Can My Out-of-State DWI Be Used To Elevate My Virginia DWI Charge?

August 8, 2022
a driver holding alcoholic bottle while driving

Being an out-of-state driver with an existing Virginia DWI is challenging, especially if you’re facing a brand-new DWI charge. 

You might wonder if the new state can use your prior DWI charge against you in your current charge. Here’s some information about out-of-state DUI, how it can affect you, and why you might need a Virginia DUI attorney to assist you.

Out-of-State Driver

An out-of-state driver is a person who lives in another state but drives in Virginia. 

You might be visiting the area temporarily while on vacation or scoping the state for a future move. While your driver’s license might be from another state, Virginia will treat you as a resident in terms of charges and consequences. 

Thus, you can expect to be treated the same as a Virginia driver if you are arrested for DUI as an out-of-state driver.

Whether you are licensed in Virginia or another state, there is a possibility that a past DUI charge from outside Virginia can be used against you. Thus, you might want to employ the services of Fairfax County DUI lawyers who can assist you. 

Out-of-State DWI and Consent Law

The Virginia implied consent law says that a police officer can stop you on the road if they suspect you’re driving under the influence of a drug or alcoholic beverage. 

You’re obligated to take a breath or blood test if such an officer asks you to do so. Failure to take the test can result in an additional charge of Unreasonable Refusal.

Additionally, you will have to deal with a DUI charge on top of the Refusal charge and its consequences.

How Out-of-State DWI Elevates Your Virginia DWI Charge

Virginia DWI or DUI charges can be elevated according to prior out-of-state DWI convictions. Likewise, out-of-state priors can lead to enhanced sentences for your  Virginia DUI.

A first-offense DUI charge can cause you to pay a fine of $250 up to $2,500 and receive a jail for up to 12 months. An extremely high BAC reading of .20 or more can result in a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail, and reading of .15 to .20 can land you a mandatory minimum of 5 days in jail. The penalties for a second-offense DUI in Virginia can result in a 10-day or 20-day mandatory minimum depending on how recent the prior offense was and the sentence elevations for the BAC reading are doubled compared to those attached to a first-offense.

An out-of-state prior DUI offense can be used to bump your Virginia DUI charge up to a 2nd offense if the DUI laws in the other state is found to be substantially similar to the DUI laws in Virginia. Even if the the out-of-state prior is not substantially similar, its existence could still affect plea negotiations and could be used As you might guess, this can be a complex situation. That is why you need to call a Fairfax DUI lawyer at Rudolphi Law. 

It should also be noted that though Virginia doesn’t have the authority to physically seize an out-of-state license upon a DUI conviction, they can suspend your privilege to drive in Virginia. Moreover, the Virginia DMV can report your DUI conviction to your home state’s motor vehicle department, and they can take steps to suspend or revoke your license. 

It’s never wise to handle a DUI charge on your own, especially when it’s an out-of-state-driver situation or a subsequent offense with an out-of-state prior. A Virginia DUI attorney, like the specialist at Rudolphi Law, can assist you with your case. 

The attorney can review the procedures and process to look for any mistakes or errors that might help your case. They can also work with the prosecutor to help lighten your sentence if you receive a conviction. 

The goal is to try to create options for you as the client. You can schedule a consultation — call us today!