DUI Lawyer Fairfax, VA
Many of those charged with a DUI use our Fairfax, VA DUI lawyer to represent them in their DUI or DWI case. (Note: In Virginia, a DUI and DWI are the same thing.) It is a Class 1 Misdemeanor crime, a very serious charge. The maximum penalty is up to one year in jail, up to $2,500 in fines, and (at least) 12 months of a license suspension. This is the same level of crime as Shoplifting and Assault & Battery. Don’t let a dishonest attorney scare you into hiring them by telling you that you will get a full year in jail or a full $2,500 fine. In fact, few people get the maximum charge. However, experienced and honest DUI lawyers will tell you that the following punishments are quite common for a first offense:
- Jail: While the odds that you will get a year in jail are very slim in most cases, depending upon whether your driving behavior was dangerous, your blood alcohol level (“BAC level”) was far above the minimum (0.08), and depending upon the Judge or the Prosecutor you get on your Court date, jail is a very real possibility. In fact, for cases with BAC levels over 0.15, jail is mandatory. And even without mandatory jail time, if you go on your own, without a Fairfax DUI lawyer, with the wrong judge and the wrong argument you could receive significant jail time as punishment.
- License Suspension: The mandatory suspension is 1 year. Your DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA should ask the Court to allow you, depending upon the facts, to drive to and from work, school and other categories.
- Ignition Interlock: Recently, over attorney objections, the General Assembly required everyone who is convicted of DUI to get an ignition interlock machine installed in their car, and mandated that the defendants cannot drive without an interlock. (There is a “loophole” in this law for first offenders who don’t want a restricted license. Make sure your DUI lawyer explains that loophole).
- Fines: Usually less than $400.00
- Demerit Points: 6 DMV demerit points
- Insurance: While it is not a legal issue for your DUI lawyer, you should check with your insurance company for how much your rates will increase.
Table Of Contents:
- Consequences of a DUI Conviction
- A DUI Lawyer Fairfax, VA Trusts Explains What Makes a Crime an Aggravated Crime
- Fairfax DUI Law Infographic
- Our Experienced DUI Lawyer Will Investigate Many Paths Of Defense
- Fairfax DUI Law FAQs
- Contact a Fairfax, VA DUI Lawyer Today
Consequences of a DUI Conviction
As a DUI lawyer Fairfax, VA residents trust can confirm, getting convicted of a DUI can dramatically change your life. Let’s take a closer look at some of the consequences of a DUI conviction:
Fewer Employment Opportunities
A DUI lawyer in Fairfax VA has witnessed many people have trouble obtaining employment after a DUI conviction. Many employers conduct background checks these days and may be hesitant to hire someone with a criminal conviction. They may believe someone with a criminal record is untrustworthy and is a threat to other employees and customers. It may be especially difficult to obtain jobs that require driving a vehicle.
Trouble Renting an Apartment
If you have a DUI conviction, it may also be more difficult to rent an apartment, as a DUI lawyer in Fairfax VA locals respect can attest. More and more landlords these days conduct background checks on prospective tenants. They want to ensure the tenant they rent to are law-abiding citizens who will not bring trouble to their property.
Suspended Driver’s License
If you get found guilty of a DUI, a judge will take away your driver’s license for a period of time. As you can imagine, this might make it very difficult to get to work and other important places. You may have to rely on family members and friends to drive you around, which can get tiresome after a while.
Higher Insurance Rates
A DUI conviction can also result in higher car insurance rates. Insurance companies see drivers with DUI convictions as higher risks and may likely charge them a lot more money for insurance premiums. If you get convicted of a DUI, you should expect to pay expensive car insurance premiums for a while.
A DUI lawyer Fairfax VA residents rely on has also seen DUI convictions ruin people’s relationships with their friends and family members. When a person gets convicted of a DUI, friends and family members might start to think differently of him or her. They might lose trust in that person and try to distance themselves away from him or her.
Even if this is your first DUI conviction, you still have a chance of spending up to six months in jail. If you have previous convictions or injured someone while driving drunk, you may have to spend several years in jail. A Fairfax DUI lawyer has seen individuals has seen people lose their jobs and strain their relationships by spending time in jail.
As you can see, getting convicted of a DUI can negatively affect your life in many ways. That is why it may be important to hire a DUI lawyer in Fairfax VA locals to count on to defend you as soon as possible. He or she may build you a strong defense and ensure your rights are protected.
If you are searching for a DUI lawyer Fairfax VA offers, contact Dave Albo today.
Fairfax DUI Law Infographic
Our Experienced DUI Lawyer Will Investigate Many Paths Of Defense
As one can see, the punishments are stiff. So, what can a DUI lawyer do for you? Your experienced DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA will have a first goal — to win your case. In America, the government must prove a criminal case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That means that a DUI lawyer does not have to “prove” anything. The government must prove the case. But a good DUI lawyer doesn’t just sit and do nothing. In addition to making the government prove it, an experienced DUI lawyer will investigate many paths of defense. To name a few:
- Check to see if the stop by the Police was Constitutional. In America, you cannot be stopped for no reason. A DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA will want to make sure that the Police can articulate a reason why you were pulled over. Our firm has won cases where the Police stated, “The Defendant was swerving within his lane.” However, the lane is designed to allow you to use the entire lane. Swerving outside the lane is not legal, but maintaining a path within the lane is totally legal unless the drifting within the lane is excessive.
- A DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA will want to make sure there was Probable Cause for your arrest. The Constitution states that the government must show there is a reason to believe you may have been intoxicated. It is not illegal to consume alcohol and drive. It is only illegal to be intoxicated. The government must show some evidence of intoxication, or the DUI lawyer will get the case dismissed for an Unconstitutional arrest. Recently we won a case because, even though our client had a very high BAC of .17 at the station, he was talking normally without a slur, had good balance, and did not perform any coordination tests (commonly called “Field Sobriety Tests”).
- If your DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA cannot win based upon lack of a reason to stop you or lack of Probable Cause to arrest you, all hope is not lost. The next avenue of attack is on the breath test. (Most cases are done using a breath test. But some involve a blood test.) For breath test cases, your DUI lawyer will want to consult the Division of Forensic Science records to see if the BAC machine used on you was properly certified, reading accurately, and operating properly. An experienced DUI lawyer in Fairfax, Va will obtain the test and certification records from the Diving of Forensic Science on all cases. While it is not common for a machine to malfunction, it does happen. Recently, we found handwritten notes on the certification papers, “Out of Tolerance.” Obviously, if it is out of tolerance, it is not reliable, and if it is not reliable, it is not admissible in Court. As for Blood Tests, the Virginia Code gives an extremely detailed list of requirements. For example, the arm must be cleansed with non-alcohol sterilizers, the vials must be labeled in a certain way and mailed in a certain way, and you have the ability to get your own independent reading done.
- At your trial, an experienced DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA will be able to recognize holes in the Prosecutor’s case. For example, did the Prosecutor prove you were actually driving? If the Police came to the scene of an accident, and he did not actually see you driving, can he prove you were actually driving? Or, if multiple Police Officers were working the case, can the arresting Officer show that he observed you the entire time and did not see you consume any alcohol after driving? Remember the charge is Operating Under the Influence – not being under the influence after one stops operating a car.
The bottom line is that a top DUI lawyer is necessary to win your case. And if, after all his work, your DUI lawyer cannot find a hole in the government’s case to achieve a dismissal, you need a DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA to avoid, or in the case of multiple offenses and high BAC’s minimize, jail and get you a restricted license so you don’t lose your job and will still be able to take care of your family.
Fairfax DUI Law FAQs
Can Police Randomly Stop Drivers?
Police cannot randomly stop drivers. A major defense to Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (“DUI”) is challenging such illegal seizures. A good DUI lawyer, Fairfax Va will always have the concept of this defense in his legal toolkit.
To lawfully seize a motorist, a police officer must have a “reasonable suspicion” based on “articulable facts” that a crime or traffic offense is occurring in his presence. This means he must have more than a hunch, but far less proof than would be necessary to convict for any crime or traffic offense.
I’ve been a DUI lawyer, in Fairfax, VA for over twenty years. (I keep referring to Fairfax, VA because, procedurally, this is Virginia’s toughest jurisdiction). Here are some of the illegal seizures I’ve seen:
- A motorist was pulled over for making a U-turn where a no U-turn sign had previously been posted. (For some reason, it had been removed).
- A motorist was pulled over for driving up and down the interstate a couple of times between nearby exits.
- Police were called to the scene of a crime and saw the vehicle in the vicinity and seized it, but there was no description of the vehicle involved in the crime.
- A motorist weaved a couple of times within his lane over a half mile and the officer seized it.
- A motorist was stopped during a “checkpoint” that was operated improperly.
- A motorist pulled over because he and his passenger were acting “suspiciously” by constantly touching each other.
- A motorist was stopped after he and the officer were in a 7-11 together and the motorist wouldn’t make eye contact and walk away from the officer without buying anything.
In each of those cases, the police lacked the right to seize a motorist. The failure of a police officer to correctly stop a motorist is very powerful. A DUI lawyer, Fairfax Va will argue that anything the police officer learned as a result of the illegal seizure should be suppressed from evidence. This is called the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine. The rationale is that if the “tree” is poisonous (in this analogy, the “tree” is the illegal seizure), the “fruit” is also poisonous. (In this analogy, the “fruit” is the criminal evidence obtained from an illegal seizure). In the context of a DUI, even if a police officer has great proof that a motorist was drunk, he can’t use that proof in court if he learned it only because he made an illegal stop of the motorist. The poisonous tree doctrine is that powerful. (The rationale is that police will not violate the constitutional rights of citizens if they can’t make use of evidence they obtain through such violations).
Upon seeing indicators of an illegal seizure, our Fairfax DUI lawyer will file a Motion to Suppress and argue it before the trial itself. If a judge sustains the motion, the accused defendant wins his case. The law is clear: police cannot randomly stop drivers.
If I get convicted of DUI, what happens after I leave Court?
The goal of any DUI Lawyer Fairfax VA trusts is to win the case. A lot of lawyer websites make you think that they always win. But that is simply not the case. For people who were legitimately stopped by the police (e.g. speeding or improper turn), obviously intoxicated (e.g. totally failed their field sobriety tests), and took the breathalyzer resulting in reading above .08, then unless the attorney can find some kind of glaring problem (e.g. breathalyzer was not serviced or calibrated properly, or the arrest was done outside the police officer’s jurisdiction to name just two of many), people do get convicted. Then, the goal of your Virginia DWI / DUI attorney is to minimize punishment. I often tell my clients that while the Commonwealth of Virginia is looking to punish them, your punishment should not be losing their job or putting them in a position where they cannot take care of their families.
In Virginia, it is rare for the first offender with a blood alcohol level below a .15 (and where the driving behavior did not endanger anyone) to get even one day in jail. For multiple offenders, offenders with blood alcohol levels above .15, or offenders with dangerous driving behavior, jail is likely and in many cases mandated by the Virginia Code.
But there are many other restrictions, classes, and hassles that come with a DUI. Your DUI Lawyer Fairfax VA, should be able to explain all of these to you. Whether your case is in Fairfax or another jurisdiction, all of the following apply:
The Virginia Code requires all people convicted of Virginia DUI / DWI to lose their driver’s license for one year. It can be reissued back to the driver as a restricted license. This restricted license is in the form of a green sheet that lists all the places and hours you can drive. There are specific reasons a person can be allowed to drive. Some of the most common work, during work for work purposes, Court, ASAP, ignition interlock installation and periodic calibration, school, church, and medical appointments. Also allowed is driving for childcare purposes such as daycare, school, and medical appointments. If your hours of work/school, etc. change, you will need to change the hours on your license. You can do it on your own. Just go to court, fill out the driver’s license restricted driving form, and go before the Judge. That way you won’t have to pay a lawyer.
In Court, if convicted, you will need to give your Virginia license to the Court. Between 30 – 60 days after court, you need to go to the DMV and get a plastic license and show them proof of high-risk insurance. This is called SR-22/FR-44 high-risk insurance. Don’t be scared, if your current insurance won’t give it to you, if you shop around you can find it for an affordable price. They will give you a license that has an “R” on it designating it for “restricted” driving. This plastic license AND your green sheet will be your license.
Finally, after one year is up, go to the DMV and pay a reinstatement fee and get your permanent license without the “R” designation for restricted.
A few final things. Every DWI / DUI Lawyer in Fairfax VA should tell everyone who gets convicted of DUI the consequences of violating the rules. That way, if a client gets in trouble and claims ignorance, the lawyer can say, “I know I told you because I tell everyone”: Do not drive in Virginia in violation of the terms of your sentence. If caught, it will be nearly guaranteed that you will go to jail. Secondly, follow all the requirements of ASAP, no matter how dumb or mundane they seem. If you do not, you may likely go to jail.
The goal is to win! But when winning is not possible, hiring an experienced Virginia DWI / DUI attorney is needed to minimize punishments.
Can a minor be convicted of a DUI charge?
If your child is a minor, DUI penalties are even harsher for them than for adults, and they may benefit from you hiring a Fairfax, VA DUI lawyer on their behalf. One of the reasons for why a DUI is even more serious for minors is that they are not legally allowed to purchase or publicly possess alcohol. The prosecutor and judge are likely to come down hard on the minor in an effort to intervene in their current life trajectory of drinking and driving. Though it’s possible the prosecutor and judge may take a lenient stance that the minor made a young person’s mistake and will learn from it, this is not common. Not in today’s world, anyway. The legal system has increasingly taken the growing problem of alcohol and drug addiction seriously, and as a result, frequently issues harsh penalties for minors who DUI. To give your child the best chance for a positive outcome, contact Dave Albo – Attorney now to schedule a free consultation with our DUI lawyer.
What are zero-tolerance laws?
Zero-tolerance laws are in existence in many states in America. These are laws that are intended to punish any minor driver who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of any amount. Adult drivers are permitted to have a certain percentage of alcohol without breaking the law but a minor cannot have any percentage.
Is it common for a minor to be charged with a DUI?
The consumption of alcohol among minors is not uncommon. In fact, one of ten children between 12 and 13 consumes alcohol at least monthly. Throughout their childhood, the child may develop an alcohol addiction. Seventy percent of all teenagers consume alcohol. Hundreds of minors are arrested for DUI every year. Sixty percent of all car accidents that resulted in fatalities for teenagers were caused by a drunk driver. If your child survived a car accident in which they were DUI but someone else was injured or killed, we encourage you to contact our DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA immediately. Without having quality legal representation by their side, they are at risk for being charged with multiple serious crimes and receiving the maximum penalty for each.
Is there anything I can do to help my child reduce their DUI penalties?
Your DUI lawyer from Dave Albo – Attorney can talk to you about this, based on the unique circumstances of your child’s situation. In some cases, a minor can reduce their DUI conviction penalties if they agree to enroll in an alcohol and drug treatment program. Attendance may also be beneficial if they have a dependency issue. That in turn may prevent them from ever putting themselves in the position again of DUI and the resulting penalties.
Contact a Fairfax, VA DUI Lawyer Today
A skilled Fairfax DUI lawyer is able to build a solid defense or negotiate a favorable plea deal, depending on the circumstances of the crime their client is charged with. If you are facing aggravated DUI, or any type of criminal charge, contact Dave Albo – Attorney to find out how our legal team can help.