Since local law enforcement officials in Arlington and throughout Virginia are cracking down on driving under the influence, an Arlington DUI lawyer will have a lot of experience defending these cases.
While these charges can be very common in the area, there are usually a variety of factors that can impact how a case proceeds. Crafting a solid defense for a first-time DUI charge in Arlington requires a lot of considerations from an attorney.
While DUIs are a frequent charge in Arlington, Virginia, defending and prosecuting these types of cases are not always cut and dry. A lot of different factors can influence how a person is charged, and whether or not they are convicted. If they are convicted, there are also a multitude of factors that can influence subsequent penalties.
There are several things to look for when building a DUI defense. The first thing is whether the police had a right to stop your car. The police can only stop your vehicle if they have reasonable, articulable suspicion that you have committed a traffic offense or were driving under the influence.
If they do not have either of those things, then the stop can be suppressed. It means that the stop was done in violation of the constitution and all the evidence that came after that illegal stop is excluded from trial. Essentially your case would be dismissed.
The next step is to see whether there was probable cause to arrest you. Just because you’re legally stopped, it doesn’t mean they can automatically arrest you. They still must have probable cause to believe that you’re driving under the influence.
An Arlington DUI lawyer then checks the field sobriety tests to see how you performed, how you interacted with the police, any evidence that shows that you were not really that intoxicated or impaired at all. And if there’s simply not enough evidence upon which a reasonable police officer would have probable cause to arrest, then the lawyer would move to suppress any evidence that comes after that arrest. Usually that results in dismissal.
If the charges aren’t dismissed at that point, then attack the case in one of two ways. One depends on whether there’s a blood alcohol certificate. If there is a certificate—and if there isn’t the opportunity to suppress the stop or the arrest—then the next step would be to try to show that the certificate of analysis showing that your blood alcohol content was above the legal limit is incorrect. There are various ways to do this.
If there is no blood alcohol content because you refuse to blow, then it would involve arguing that there is not enough evidence to show that you were under the influence of alcohol. Every case is different so having one set technique or game plan isn’t really effective, your attorney should be taking every case on the facts that are presented to them.
The biggest mistake to avoid, particularly for those charged with a first-time DUI, is not taking the charges seriously. These charges are taken very seriously by the court, by the judges, by police officers, and by prosecutors. And if they are taking it seriously, you should too. A second big mistake is to think that you will get leniency because you’ve lived an otherwise crime-free or outstanding life.
When you’re charged with a DUI, it strikes all walks of life: many people who get a DUI have important jobs, security clearances, and have lived otherwise crime-free lives. Leniency should not be expected. You should have an attorney for a DUI case. DUIs are a very nuanced area of the law. There are a lot of technical defenses to it. There are a lot of ramifications to a conviction. You need to be very careful and make sure that you have an attorney to protect your interest.
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