Officers and the court take driving under the influence very seriously in every case, but if you have a DUI charge and when you got the charge, you had a child in the vehicle, you can expect stiffer penalties. Virginia has some of the harshest DUI penalties in the country with mandatory minimum sentences in even first offenses.
According to The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, having a child in the vehicle, even if it is your first DUI, comes with a mandatory minimum of five days in jail. A minor is anyone age 17 or younger. This mandatory minimum jail sentence is in addition to any other penalty you receive for the DUI.
You also will face an additional minimum fine of $500, but the court could assess an additional fine of up to $1,000. If this is your second DUI conviction, you will also have an additional 80 hours of community service.
When you compare the additional penalties to what you would get without a child in the car, you can see the severity. For example, a first-time DUI comes with a mandatory minimum $500 fine, so you are looking at doubling the fine at least, and potentially tripling the fine if you have a child in the vehicle. Plus, there is no mandatory jail time for a first offense, so you add on jail time you would not have likely had otherwise.
Keep in mind that the judge has the right to increase penalties as he or she sees fit. The law only states minimum requirements. The only exception is the extra fine amount, which does have a maximum limit of $1,000.