Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
After receiving a charge for DUI, the first thing you should do is try to jot down all of your recollections of the incident to help you keep it fresh in your memory. The sooner you write down your recollections, the better and fresher your memory is and the more detail you can provide to your Alexandria DUI attorney. That information may be useful at trial or at a motion to suppress down the road.
The second thing an attorney would recommend is trying to gather any evidence you possibly can indicating that you were not intoxicated at the time of the incident. If you know of witnesses who will testify that you were not in fact under the influence of alcohol, or if you have any other evidence that you were driving appropriately or that the officers were mistaken in their belief that you were under the influence or driving in an improper manner, you should start to collect that so you can provide it to your attorney.
In Virginia, people who must take an alcohol education course typically participate in the Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP), which is run by the state. This program costs money to enter into and is mandated in all DUI convictions. It is simply an education component to help people who have been arrested or convicted of DUI deal with any alcohol issues they may be having. It is intended to help people learn how to avoid drinking and driving and how to better handle their alcohol consumption so that it does not disrupt their lives.
In some cases, taking an alcohol education course before you appear in court can help persuade the prosecutor to be more lenient, but typically, there’s not a huge advantage to taking the course prior to court. In general, you will be ordered by the court to take an ASAP course if you are convicted of a DUI offense. If you are acquitted of your offense, meaning you are found not guilty, then you will not need to take a class.
That said, if you think you might have an alcohol problem, it’s probably best to take a class anyway, not only to look better in the court, but also to address any underlying problems you may have.
ASAP is the only program that will be ordered by the court, so that’s the only one you really need to worry about. Of course, you also have the choice to see a therapist for alcohol treatment or attend Alcohol Anonymous on your own, but the only program the court cares about is ASAP. That’s the course that will be mandated in the case of any conviction for DUI.
If you’re mandated by the court to complete an alcohol education course after conviction, you should definitely complete the class, and that includes attending, paying fees and costs, and submitting to drug and urine analysis if prescribed by your ASAP officer. If you don’t, you can be brought back into court and any suspended jail sentence can then be imposed. That’s why it’s very important that you complete the classes required and follow all recommendations that the program sets forth for you. Attending the classes, paying the fees and following the program’s orders and recommendations is the safest way to ensure that you do not get in further trouble with the court after a DUI conviction.
After an individual is convicted of DUI, his or her insurance rates can increase. Any kind of traffic infraction can increase your insurance rates, and obviously a DUI conviction is of great concern to insurance companies. The extent of the impact will depend on your current rates, your driving history, the severity of your DUI offense and various other factors. in general, however, your insurance rates almost certainly will go up—sometimes tremendously—and sometimes a provider might even withdraw coverage, depending on how severe your DUI charge is.
In general, we suggest that you do not speak to your insurance provider unless they contact you. Anything you say to an insurance provider can be used against you in court, so there’s no real benefit to it. If your provider doesn’t catch that you have a DUI conviction that could be to your benefit, so we recommend letting them contact you; there’s no need to be proactive and contact your insurance company.