Driving Under the Influence
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, DUI, DWI
At Virginia Crime and Traffic Law Firm, LLP we’ve seen firsthand how charges of driving under the influence can disrupt a person’s life. And if these charges lead to a conviction, the results can be devastating. Very often, the outcome is greatly affected by whether or not the driver had effective legal counsel. Those who choose to represent themselves are often rewarded with higher fines and more serious jail sentences. Our attorneys hate to see this happen. Contact us immediately if you would like to know how a DUI lawyer or a DWI lawyer can make a difference in your case.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, one of our experienced attorneys will be happy to provide a free consultation. During that time you can ask questions and receive a qualified legal opinion about your legal options.
To convict one of DUI or DWI, a prosecutor must prove:
(1) that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle; and
(2) that at the time of operation he either
(a) had a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of 0.08 or more,
(b) he was “under the influence of alcohol,”
(c) he was “under the influence” of a narcotic or other self-administered intoxicant or drug or a combination of such drugs to a degree which impaired his ability to operate a motor vehicle safely; or
(d) he was under the combined influence of alcohol and any drug or any combination of such drugs to a degree which impaired his ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
There are related offenses, such as “Involuntary Manslaughter,” where an alcohol-impaired individual is in an accident that results in death of another. Also, “Refusal of Tests” results in a civil penalty. One commits this violation by refusing to submit to a blood or breath test after being arrested for DUI. The punishment is a one year license suspension in addition to any punishment for the underlying DUI.
Typically, however, DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment is up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. The mandatory minimum punishment, for a first offense with a low blood alcohol level from a breath or blood test is
(1) a one year driving license suspension;
(2) successful completion of a substance abuse program called the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP); and a fine of at least $250.00.
Regarding the license suspension, the judge is authorized to reissue a restricted license, allowing one to drive to and from work and other limited trips during the license suspension period.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
Not everyone who is charged with driving under the influence hires a lawyer, but should you? The answer to that question varies from one person to the next. A free consultation with a lawyer from Virginia Crime and Traffic Law Firm, LLP may provide you with more information, but the following guideline may be helpful.
Hire a Lawyer:
If you already have one or more DUI or DWI convictions.
If you were charged with a DUI or DWI after being involved in an auto accident.
If anyone was hurt or fatally injured in such a crash.
If you drive for a living or otherwise must keep your driver’s license if at all possible.
If a conviction may result in jail time or a substantial fine.
Strongly Consider Hiring a Lawyer:
- If you have a previous arrest anywhere in the country for DUI or DWI.
- If you were charged with driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content that was twice as much as your state’s legal limit.
Not a Bad Idea to Hire a Lawyer:
- If you are unclear about your state’s laws surrounding driving under the influence or the potential consequences of a conviction.
- If your job or career may be negatively impacted by a conviction.
- If losing your driver’s license may negatively impact your lifestyle or career.
- If you would like to minimize the amount of fines you will have to pay.
- If you would like to minimize or eliminate the amount of time you may have to spend in jail if convicted of driving under the influence.
A Lawyer from Virginia Crime and Traffic Law Firm, LLP May Help You
When someone is charged with driving under the influence, a qualified attorney can from Virginia Crime and Traffic Law Firm, LLP could make a great deal of difference in the outcome. During the free initial consultation, your Virginia Crime and Traffic Law Firm, LLP lawyer may assess your situation with all of its unique variables. You can learn what your legal options are and the likelihood of a conviction.
Protect Your Legal Rights
If you have been charged with driving under the influence, contact Virginia Crime and Traffic Law Firm, LLP to speak with a skilled lawyer who may protect your rights.