MANASSAS DUI LAWYER HELPING DRIVERS FIGHT DUI CHARGES
In 2018, over 19,000 people received driving under the influence (DUI) convictions in Virginia. Every Virginia driver needs to know the facts about DUI. What constitutes DUI, how is it penalized in Virginia, and what’s your recourse if you are arrested and charged with DUI?
If you are driving and your blood alcohol content (BAC) level measures at or above 0.08%, you are driving while under the influence. You can also be charged with DUI if you are too impaired to drive with a lower BAC level or if you are impaired by a drug other than alcohol.
And if you’re a driver below 21 years of age, the law is harsher. Drivers below age 21 may be charged with DUI for driving with a BAC level of only 0.02%.
IF YOU ARE CONVICTED OF DUI, WHAT HAPPENS?
An arrest for driving under the influence can result in a criminal conviction, a substantial fine, a lengthy term of probation, and in some cases, time behind bars.
A conviction for DUI may also negatively affect your job or your ability to find a job, especially a job that involves driving. Additionally, a DUI conviction will raise your vehicle insurance rates, and it will create a criminal record that can interfere with your life for years into the future.
If you’re in the U.S. with a visa or a green card, a conviction for DUI may prompt immigration authorities to seek your deportation. If you are a professional in this state, a conviction for DUI may prompt a license suspension or revocation by your professional licensing board.
WHAT MAKES DUI LAW SO COMPLICATED IN VIRGINIA?
DUI is complicated in Virginia because the state takes two different steps against alleged offenders. The criminal charge will be handled in a criminal court, and your license to drive will be suspended in a separate “administrative” action by Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
For a first offense, that suspension is for seven days. On a second charge for DUI, your license is suspended by the DMV for sixty days. If you’re convicted of a criminal DUI charge, a court-ordered license revocation or suspension is imposed in addition to the DMV suspension.
WHAT ARE THE CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR DUI IN VIRGINIA?
A criminal conviction for a first DUI offense will be punished with a minimum, mandatory fine of $250 and a license revocation for one year. A convicted offender will be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in his or her personal vehicle when the license revocation period ends.
A second DUI conviction in Virginia will be punished with a mandatory, minimum $500 fine and a license revocation for three years. Second convictions also carry the prospect of a year behind bars.
WHEN IS JAIL TIME MANDATORY FOR A DUI CONVICTION?
Second and subsequent DUI convictions mean mandatory jail time in Virginia. A second conviction less than five years after a first conviction triggers a 20-day mandatory jail sentence. A second DUI conviction five to ten years after a first conviction results in a 10-day sentence.
Jail is also required for drivers who are arrested with exceedingly high BAC levels. With a BAC level of 0.15% or higher, a first DUI conviction means at least five days in jail. With a BAC level of 0.20% or higher, a first DUI conviction means at least ten days in jail.
If a passenger 17 years of age or younger is in your vehicle when you are arrested for DUI, another jail term of at least five days is added to the other penalties and fines, and you may pay another $500 to $1,000 fine.
There’s more. After any DUI conviction in Virginia, the offender must complete VASAP – the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program. It’s two hours of classes a week for ten weeks, and it’s required in order to have your driver’s license returned to you.
WHAT WILL A DUI LAWYER DO?
With the state taking two separate actions against you, and with several different reasons for fines, license suspensions, and jail terms, you’re going to need sound legal advice if you’re charged with DUI. You can’t take a chance on hiring the wrong Manassas DUI attorney.
In DUI proceedings, your defense lawyer may contest the reason why police officers stopped you in traffic. If your rights are violated by police officers at any point in the DUI process, your attorney can seek to have the charge dismissed.
Your defense lawyer might also dispute the findings of a breath exam or the qualifications of the individual who conducted the exam. Of course, the specific defense strategy that your lawyer offers will hinge on the particulars of the DUI charge.
WHERE CAN YOU TURN FOR HELP WITH DUI IN THE MANASSAS AREA?
Manassas DUI attorney The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC can review the details of the charge, protect your legal rights, and insist on the best possible resolution of your DUI matter. Since 2000, he has aggressively and successfully defended clients accused of DUI in and near Manassas.
The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC is a member of the National College for DUI Defense and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He’s been trained extensively in forensic toxicology, DUI/DWI breath and blood testing, and the administration of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.
To arrange a consultation or to learn more, contact attorney The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC by phone or online. He’s an experienced and trained Virginia DUI lawyer with a reputation for aggressive and effective DUI defense representation. The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC will fight for the justice you need.