A DUI Lawyer Fairfax, VA Trusts Explains What Makes a Crime an Aggravated Crime
There are many crimes in Virginia that can also be charged as aggravated crimes, ranging from assault to sexual abuse. But many people do not really understand what type of elements must be present in order to make a crime an aggravated crime. This knowledge is particularly important if you find yourself facing these types of charges, including DUI charges. If this should happen, a Fairfax, VA DUI lawyer from Dave Albo – Attorney can help you determine what the best defense against these aggravated charges will be.
Each type of crime has different circumstances which could result in the charge becoming aggravated. For example, a person is charged with domestic violence if they commit violence against a spouse, former spouse, a person they are in or were in a dating relationship with, a parent, child, family member, and more. A person can be charged with aggravated domestic violence if the crime was committed against a minor, caused great physical harm to the victim, or involved any kind of sexual assault.
Another reason a criminal charge may be elevated to aggravating is if the individual has repeatedly been charged with the crime. For example, if a person has been charged with drunk driving a few different times, the prosecution may decide to charge the person with aggravated DUI on the third or subsequent time they are charged. It is essential you contact a DUI lawyer in Fairfax VA should you be facing these types of charges.
If there are certain factors that exist in the commission of the crime which makes it more injurious, there is a good chance the individual will be charged with an aggravated offense instead of just the offense. As a DUI lawyer can attest, this means that a conviction could bring a much harsher sentence.
For example, in some jurisdictions, the crime of battery is usually charged as a misdemeanor and a conviction means the offender could serve up to one year in the county jail. However, an aggravated battery is charged as a felony and it can carry up to five years in prison and a very large fine. In most crimes, the aggravating factor is not a component of the original offense. The aggravating factor is something the offender did which made his or her crime more severe and thus deserving of the longer sentence.
There are some aggravated versions of crimes for which there is no chance for probation or any time off for good behavior option. A conviction means the entire sentence must be served. It is not uncommon for defendants facing these types of charges to plead guilty to the lesser version of charges in order to qualify for probation or good behavior time.
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 issue 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.
Why hire a DUI lawyer Fairfax, VA?
Everyone uses a DUI lawyer Fairfax, VA to represent him or her in a 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 crime as a Shoplifting and Assault & Battery. Don’t let a dishonest DUI lawyer Fairfax, Va scare you into hiring him by telling you that you will get the full year in jail or full $2,500 fine. 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 DUI lawyer Fairfax, Va, 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 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 the objections of most DUI lawyer Fairfax, Vas, 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; and
- 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.
Note: Our lawyers practice in Fairfax, and all other counties of Virginia. We have offices in Fairfax, Arlington, and Staunton. We reference Fairfax, Va. in this article because it is the largest jurisdiction in Virginia with the most rigid procedures. Work done to Fairfax standards meets or exceeds the standards in every other jurisdiction in the Commonwealth, so it is common to use it as a benchmark.
As one can see, the punishments are stiff. So, what can a DUI lawyer do for you? Your experienced DUI lawyer 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 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 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 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 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 hand written 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 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 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.
Contact a Fairfax, VA DUI Lawyer Today
A skilled DUI lawyer Fairfax, VA clients recommend 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.