What is a "habitual offender" and how does it affect me?

A person is labeled a "habitual offender" when they have been found guilty of 3 major driving violations or 12 minor driving violations in a 10-year period. Major convictions include DUI and the following:

  • driving on a suspended or revoked license
  • voluntary/involuntary/aggravated involuntary manslaughter
  • providing false information to DMV
  • using a vehicle in the commission of a felony
  • any motor vehicle violation that is considered a felony
  • hit and run resulting in injury, death or property damage exceeding $1,000

Minor violations related to DUI include refusal to take a blood/breath test, attempting to elude police, and reckless driving. Being declared a habitual offender because of Virginia DUI convictions will result in you having to wait 3 years to obtain restricted driving privileges and 5 years for full privileges. In some cases, the court may credit time served under revocation toward your waiting period.

Since the minimum penalties stopped differentiating between 5- and 10-year periods, does it even matter anymore?

Yes!  While second and third DUI penalties in Virginia are tied to the timeframe in which the previous convictions took place, your fourth DUI conviction is not. However, every Virginia DUI case is unique and if your fourth offense comes years after your third, when most penalties have expired or are close to it, your case may not appear as severe. 

A good Virginia DUI defense attorney will look for any such evidence in your record and use it in a positive light to try and keep your sentence as close to the minimum as possible.

Why should I involve a Virginia DUI defense attorney?

Your fourth DUI offense puts you dangerously close to having your future driving privileges completely revoked for the rest of your life - this is not the time to skimp on your defense! You need all the help and experience you can get to keep your fate from being sealed by the courts.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Virginia, there is no time to waste! Contact Virginia DUI Lawyer Bob Battle to schedule your legal consultation today - 804-673-5600.

Bob Battle
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100% of my practice is devoted to serious traffic defense and criminal litigation in state and federal courts