is provided.

DUI with an Injury

If there is an injury of someone, while the driver of a vehicle is under the influence, in most states it is considered a felony DUI. A felony DUI can be charged with five days to one year in prison, upwards of $5,000 in fines, and having their license suspended of between one to three years. The driver may also be responsible for paying restitution to the injured party.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Dave Albo – Attorney for their insight into levels of DUI charges and criminal defense.