Virginia DUI Lawyer

Virginia state law deals with DUI offenses under § 18.2-266, which uses a variety of criteria to determine if it is unlawful for the person in question to be operating a motor vehicle. Officers are allowed to pull over and detain suspects if they have reasonable and articulable suspension to believe that they are breaking any law. They can detain these individuals if they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and they utilize observations and field tests that are administered on site to obtain probable cause. The alleged drivers are then subjected to a court hearing to either plead their case or hear their judgment, depending on the available evidence. A Virginia DUI lawyer can aid you if you are in this position.

There are many considerations when looking at DUI cases, including the age of the alleged driver, the drug he or she was under the influence of at the time of arrest, and whether or not the crime was compounded with other issues and crimes. For example, a DUI case could stand on its own if a driver is merely detained on the side of a road while he or she is driving home for the night. However, the penalties could be much more severe if that instance of driving under the influence was only noted because it led to an accident in which others were injured or killed. In the former case, the minimum penalty will often be administered, but the maximum may be sought in the latter.

Sections of the Law

When examining §18.2-266, it can be seen that § 18.2-266 (i) states that anyone with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of more than 0.08 is presumed to be driving under the influence of alcohol. This level can be determined by a breathalyzer test that an officer can carry in his or her vehicle to obtain probable cause. As a Virginia lawyer will attest, the accused does have a right to refuse a breathalyzer on the scene. However, he or she can then be arrested on suspicion if other field tests are failed. These field tests could include the following:

  • Reciting the alphabet.
  • Walking in a straight line.
  • Following an officer’s instructions.
  • Looking into the beam of a flashlight.
  • Answering questions that are posed.

Generally speaking, officers have the freedom to administer as many tests as they believe are needed to determine if a person is under the influence of alcohol. The failure of any test may be enough to establish probable cause resulting in arrest. p>

§ 18.2-266 (ii) states that it is simply unlawful for a person to be driving under the influence of alcohol, regardless of the amount of alcohol that was consumed. § 18.2-266 (iii) extends this unlawfulness to driving while under the influence of any drug that is considered a narcotic, a drug that has been self-administered. It also states that it is unlawful to use any combination of drugs that could produce the same results, even if one of the drugs on its own would not have been enough to bring about the same response. Doing any of these things could result in a DUI in Virginia and may mean you need to hire a Virginia DUI lawyer to represent your case.

The Difference in Age

The age of the person who has been arrested can have a large impact on the charges that will be brought about. If a person is under the age of 21, they are not allowed to have a BAC of more than 0.02 while operating a motor vehicle. If they are over 21, a BAC of 0.02 would not be enough to bring about chargesand a BAC of 0.08 of is illegal and charges will ensue. If the person in question is a commercial driver, such as one who works for a freight company or a limo company, they are not allowed to have a BAC of more than 0.04, as it pertains to their commercial license.

Motor Vehicles: The Definition

A Virginia DUI lawyer will want to know what type of vehicle you were driving at the time of the arrest. It is important to note that standard motor vehicles, such as cars and trucks, are not all that are considered under §18.2-266. It also includes trains and any vehicles that could be said to have an engine, such as dirt bikes and All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs). Furthermore, the law specifically states that mopeds are to be held under the same regulations. Those using these smaller vehicles are therefore not able to skirt the laws governing general use of the roadways.

Refusing a Test

As mentioned above, a Virginia lawyer will tell you that you have a right to refuse a breathalyzer test when you are apprehended. However, the law in Virginia is known as an “implied consent” law. By refusing the test at the station, you are committed a different and additional offense. There are automatic penalties that come along with the offense of unreasonable refusal.

For your first offense of this law and you are convicted, you will get a license suspension of one year, no restricted license permitted and no jail time. If a second offense occurs within the next 10 years, the punishment is increased to a license suspension of three years and a minimum sentence of 10 days. The penalty is the same for the third offense, but brings another three year license suspension and the minimum jail sentence is increased to 90 days.

Penalties for Driving Under the Influence

If you get a DUI in Virginia, you should know that the minimum penalty under § 18.2-266 for a first offense is five days in jail if there is a passenger in the car who is under 18 years of age or if your BAC is between .15 and .20. This increases to 10 days for a BAC that is higher than .20. You could also face a fine of at least $250, mandatory enrollment in Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, required installation of an ignition interlock devise in your vehicle, and a one year license suspension.

For a second offense, you could face a jail term ranging from 20 days to a full year. You could also be fined a minimum of $500, though it could be more considering the circumstances. Having a passenger who is under 18 adds five days to the minimum jail term and can also raise the fine to $1,000. Your license will be suspended for three years.

The Ignition Interlock Device

Virginia has instituted the use of the Ignition Interlock device. This will be used after a second offense of § 18.2-266. It will be used in most situations after a first offense if you are interested in a restricted license. This device is similar to a standard breathalyzer, and it can be connected to the dash of the car. If you are using this system, it will check your BAC before allowing you to start the vehicle. The system records the actions of the driver to reduce fraud and attempts to circumvent the stops that the system puts in place.

The Alcohol Safety Action Program

Even for your first offense, you will likely have to complete the state’s Alcohol Safety Action Program, which is an informational program designed to teach you about use and abuse of substances and the dangers of driving while intoxicated. Refusal to complete the program will likely be a violation of your probationary period, and you could face further fines, jail time and suspensions.

If you find yourself accused of a DUI violation, a Virginia DUI lawyer can fight to get you get a fair trial and a favorable verdict. Contact our office today and speak with one of our DUI lawyers for help.

Locations

Our firm serves a wide part of Virginia and is proud to aid individuals in trouble with the law. By serving the following areas, we can help these individuals get lesser charges, a fair trial and get their life back on track.

Alexandria

Alexandria has about 99 crimes per square mile when all crimes are considered, which is higher than the average in Virginia due to its population center. However, this dense collection of people helps raise the DUI rates per square mile to rather higher rates than you will find in other towns and cities.

Arlington

With a population of just over 200,000, Arlington has a crime rate that is actually higher than 67 percent of the other towns in Virginia. As a Virginia DUI lawyer will point out, though, this is mostly due to the heavy population, and the city actually ranks rather well nationally.

Brunswick

DUI charges in Brunswick tend to be given out to those who are just over the legal limit of 0.08. The national crime rate is higher than that which is seen in Brunswick, so DUI levels are also lower than normal, indicating that repeat offenders are few. Regardless of the amount, our firm is here to help those in need of legal assistance.

Fairfax

Since it has a relatively small population of just over 22,000, there are not many crimes in Fairfax, including crimes relating to DUI offenses. In fact, the odds that a Fairfax, Virginia DUI lawyer will give you of becoming a victim of any crime in the city, including an alcohol-related accident, are only 1 in 664, which is better than the state average.

Fauquier

Each year, 54 people out of every 10,000 are arrested in Fauquier County for drinking and driving offenses. Due to population fluctuations, that typically works out to between 200 and 300 people per year, though spikes have neared 400 in some years. While DUIs are not the largest issue in the county, they do contribute to the overall crime.

Hanover County

A Hanover Country DUI lawyer can help you with your case if you have been accused of Driving Under the Influence. However, since the area has under 8,000 people, there may be a lower probability of facing other traffic violations due to low traffic levels.

Loudoun County

DUI crimes in Loudoun County are few, in large part because of the spread-out nature of the expensive homes, which does not cater to frequent trips to bars and restaurants. The rates are slowly declining now, as they have been for the past few years. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact our firm and speak with our expert DUI lawyers.

Prince William County

Over 2,500 people in Prince William County were charged with drinking and driving offenses. This includes DUI offense, DWI offenses, and offenses by those who were technically under the legal limit but also under the age of 21. A lower BAC can result in charges for those who are not old enough to drink legally, though older drivers would not be charged.

Richmond

A Richmond DUI lawyer can show you statistics that prove that this city is actually in the bottom 7 percent of the country as far as crime rates are concerned. However, these numbers stem more from violent crimes and property crimes than from DUI violations.

Spotsylvania County

While the amount of traffic incidents in the entire county was lower than in other parts of Virginia, a high amount of traffic stops were attributed to alcohol. Get a lawyer in Spotsylvania County to help you if you are going to court on DUI charges.

Tidewater

Densely populated along the coast, Tidewater is home to a large number of crimes per year. Because of the amount of people living in close proximity to one another, DUI numbers in these population zones can be high. However, the public transportation system does help prevent some crimes that relate to drunk driving.

Contact our DC and Maryland DUI lawyers if you have been charged in those states.