A Roanoke, Virginia woman was sentenced to five years in prison for her second DUI conviction on August 3rd, 2015. Tracie Nininger was arrested for DUI back in October of 2014 after police saw her swerve over the center-line several times. Once she was pulled over, dash cam footage showed her falling out of her car. She pleaded guilty in April of this year and after several continuations, was finally sentenced to five years in prison along with two additional years post-term, which the judge suspended. She also received a $1000 fine and three years of supervised probation. On its face, it seems like she got the book thrown at her. However, given her previous history, the sentence was not surprising.

Previous Convictions

The main reason that Tracie Nininger’s sentence did not surprise too many people in legal circles was her prior history. Nininger was convicted in 2008 for the DUI accident that caused the death of a construction worker. She served two years in prison for that crime and was still on probation when the October 2014 arrest happened. Prosecutors put on evidence during a hearing that her blood alcohol content was .25% at the time of her October arrest.

She had a past history of DUI, she killed someone during her first DUI, and she was still on probation when she was arrested for her second DUI. Clearly, the judge put all of this together and sentenced Nininger to the maximum allowable sentence. While many may not have sympathy for Ms. Nininger, her situation should serve as a cautionary tale.

Second DUI Convictions in Virginia

People do make mistakes, but courts often frown on repeat DUI offenders in Virginia. The courts really frown upon people who have a DUI conviction on their record where someone has been killed and then get caught again with a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit. Ordinarily, a second DUI conviction within ten years of the first (as in Ms. Nininger’s case) can result in a maximum of one year in jail with a minimum of ten days in jail. However, because Nininger was a convicted felon, her situation subjected her to heightened penalties. This case illustrates that judges are not afraid to punish what they view as egregious offenders with the maximum sentence allowed by law even if the offender pleads guilty to the charges against them.

Ms. Nininger’s case should serve as a cautionary tale. DUI is a very serious crime in Virginia and can carry very severe consequences. If you are charged with a DUI in Virginia, you will be considered a criminal if you are convicted. In some circumstances, you can serve substantial time in jail, especially if you seriously hurt or kill someone. If you find your liberty threatened by DUI charges, you need a skilled and experienced defense attorney to defend your rights. Jad Sarsour has more than a decade of experience defending clients against DUI charges in Northern Virginia. Give him a call today at (571) 261-7314 to schedule your initial consultation. Your freedom is at stake, and you deserve the best representation you can get.