Fredericksburg First-Offense DUI Lawyer

Being arrested for a DUI can be an overwhelming experience, especially if it is your first time. It can be difficult to navigate the trial process alone, which is why it is important to work with a knowledgeable DUI attorney. A first-time DUI charge in Fredericksburg will be heard at the General District Court and a skilled Fredericksburg first-offense DUI lawyer could defend you. Work with an attorney that could pursue a positive outcome for you.

How Prosecutors Treat First Time DUI Charges

The prosecutors handle first time DUI charges very seriously. They want a conviction and will want the individual to plead guilty, but they might give them suspended time depending on the facts and the individual’s record. They will charge the individual with the standard DUI which carries an entire year of suspended license. They might want larger or smaller amounts of suspended license time and they will want a very large fine. It will all depend on the facts of the case and the individual’s driving record. A Fredericksburg first-offense DUI lawyer could fight just as vigorously in an individual’s defense.

Penalties for a First Time DUI in Fredericksburg

Penalties for a first time DUI, all required by statute, are:

  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • Up to a $2,500 fine
  • One-year license suspension,
  • At least six months of interlock, and
  • Successful completion of the ASAP (Alcohol and Safety Action Program), which is a substance abuse evaluation and treatment program in the State of Virginia

There are no other diversion programs or probation options available. A Fredericksburg first-offense DUI lawyer could attempt to mitigate the charges that an individual may face.

What Happens to a Person’s Driver’s License After a First Time DUI Charge?

When an individual is charged with a DUI for their first time, they will lose their driver’s license for seven days as an administrative suspension. They will have to sign a piece of paper when they are arrested that says they cannot drive for seven days. After that, they will be able to retrieve that signed paper from a local clerk (or the clerk will mail it to them). Most individuals decide to pick up the signed paper so they can begin driving again.  They cannot drive until they have that paper back.

From that point on, if an individual has a first offense DUI with a heightened BAC (Blood Alcohol Content), that period of time might be longer. If an individual has a first offense DUI and they get their license back pending the outcome of their trial, they can drive. Once they are convicted, they will lose their license for at least one year. They will lose their license for a longer period of time if they also lose on the refusal which adds another year of administrative suspension. The length of suspension depends on the facts of the case and what evidence is presented.

Challenging a License Suspension Following a First-Time DUI

In order to challenge the suspension of their license after a first time DUI, they have to have a Fredericksburg first-offense DUI lawyer bring a motion to challenge the probable cause of the arrest in a quick turnaround motion. Usually, attorneys cannot do that because the evidence is not available to them until much closer to the trial date. If an individual’s license is suspended on a Saturday, the soonest an attorney could file a motion would be Monday morning to challenge the probable cause and, in order to have time to hear a motion, depending on the jurisdiction an individual is in, the Commonwealth attorney is given a few days to review the motion and the evidence. By that time, the individual’s driver’s license suspension may be over. The only time an individual challenges their license is not for this one-week suspension for first-time DUI, but for the longer suspensions ordered for a second time DUI, a heightened DUI, or for other circumstances pending their arrest. After an individual is convicted of a first-time DUI, they cannot challenge the suspension of their license.

Biggest Mistakes to Avoid for First-Time DUI Defendants

The biggest mistakes made by individuals stopped by a police officer for a first time DUI is very common. As a rule of thumb, they should not talk to the police, should not do the field sobriety test, and should not blow at the scene. All of these things are things that can help convict an individual and potentially ruin their chances for filing a Motion to Suppress. The best thing to do if the officer tells an individual to step out of the car is to say that they do not want to step out of the car. Then ask the officer if they are ordering them to step out of the car or ordering them to comply; are they free to leave. These are all questions an individual is allowed to ask.

If the officer does not answer their question advising whether or not they are free to leave, then the individual can ask the officer why they are being detained. The typical response by the officer may be that they wanted to make sure the individual was okay to drive. At that point, the individual should advise the officer that they are fine, they do not want to answer any questions, and they should either arrest them or let them go. Most importantly, they should speak with a Fredericksburg first-offense DUI lawyer that could help them avoid making these mistakes, and could work towards a positive outcome for them.

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