Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
A DUI is driving under the influence. To be charged with a DUI, the driver does not need to have a minimum BAC; 0.08 is the minimum under the law, but if there is no BAC taken and a driver is showing signs of being intoxicated, to the point that they are unable to control their driving, they could still be charged with a DUI even though there is no BAC.
DUIs are taken seriously in Falls Church. Falls Church takes driving under the influence and DWI charges very seriously because there is an emphasis on protecting the community. It is important to have a Falls Church DUI attorney by your side in these cases because a DUI conviction is something that can affect you well beyond the sentence itself; it will continue to affect you for the rest of your life. It may be a negative factor when applying for employment in the future and a DUI conviction will appear on background checks.
DUI checkpoints are common in Falls Church. Falls Church is a frequent thruway to and from different areas, stretching from DC to populated parts of Virginia. There is enough traffic that it is easy for local police officers to set up checkpoints in advance for the purpose of keeping Falls Church safe.
Penalties for a first time DUI vary depending on the facts of a person’s case, but a first offense can result in up to 12 months in jail and a fine from $250.00 to $2,500.00. If someone’s blood alcohol level or their BAC is read by the Breathalyzer and it is between 0.15 and a 0.19, they also face a minimum of five mandatory days in jail. If their BAC is 0.2 or more, they will face a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail.
Even for a first offense, a person could face a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail, if their BAC meets a legal threshold. It is important to have the assistance of a Falls Church DUI lawyer who can try and minimize these possible penalties.
Falls Church prosecutors might offer a diversionary program for first time offenders, but it is not offered so commonly that it is to be expected. The best case scenario beyond an acquittal is that the prosecutor will reduce the charge to reckless driving, if your BAC was low enough or the facts of your case are less serious than a typical DUI. It is extremely unlikely that a defendant will be given the option of a diversion program and have the charge go away.
DUI charges are scary and intimidating because there are serious ramifications, if convicted. If it is someone’s first offense, the best case scenario is that their jail time would be suspended, but it will be hanging over their head while they are on probation. They will also have to complete an Alcohol Safety Action Program course, take drug tests, and they will have their license suspended. It is possible to get a restricted license depending on the severity of their case, but it is not guaranteed. Additionally, future employers will see a DUI conviction and either a charge or a conviction could affect their reputation negatively. There are a lot of consequences as a result of DUI conviction, and it will go on someone’s permanent criminal record, so it is one of the scarier misdemeanors to be charged with.
Depending on the facts of your case and your criminal history, there are factors that a Falls Church DUI attorney can present during the negotiation process with the prosecutor to help their clients. In some situations, prosecutors have agreed to reduce a DUI charge to reckless driving. That may be with the caveat that the defendant submit themselves to alcohol and drug testing, complete community service, enroll in a substance abuse program, and/or have a suspended license for a period of time. In other cases, a prosecutor may be willing to allow someone to plead guilty to the DUI, but defer the imposition of the sentence for a year.
The defendant is, essentially, on probation to do community service, substance abuse counseling, and various other requirements that the prosecutor attaches to it during this period. At the end of that time, something else could be done with the charge, such as, it could be reduced to a different charge or the prosecutor might have it dismissed completely. The options would be impacted by the facts of your case.
In the past, prosecutors have been willing to revoke bond per the defense attorney’s request. The agreement typically provides that the prosecutor would actually revoke your bond and have you put in jail prior to your court date. The prosecutor would then have the charges reduced to reckless driving or have your charges dismissed altogether. An agreement of this sort would also depend on the facts of your case and your prosecuting attorney. The options will depend on the creative legal options that your attorney can think of and convince the prosecutor to agree to.