DUI Defense Attorney
Are you facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge? If so, you need a good, aggressive DUI defense attorney to protect your rights.
What is a DUI?
Virginia refers to driving while intoxicated as driving under the influence (DUI). In Virginia, if your blood alchohol content (BAC) level is .08 or higher, the law creates a presumption of intoxication. If you are found driving a vehicle in this condition, you will most likely be arrested for a DUI. In fact, you can get a DUI in Virginia without even driving. The Code of Virginia forbids driving or “operating” under the influence of alcohol or another drug. Click here to read more about Virginia’s definition of “operating” a vehicle.
Penalties for a DUI
After you are arrested for DUI, your license is administratively suspended for seven days. For a second DUI offense, the suspension is 60 days or until you go to trial, whichever comes first. For a third DUI offense, the suspension is until you go to trial. This is automatic, whether you are found guilty or not guilty of the DUI charge.
Since DUI is a crimianl charge, the penalites can be severe if you are found guilty. For a first offense, punishment may include up to 1) a year in jail, 2) fines starting at $250 (and up to $2500), and 3) a license suspension for up to 12 months. A judge has discretion to give a restricted license to allow an offender to drive to and from work during this period, but this requires the installation of an ignition interlock device. (Starting July 1, 2020, Virginia law will allow a broader restricted license to drive for any purpose if you meet certain criteria.) Furthermore, if your blood alcohol level was .15 or above and you are found guilty, there is mandatory jail time.
If you are charged with refusing a breath test as well as DUI, there are risks for taking both cases to trial because a refusal conviction carries a 1 year license suspension. However, the penalty for refusals has been alleviated recently in that you can now petition the court for a restricted license after 30 days. Click here to read more about this.
Penalties for a DUI 2nd come with mandatory jail time as well, depending on whether the 2nd offense occurred within 5 years or 10 years of the first offense. A DUI 3rd within 10 years is charged as a felony.
How a DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You
There are different ways the police or the prosecution can establish a DUI charge. They can use a the results from a breathalyzer test, the results of field sobriety tests, or other markers of impairment to prove intoxication. Sometimes, an attorney can keep the breath certificate results out of evidence if the 3 hour implied-consent rule was not followed. However, because there are so many ways to prove a DUI charge, it is important that your DUI defense attorney review the Commonwealth’s evidence by completing discovery before your trial date. That way, they know whether to put on a trial or try to work out a plea agreement with a prosecutor.
Our law firm handles DUIs and Traffic Tickets for clients in the Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and greater Tidewater/Hampton Roads area. Please call (757) 932-0464 to schedule a free consultation concerning your particular case.