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Virginia DUI Attorney
Our website provides access to our experienced Virginia DUI lawyers and helps you make informed decisions in handling the initial phases of your arrest and selecting the right attorney for your defense.
Driving under the influence is one of the most commonly charged crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The standards required to issue a DUI charge are similar to those in other states. According to § 18.2-266 in the Virginia Code, you can be charged with driving under the influence if you are found operating a motorized vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08 or higher. You can also be charged with a DUI with a lower BAC if you are found to be under the influence of narcotics or even prescription drugs.
Driving while impaired, or DWI, is a separate charge that carries a different set of standards. Your BAC does not have to be quite as high to incur a DWI charge, you just have to exhibit some signs of impairment to the officer that pulled you over. The grounds for a DWI charge can be subjective to the officer, so if you don’t understand why you are facing this charge, please schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys who will be able to help guide you through the process.
Penalties For DUI in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia takes DUI arrests very seriously. As a result, the penalties that accompany a DUI conviction, even a first time offense, can dramatically affect your life moving forward. Drunk driving laws in Virginia are complicated because there are so many different distinctions between charges. They increase both with the amount of prior drunk driving convictions on your record, and with the offender’s BAC is at the time of arrest. Subsequent violations, as well as more egregious violations of the BAC standards, will make fighting your DUI charge even more difficult.
A first time conviction carries with it a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. If your BAC is between .15 and .21 at the time of your arrest, the Commonwealth adds a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days upon conviction. For a BAC of .21 or above, the additional mandatory minimum jail sentence is 10 days. Your privilege to drive will also be revoked for 12 months. For first-time offenders, a restricted driver’s license may be granted, but is usually accompanied by a mandated installation of a ignition interlock device on one's vehicle.
A second conviction within 10 years brings a 10-day minimum jail sentence. If convicted, your license will be suspended for three years. If your BAC is at .15 or above, the mandatory minimum sentence is increased by 5 or 10 days. For a second conviction within five years of the first, the mandatory minimum sentence is 20 days.
If you are charged with a third DUI offense within 10 years, it is prosecuted as a felony and carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 90 days. A third DUI offense within five years carries a mandatory minimum sentence of six months. The maximum sentence for this charge is five years. You will lose your license indefinitely and will be facing a minimum fine of $1,000. You may even face forfeiture of your vehicle. For a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years, you face a mandatory minimum of one year in jail.
Under § 46.2-341.18 of the Code of Virginia, commercial drivers face the harshest potential penalties from a DUI/DWI conviction. For example, commercial drivers that are convicted of a DUI twice in any ten year period can be forbidden from operating a commercial vehicle on state highways for life.
A DUI conviction will also carry some non-judicial penalties, meaning that it could complicate your life for years after the incident. Your insurance rates could escalate, and having a DUI conviction on your record could make it harder to secure employment or find a place to live. When you are facing a criminal charge with penalties this steep, it is important that you find representation that will fight to protect your rights and to secure a positive result in your case.
How a Virginia DUI Lawyer Can Help
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you may be overwhelmed by the charges you are facing. It is important to find a Virginia DUI lawyer who understands your fear and has the experience necessary to help you fight your charge.
If you are arrested for drunk driving, be helpful and cooperative, but maintain your right to remain silent, until you have spoken to a qualified Virginia DUI attorney who can begin crafting your defense.
The attorneys with our firm have defended hundreds of clients against the charges they face. A lawyer can provide the support, resources, and knowledge necessary for your defense. Our Virginia DUI lawyers help you fight your DUI charges by:
- Carefully evaluating your case
- Gathering evidence to support your defense
- Working with experts to testify on your behalf
- Negotiating with prosecutors to receive a lesser charge
- Analyzing the circumstances of your arrest to identify potential improper procedure
Evaluating your case and gathering evidence is an important but often overlooked part of an attorney’s job. It is during this phase that they might be able to uncover some important facts that are unique to your case. These include but are not limited to:
- The alcohol consumed up to the time of arrest
- What reason the officer had for initially performing the traffic stop
- Any statements that were recorded during the arrest by the officer
- The results of any field sobriety tests that have been performed by the officer during the arrest
- The results of any portable breath tests taken at the time of the initial stop
- The results of the official breath test results taken at the station
- The manner in which the breath test was administered, and whether or not the office complied with the proper procedure
A Virginia DUI lawyer will look critically at each one of these events to make sure that you were treated within your rights, and that no mistakes were made by the arresting officer that could damage the Commonwealth’s case. When you visit with our attorneys for a free consultation, make sure to bring all evidence of the case with you. It is important that they understand every aspect of the case so they can better build a defense strategy tailored to your case.
Virginia Reckless Driving Lawyer
Our team has attorneys who can aggressively fight your reckless driving charges. If you have been stopped by an officer and given a reckless driving citation, it is important to remember that this is not handled like a typical traffic ticket by the Commonwealth. Reckless driving is a criminal misdemeanor, and the associated penalties are much worse than a simple fine. Our firm has reckless driving attorneys with experience protecting their clients from this type of charge, so contact us to find out how they can help you.
Overall, Fairfax crime rates were at an all-time low in 2011, according to the Washington Post. However DUI’s are still common in Fairfax, and it is important that you retain excellent representation to make sure you give yourself the best chance at a positive result. If your case eventually reaches trial, it will likely be heard at the County Courthouse at 4110 Chain Bridge Road in Fairfax. A trial can be an uncomfortable place, especially if you don’t have any experience in a courtroom. Our attorneys will stand by your side to make sure that you are as confident and comfortable as possible when there is so much on the line. Click here to learn more.
Prince William County
Prince William County is enormous, and it reaches all the way from the Potomac River and past Haymarket. It also engulfs Manassas, an independent city right in the middle of it. If an attorney with our firm is unable to reduce your charge or negotiate a favorable plea deal, your Prince William DUI case will likely be heard at 9311 Lee Avenue in Manassas. DUIs actually fell in Prince William County in 2010. There were 2,116 cases in 2009, and just 2,046 a year later. However, DUI's are still vigorously prosecuted, so securing good legal representation is essential to securing a favorable outcome for your case. To learn more about Prince William DUI attorneys, click here.
There are two large, independent cities that act almost as a gateway from Virginia to Washington, D.C. Arlington and Alexandria both have major roadways running through them that act as a circulatory system for the District. That means that many Virginia residents who take a quick trip to D.C. for dinner, or attend happy hour before leaving work, will have to travel through one of these two cities to get back home. This results in a considerable number of DUI charges stemming from stops by law enforcement, all of which are prosecuted aggressively by the Commonwealth. For more information on Karin Riley Porter Attorney at Law in Northern Virginia, visit this link.
Cases in Arlington will be heard at the District Court located at 1425 North Courthouse Road. Alexandria DUI cases will be heard on King Street. We do not advise going through a criminal proceeding such as a DUI case without an attorney on your side to make sure your rights are protected.