When dealing with a first time DUI in Fairfax, an attorney will first want to get a complete understanding of the facts that occurred so that they can build a proper defense. This means having a full and open discussion with their client and then fully reviewing the Commonwealth’s case. After they have all of the information, they can begin to look at areas that might present a defense.
There are many defenses for DUI charges in Virginia and they vary from case to case. Your attorney should first be looking to see whether the police acted within the bounds of the constitution for the stop of the vehicle and for the ultimate arrest of the individual. If the police do not have the proper level of suspicion or probable cause, then your attorney should be able to move to suppress the evidence that was gathered in violation of your Constitutional rights. If they are successful in that type of motion then the prosecution will often be forced to dismiss the case.
Additionally, the defense attorney will explore other defenses, which vary greatly depending on the unique facts of each case. In some cases it will be challenging whether the defendant was actually legally “operating the vehicle” and in other cases, it will be attacking the intoximeter machine that was used to measure your blood alcohol content. It can be attacking the memory and veracity of the witness’ testimony or using the law to show that there was not sufficient evidence to convict you of DUI.
There are numerous defenses and it depends on the facts of each and every case. Each case is different. But just because you’ve been charged with a DUI doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be convicted of DUI offense.
The biggest mistakes to avoid for the first time DUI defendants is providing too much evidence to police during the traffic stop. Although it is human nature to agree to perform the field sobriety tests or to admit that you have been drinking, those things usually can be used as evidence against you at trial, and it is best to refuse those tests and not to make any admissions at all.
Another error that first time DUI defendants make is to not take it that seriously or to expect leniency from the prosecutor or judge if you have lived an otherwise exemplary life. Judges and prosecutors don’t cut breaks for people on DUIs, even if it is the first time they’ve ever had any contact with the law in their life. So a mistake is to expect leniency or not the charge seriously. It’s a very serious offense. It can impact your life forever. And you should hire an attorney immediately.
Constitutional issues arise in every single arrest and stop that’s made simply because if you’re stopped or arrested by police, you’ve been deprived of your freedom and liberty, and any time that happens, there are constitutional concerns.
So, if you’re arrested without probable cause, anything that comes later such as a breath test or blood alcohol content can be suppressed because the arrest was illegal and violation with the constitution. If you’re stopped illegally, anything that comes after that illegal stop can be suppressed due to the constitutional violation.
So, the constitution plays a big role in every case. It can definitely be used to the defendant’s benefit to help reduce, dismiss or otherwise, help your case out and can be used to build an effective defense in some instances.