How much does a first-time drunk driving conviction cost in Virginia?

Beyond the possibility of jail time, there are several expenses associated with a first-time DUI offense that may add up quickly for Virginia drivers.

Every day, motorists are stopped and arrested by law enforcement for alleged driving under the influence. In fact, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports that 19,925 drivers were convicted of DUI in 2016 alone. Considered a serious offense, drunk driving carries harsh consequences in Virginia. With this in mind, people's concern often falls to the possibility of jail time following a DUI arrest. However, there are several other associated penalties, the costs of which may add up quickly.

Fines and fees

For people convicted of a first-time DUI offense, there are numerous associated fines and fees. Considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, the court may fine those found guilty of this offense a mandatory minimum of $250. Additionally, people may be required to pay $50 to the Trauma Center Fund, jury fees of up to $210 per day and $71 for court costs, and a driver's license reinstatement fee of $105.


Under some circumstances, people convicted of drunk driving may be ordered to pay restitution. This includes covering the costs for the law enforcement, fire and rescue personnel, and emergency medical services that are dispatched in response to collisions or other incidents resulting from motorists' driving under the influence. In such cases, people may be ordered to pay up to $1,000.

Court-ordered classes

In order to have their driving privileges reinstated, even those convicted of a first offense DUI must report to an alcohol safety action program. Based on their situations and needs, they may be assigned to treatment or an education program. In addition to the time commitment, of at least 20 hours over the course of a 10-week period, those convicted of drunk driving are liable for the costs of the program, which may range from $300 to $375.

Ignition interlock devices

Following a DUI first offense, the court or the DMV may require the use of an ignition interlock device. People may be ordered to have these devices installed on at least one vehicle for a period of six months, or more. The cost of ignition interlocks is the responsibility of the driver, and may include an installation charge and monthly fee. Depending on the company people choose to contract with, this service may cost approximately $70 for the install and $60 for the monthly rental and monitoring.

Obtaining legal representation

For people in Virginia and elsewhere, the effects of a drunk driving arrest may be significant and long lasting. Therefore, those who have been charged with driving under the influence or other alcohol-related offenses may benefit from working with an attorney. A lawyer may help ensure their rights were upheld during their stop and in their subsequent dealings with the authorities, as well as look out for their interests throughout the legal process.