Most Virginians have a basic understanding of the laws related to driving under the influence. A conviction for DUI will lead to various penalties, including the possibility of jail time, fines, a driver’s license suspension and more. The circumstances and outcome of the DUI incident will also impact the charges.
If a person is injured by a drunk driver, the case will be assessed to determine if harsher penalties are warranted. This is the case when a person is accused of maiming another while driving drunk. If a person is unintentionally injured because a drunk driver was behaving grossly, wantonly or with reckless disregard for the lives of others, the driver will be charged with a Class 6 felony. A conviction for a Class 6 felony can result in one to five years in jail or a fine of $2,500, or both.
If a driver acts with wantonness and disregard for human life and another person is permanently injured or is significantly impaired by their injuries, the driver will be charged with a Class 4 felony. Being convicted of a Class 4 felony will result in a jail sentence of two to 10 years and a fine of up to $100,000. When the term serious bodily injury is used, it means that the injured person faces a substantial chance of suffering from disfigurement, severe pain, a clear risk of death, impairment or loss of mental faculty, organ or body part.
Driving under the influence is a dangerous act and if an accident with injuries occurs, prosecutors will try to gain a conviction of the alleged drunk driver. The driver should remember that a defense is critical to avoid the worst penalties and perhaps get an acquittal. A law firm experienced in all aspects of DUI might be able to help.