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Repeat DWI, mandatory minimum sentence


Virginia residents know that being charged with drunk driving can lead to a slew of tough penalties. When an arrest represents a second or subsequent offense, those penalties may actually get even stricter than after a first driving while intoxicated conviction.

One man from Powhatan who is actually a priest in the Roman Catholic church was recently sentenced to a full year in jail for a DWI offense. Other penalties include attendance at a safety course, payment of a fine and the loss of driving privileges for a full three years. The priest will be able to apply for a restricted license so that he can continue to fulfill his duties as a priest. For the first 12 months of the 36-month license revocation period, he must use an ignition interlock device and only drive vehicles with that installed.

This charge was actually the man’s second such drunk driving conviction in the span of 10 years and is a misdemeanor offense. However, the judge actually suspended all but 10 days of the sentence for the defendant. The judge could not eliminate all jail time so the priest will spend 10 days in total in a jail which is the legally mandated minimum sentence in Virginia for a second drunk driving conviction.

After a first, second or other DWI offense in Virginia, drivers may find it helpful to talk with an attorney to understand how they may work through the defense process.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Priest sentenced to 10 days for second DUI offense,” Laura McFarland, October 4, 2017

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