Virginia DUI Attorney

Driving while intoxicated by alcohol or under the influence of drugs in Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor [Virginia Criminal Code Section 18.2-266]. This also includes operating any watercraft. You could face jail time if convicted, which means that if you’re facing DUI charges, you can benefit from the assistance of a Virginia DUI lawyer.

Why Choose a Virginia DUI Attorney?

Because of the various tangible and intangible consequences of DUI charges and convictions, it pays to invest in solid legal representation. By selecting a Virginia DUI lawyer who has extensive experience serving clients in the jurisdiction where you are being charged, you’re deciding to work with a seasoned legal advocate who knows the ins and outs of the local court system, including the myths involved in DUI cases.

The legal team at our firm knows how many DUI stops end up occurring due to an overreach on the part of the arresting officer, not to mention issues with breathalyzers and other chemical tests can be. If you’re interested in working with someone who understands what it takes to successfully handle DUI charges, call a Virginia DUI lawyer at our firm and conduct your free initial consultation.

DUI Charges in Virginia

DUI can be charged against the accused if any of the following applies:

  • If you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02 or above.
  • If, in the opinion of the arresting officer, you are “impaired” by alcohol.
  • If, in the opinion of the arresting officer, you are under the influence of any drug.
  • If you are under the influence of a combination of any drugs and alcohol

Once charged, an individual’s driver’s license is immediately suspended. They must then appear before the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if they wish to be granted a restricted license until their day in court.

If convicted of DUI, you will be ordered by the court to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicle once their get their license back. The IID will remain on their vehicle for at least six months, and possibly as long as a year, and your insurance rates will likely rise significantly.

Fortunately, a Virginia DUI lawyer can help clients to avoid some or all of these situations by mounting a strong defense in court. If you find your license suspended, your attorney can also help you to file for a restricted license at the DMV. When pulled over, make sure to know how to approach your interactions with a police officer to avoid incriminating yourself.

Updated Penalties for DUI Convictions

A new sentencing schedule for DUI convictions went into effect in 2014.

  • You can now be convicted with a BAC as low as 0.02.
  • The number of previous “intoxication” convictions over a 10-year “lookback” period could add minimum jail time to your sentence.
  • If there were any minors in the vehicle when you were arrested, penalties can be greater.

A first DUI conviction produces up to 12 months in jail, a fine as high as $2,500, along with a one-year license suspension. A second conviction results in a fine between $500 and $2,500, up to a year in jail (with a 20 to 40 day mandatory minimum sentence, depending on the BAC), and a three-year license suspension. A third comes with a fine between $1,000 and $2,500, a mandatory minimum jail sentence of six months (to a year), and indefinite driver’s license suspension [Section 18.2-270]. It may also be charged as a felony offense.

Minors (under 21) who are convicted of DUI are subject to new, more stringent statutes. They can be convicted of DUI if even a trace of alcohol is present in their blood [Section 18.2-266.1]). Underage penalties can bring:

  • A fine of $500
  • A one year driver’s license suspension
  • 50 hours of community service
  • Adult penalties if the BAC is 0.08

Based on the severity of many DUI penalties, it is prudent to contact an aggressive Virginia DUI lawyer as soon as you have the opportunity. He or she can work quickly to assemble a defense that can help to reduce or even eliminate the penalties you may be facing.

BAC Testing 

If the arresting officer has a legitimate reason to stop you on suspicion of DUI and determines that he or she can legally arrest you, you will be taken to jail and given a blood chemical test to measure the amount of alcohol in your body.

The primary evidence to arrest comes from your ability to pass a series of roadside standardized field sobriety tests. You can decline to take these tests, but if you take and fail one or more of them, the officer will have enough legal basis to arrest on suspicion of DUI.

At the police station, the BAC test is usually performed with a breathalyzer, but under some circumstances blood will be drawn. You also may decline to take that test, but the penalty if you refuse is immediate loss of your driver’s license for a year [Section 18.2-268.3]. This statutory loss means you may not apply for a restricted license anytime during your suspension if you are subsequently convicted of refusal.

Though BAC tests can be strong, they are not unassailable by a well-practiced Virginia DUI lawyer if:

  • The test was improperly administered
  • The breathalyzer was not properly calibrated
  • A blood test sample might have been mishandled or improperly preserved

Work with a Local DUI Attorney

It’s important to quickly consult legal counsel if you’re dealing with a DUI charge. By calling our firm, you can speak with a Virginia DUI lawyer who can listen to your side of the story and begin planning a defense strategy custom suited to your needs. We also provide criminal defense services for other charges.

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