Virginia DUI Law
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in the state of Virginia. Because it is illegal, driving under the influence means that you can be charged with a criminal offense and face serious penalties that may include jail time, fines, and loss of your driver’s license. All of these consequences can seriously impact your life and make it difficult for you to maintain employment and meet all of your other obligations. This can make your life very difficult, especially when you lose your freedom or your ability to get where you need to go. Hiring a Virginia DUI lawyer will not guarantee a win in your DUI case, but it can give you an advantage. A Virginia DUI attorney is a specially trained lawyer with experience and skill in defending DUI defendants. If you want the best chance for winning your case, a Virginia DUI lawyer is the only way to go.
Virginia DUI Offenses and Prosecution
Being arrested for a DUI offense in Virginia will result in two separate cases being started against you. One will be the criminal case where you face criminal charges and harsh penalties if you are convicted. This case can be frustrating and worrisome because being convicted means that you will have a criminal record and may be penalized with jail time and other stiff punishments. The second case is an administrative proceeding where the state of Virginia will attempt to suspend your driving privileges for a specific period of time. Not having any driving privileges will make your life very difficult, especially if you live in an area where you do not have access to trains, buses, or other forms of transportation. You may have to rely on others to get where you need to go. Hiring a skilled Virginia DUI lawyer can help you to keep your driving privileges and defend yourself against the DUI charges in your criminal case.
There are two ways that a person can be prosecuted for driving while intoxicated in the state of Virginia. One of these ways is based on the impairment of the driver after consuming alcohol. With this type of prosecution, the case is built around the driver being too impaired to operate a motor vehicle. Driving habits, failure to perform sobriety tests successfully, the physical appearance of the defendant, and the smell of alcohol on the defendant may all be taken into consideration in this type of DUI case. The prosecutor does not have to prove any particular blood alcohol concentration level. The second type of DUI case is based on chemical testing, not on driver habits or behavior. In this type of DUI case, the defendant had a blood alcohol concentration level of greater than the legal limit of 0.08%. Whether the defendant was actually impaired is not relevant in this type of case. The prosecutor simply has to prove that the legal blood alcohol level was exceeded. Both types of cases have serious legal and administrative consequences so it is important that you contact a Virginia DUI lawyer immediately so you have someone to guide you through the legal system and defend you both in court and at any administrative proceedings.
Virginia DUI Criminal Penalties
The penalties for driving under the influence in Virginia can include jail time, fines, and other punishments. These penalties increase with each offense you have been convicted of in the past. For a first offense, you will face up to one year in jail and a one year license suspension. There are mandatory minimum jail sentences for offenders with blood alcohol concentration levels of 0.15% or higher. A second DUI offense will result in a minimum prison sentence of 20 days and license revocation for three years. The penalties are enhanced for offenders with extreme BAC levels. If your license is suspended or revoked, you may be able to get a restricted license. This restricted license will make it possible for you to drive to medical appointments, work, school, and other necessary locations. Some judges will make you wait for 30 days before you are eligible for a restricted license. This means you will not be able to drive at all during the first 30 days of your license suspension period. If the judge makes you wait for 30 days, your lawyer may make a motion that you be allowed to take 7 days off of your suspension period to reflect the time you served with the administrative suspension you were given by the state licensing agency.
Importance of a Virginia DUI Attorney
Having a Virginia DUI lawyer on your team will not guarantee that you successfully defend yourself against DUI charges. There are many variables involved in a DUI case, so guaranteeing a successful outcome would be unethical. However, hiring a Virginia DUI attorney can give you a better chance of having a successful outcome. DUI is a specialized area of the law and attorneys that specialize in DUI have the skills and knowledge needed to defend you against these charges. An experienced Virginia DUI lawyer may have access to expert witnesses or a strong knowledge of chemical testing that can help you during your criminal case. If your attorney is able to find a piece of information or a witness who can shed some doubt on the validity of a chemical test or the testing procedures used, you can use this to your benefit. A skilled Virginia DUI attorney may also be able to help you when it comes time to try to save your driving privileges in the administrative case against you. If you have a Virginia DUI lawyer, he or she will be knowledgeable about these types of hearings and will know what kind of information to focus on when trying to save your licensing privileges.