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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed hundreds of new bills in 2019, which became effective as July 1. While many of these laws effect your everyday life, there are a few that impact the state’s DUI laws.

First, House Bill 1941 makes a DUI involving serious injury to other drivers or pedestrians a Class 6 felony, which is a wobbler offense. This means this type of DUI can either be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s criminal history.

A misdemeanor conviction for a DUI involving serious injury results in a jail sentence of up to 12 months and a maximum $2,500. A felony conviction for a DUI involving serious injury carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

Additionally, if a DUI accident results in permanent injuries and significant property damage, it is considered a Class 4 felony. This type of felony is punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years and a maximum $100,000 fine.

Second, the General Assembly passed a budget amendment in April, making it possible for over 600,000 state residents to get their driver’s licenses restored by getting rid of the $145 reinstatement fee that motorists had to pay. However, past due court costs still apply.

Although this law doesn’t directly relate to DUIs, it may lead to more of them. Bars and restaurants in Virginia are now allowed to advertise happy hour drink specials and use terms like “Thirsty Thursday” as a promotion. In the past, these establishments were not allowed to use such advertising to prevent excessive alcohol consumption.

If you have been charged with a DUI in Fredericksburg, contact Andrew J. Cornick, Attorney at Law today at (540) 386-0204.