Washington Redskins offensive lineman Mark May was sentenced to two days in jail yesterday after pleading guilty in Fairfax County General District Court to driving while intoxicated.

It was May's second drunken-driving conviction in five years, which under Virginia law results in an automatic jail term of at least two days and a three-year suspension of the driver's license.

May's previous conviction was in 1985 in Arlington.

An impressive presence at 6-foot-6 and about 280 pounds, May sat in the back of Courtroom 1D yesterday waiting for his case to be called. The 10-year Redskins veteran and Pro Bowl player towered over his attorney and looked down as the sentence was pronounced.

Judge James F. Hurd sentenced May to 180 days in jail, with 178 suspended, a $1,000 fine, with $500 suspended, and the three-year license revocation. He may be allowed to drive between his home, Redskins Park in Herndon and an automobile dealership in Warrenton, where he works when not playing football.

May began serving his sentence yesterday afternoon.

May was arrested at 12:45 a.m. March 19 after a county police officer spotted his Lincoln swerving from one lane to the other and tailgating on Old Keene Mill Road. Officer Troy Fulk testified that he smelled alcohol on the driver's breath and that May told him he had had a few drinks. Fulk said he asked May to recite the alphabet and that May missed "several letters in the middle."

May's blood-alcohol level tested at double the legal limit of 0.10 percent, according to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney John A. Murphy. May's attorney, Warren W. McLain, asked the judge to treat his client like anyone else with a second drunken-driving charge.

"This arrest has had a great effect on him," McLain said. "Look at the record. He does work and needs a license to earn a living. I don't think the man should lose his job supporting his family because he makes a mistake."

Murphy said the judge should consider May's blood-alcohol level.

"This was not one beer over the limit," Murphy said. "This is a clear situation where the defendant should have known better."

Hurd, noting May's guilty plea and clean record since his 1985 conviction, said: "I'm sure he's concerned for his family, but that's something {he} should have thought about earlier."

Redskins General Manager Charley Casserly said yesterday that "it's unfortunate that this happened to Mark and could overshadow all the good things he has done for the community in Washington."

Casserly said May spent many hours in the last year working for the Juvenile Diabetes Association and for the Christian Relief Program, which helped supply food to people in Appalachia.