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Alexandria DUI Lawyer

A DUI can happen to almost anyone. It is a crime that does not distinguish between classes, races. and people. Anyone who has been drinking and driving could possibly get a DUI charge and conviction. It is also the type of crime that could cause so much potential injury within the community. Given that authorities treat drunk driving very harshly, accused individuals should speak with an Alexandria DUI lawyer. A well-practiced attorney could review your case and build your defense.

Defining a DUI by Alexandria Law

A DUI per se occurs when a person is presumed to have driven under the influence with a BAC of .08 or above. While this presumption could be rebutted, it is an immediate presumption that they are immediately reaching into the DUI territory if their breath or their blood alcohol content is above .08.

Even if they do not have a .08 or above, they could be found guilty of a DUI simply if their own behavior indicates that they are not able to drive safely with whatever their alcohol content was or drugs that they were taking. A person could still have a DUI if they were taking prescription drugs, were on some illegal type of drug, or even if they were drinking alcohol and had less than a BAC of .08. The effect on their body is really what the law is looking for. It is that the person is presumed to be under the influence and they could not drive in a safe way. An attorney in Alexandria could help someone pare a defense if they have been charged with a DUI.

How heavily are Alexandria DUI laws enforced?

Drunk driving laws in Alexandria are enforced heavily. It is a serious matter in all states. DUI’s are scary and could injure and kill people. It is much more common among the general populace and not just what lay people consider as the criminal populace. Many US citizens, especially now do not consider themselves criminals since while claiming they do not do drugs, steal, or commit robberies.

It should be noted that anyone who has consumed alcohol and is driving can be charged and possibly convicted of a DUI, regardless of whether they are regular criminals. It is a further-reaching crime because it reaches all layers, all levels, and all people in the city since anyone could have been drinking and anyone who has a license could have been affected by it.

How Drunk Driving Cases are Handled in Courts

Since the court takes DUIs very seriously,  there is no first offender rule if a person is convicted of the offense in Virginia. There is no probation or diversion program. It is a straight conviction in which a person is either a found guilty or not guilty. There is no in-between for the court. As an example, Maryland defendants could get what is called a probation before judgment for DUI where they could essentially wipe the slate clean after doing an alcohol program and some good behavior.

While individuals may need to take the alcohol program in Alexandria, this is required after they are convicted and it is part of their probation for the conviction. Drunk driving is a serious offense. If there is evidence beyond reasonable doubt to find them guilty, they will be found guilty and it will go down as a full Class I misdemeanor conviction.

Since DUIs are handled as Class I misdemeanors, they carry up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. A person could be charged with a first, second, third, and other levels and layers of DUIs. It could be a second DUI within five years or a second drunk driving charge within 10 years. There are also higher penalties depending on the BAC. The higher the BAC, the more likely they would have mandatory jail time. As an example. if a person’s BAC is a .15 to a .20, they are looking at a mandatory minimum of five days in jail if convicted. A lawyer in Alexandria could help someone through the legal process after being charged with a DUI.

Common DUI Stops and Checkpoints in Alexandria

It is not certain that authorities have common stops and checkpoints in Alexandria. It is a pretty small city, and law enforcement is surely populous throughout. While it is unclear that there is one specific place, potential target areas could be in close proximity to restaurants or bars that would be open late at night. They would be patrolling the area more often and in greater numbers. No matter where a person DUI stop occured, an Alexandria attorney could fight for them.

Alexandria Law Enforcement Officials Focus on DUI Offenses

Since they are frightening could cause harm to a large number of people, this is an offense that affects everyone throughout the country. There are organizations that have been put in place to combat drinking and driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is a common one that people see. If the offense occurs and it is not caught before any harm is done, drinking and driving could cause death.

It may cause traffic accidents, bodily injury, and property damage. It kills people who are innocent and have not done any crime at all. A person may be simply driving on the road and could get hit by a drunk driver. It is one of the scarier offenses that can impact the community to a higher and larger degree, especially people who have no reason to be caught up in such criminal activity. Given the potential consequences of a drunk driving allegation in Alexandria, accused individuals should reach out to a skilled defense attorney as soon as possible.

First Time DUI Cases

First-time DUI charges are heard in the General District Court of Alexandria, which is located on the second floor in the courthouse in the City of Alexandria.

As an experienced Alexandria attorney could explain, DUI charges are handled with seriousness, like any other Class I misdemeanor. Courts look at a specific set of circumstances in these cases. This includes whether the case involved a higher BAC, the actual cost of property damage of a vehicle accident, and the cost of harm to another person. That either makes it a normal DUI where the person was caught and pulled over before they could cause any accident or injury, or a non-normal or an abnormal DUI where there is an elevated BAC and there are aggravating factors that could heighten the potential for a safety risk to the community.

Opportunity for Potential Leniency From Judges and Juries

Judges and juries are not lenient in Virginia compared to DC and Maryland, the adjoining jurisdictions. As a local attorney could explain, this is especially true in the City of Alexandria. In Virginia, a first-time offense does not really have probation. While there is supervised probation once they are convicted, there is no probationary time where they could be of good behavior, take classes, and then the charge is dismissed. Typically, the person is convicted of a DUI even if it is their first time if there is proof beyond reasonable doubt. Normally, there will be a conviction that is entered for a first-time DUI and there will be a certain amount of jail time that is imposed.

While most of it, if not all, will be suspended, that would be conditional on certain probationary activities being completed. This could include alcohol and substance abuse counseling, staying of good behavior, having the ignition interlock put in their car, or their license being restricted in another matter. First-time offenses of DUI are very serious and generally carry convictions, suspended jail time, probation requirements, and license requirements. These penalties depend on the BAC or other aggravating factors and a person could face actual jail time in conjunction with the suspended jail time.

Potential Penalties for First Time Drunk Driver

Penalties include a potential of one year or a $2,500 fine, or both. It is very unlikely and very rare for a judge to convict someone of a DUI and then give only a $2,500 fine. Typically, the convictions merit the result of jail time and a fine or suspended jail and a fine. It is very rare when a judge or a jury will give someone convicted of a DUI simply a fine for their behavior. An attorney in Alexandria could help someone mitigate the penalties for drunk driving

Potential Diversion Programs or Probation Options

There really are not options. There is not a diversion where they can do something to reduce their charge or to get it dismissed or entered as Nolle Prosequi which means refusal to continue prosecution. In Virginia, they are either convicted or they are not, and there is no diversion. It is simply the terms and conditions of their probation after their conviction where they would not serve any jail time subject to the completion of those programs and terms like the Virginia alcohol safety and action program also known as ASAP or VASAP.

Impact of a First-Time DUI on an Alexandria License

In Virginia, the license is typically not suspended until after a conviction. However, Virginia’s DMV rules carry different regulations than those spelled out in the Virginia criminal codes. Consequently, a defendant’s license may be suspended upon arrest for a minimum period of days. It should be noted that this depends on the facts as related to the traffic stop and prior criminal and traffic record of each offender.

While a conviction does lead to a license suspension, it could also be restricted. If they are convicted of a first-time DUI, they could get a restricted license upon application to the court. It should be noted that the license is restricted based on the fact that they have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. This has to be done and the person could also be restricted as to where they are able to drive. With the ignition interlock, they may also be restricted to driving only to and from school, to and from work, to and from doctor’s appointments or related activity.

Challenging a DUI License Suspension

It is hard to do that. If there is an actual conviction for DUI, there is a mandatory suspension, so the only way they can challenge the suspension of their license is to challenge the DUI itself, and to have a not guilty finding entered. However, if they are found guilty and if they are convicted, there is a mandatory suspension of their license, but it can be restricted instead of suspended based on application to the court and installation of the ignition interlock device. A lawyer in Alexandria could help someone challenge a license suspension after a DUI.

Applying For Restricted Licenses

After a first DUI, individuals must apply to the court for a restricted license. Typically, this could be done if they have a defense attorney who applies on the same day of their conviction or their plea where they would be convicted. There is a form in the clerk’s office that a defendant must fill out. They must also give the court information related to their address and license number to identify the car that they drive, and reasons for requesting a restricted license.

The court will review that and will determine whether it has merit. If the court believes that it does have merit, it will allow the person to have restricted license for one year. While their license is suspended for a year, but if they apply for the restricted license, a person could get the ignition interlock or get the restricted license based on time and place that they are driving. They may also get both. This does have to be applied for through the clerk’s office, and it does have to be signed by a judge.

Biggest Mistakes to Avoid for First Time DUI Defendants

One of the pieces of advice first-time DUI defendants may receive is to refrain from drinking and driving again while they are waiting for their case. They should not be drinking and driving at all. One of the hardest things that a defense attorney has to deal with is their client getting another DUI or another traffic offense while pending a hearing or trial for a DUI charge. Any subsequent offense that happens will be considered as part of the sentencing for the first DUI.

An attorney will want to have defendants driving clean. They want to have them driving sober and staying above the law. If possible, individuals are recommended to get rides from other people or use public transport while their case is pending.

Benefits of Working With an Alexandria DUI Attorney

While there is nothing unique about DUI cases in Alexandria, the Commonwealth of Virginia tends to have higher rates of conviction and penalties for drunk driving-related offenses from the first offense all the way to continuing and repeat offenses. There usually is a higher likelihood of conviction, jail time, continuing probation, an ignition interlock device, and other penalties for first and subsequent offenses.

Our local attorneys know the Code of Virginia and what the requirements are for proving and defending a DUI, and are familiar with the local players. These players include the local law enforcement agents, judges, prosecutors in the area, and other defense attorneys. They could rely heavily on their local resources at their disposal to put together a better defense, to make communications and phone calls and requests that not every attorney outside of that jurisdiction might know exists or be able to access quickly.

Contact an Alexandria DUI Attorney

Drunk driving attorneys in Alexandria examine all of the circumstances surrounding the stop. They will look for:

  • Any constitutional grounds to challenge the stop
  • The detention of the car
  • The detention of the driver
  • The use of the Standard Field Sobriety Tests
  • Ways to challenge the result and interpretation of the Standard Field Sobriety Tests
  • Ways to challenge the result and interpretation of any blood test or breath test that was done
  • Any constitutional, chemical, or scientific claim
  • Any evidence that could be used against the defendant in a trial
  • The circumstances at the stop itself

An Alexandria DUI lawyer could review all of these scenarios, the players who were involved, and anything that is known about one of the police officers who was on the stop. This could include their credibility or something that may have happened on that day. All of these factors will be examined by a competent criminal defense attorney in Alexandria.

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