DUI Defense Attorney
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 alcohol content (BAC) level is .08 or higher, the law creates a presumption of intoxication. If you are found driving a vehicle in this condition, a police officer will most likely arrest you for a DUI.
In fact, you don’t even need to be driving to be arrested for a DUI. That’s right! 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
Once arrested for a DUI, the state administratively suspends your license 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 a judge finds you guilty or not guilty of the DUI charge.
Since DUI is a criminal charge, the penalties can be severe if the judge finds you guilty. For a first offense, punishments may include:
- Up to a year in jail
- Fines starting at $250 (and up to $2500)
- A license suspension of up to 12 months*
- Mandatory jail time if your blood alcohol content was .15 or more
Refusing a breath test during a DUI stop leads to harsher penalties if the judge finds you guilty of refusing a breath test. A refusal conviction carries a 1 year license suspension. However, the court allows you to make a petition for a restricted license after 30 days. Click here to read more about this.
Penalties for a DUI 2nd come with mandatory jail time, depending on whether the 2nd offense occurred within 5 or 10 years of the first offense. A 3rd DUI offense within 10 years is charged as a felony.
How a DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You
The police or the prosecution can establish a DUI charge several different ways. For example, they can use 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 BAC 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, your attorney will know whether to put on a trial or 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) 384-4357 to schedule a free consultation concerning your particular case.
*A Note About DUI License Suspensions
A judge has the discretion to give a restricted license to allow an offender to drive to and from work during their suspension period. However, having a restricted license 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.)