Benefits of Hiring a Virginia DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, you can greatly benefit from the counsel of an experienced Virginia DUI attorney. The Commonwealth of Virginia’s law enforcement agencies and prosecutors aggressively prosecute DUI cases.
Without skilled representation to protect your rights, they could be trampled on. Evidence on your behalf might not find its way into court, which could result in a conviction.
Some matters are extremely time-sensitive, such as the initial investigation of the evidence against you. Any administrative actions the Virginia DMV might take against your driver’s license happen almost immediately after you are charged.
Challenging the DUI Stop and Roadside Sobriety Tests
One of the most important benefits of hiring an experienced DUI lawyer is the ability to determine whether a police officer had reasonable suspicion to pull you over and perform field sobriety tests or any subsequent breath or blood tests. The officer must have a valid reason to stop you.
If he cannot show one, the case may be dismissed regardless of what happened after you were stopped. It is also possible that the standard field sobriety tests (SFSTs) administered by the officer were improperly conducted or interpreted, which means your charges could be dismissed.
Other defenses may include:
Determining whether a preliminary breath test (PBT) (with a breathalyzer) was taken, and identify the law enforcement officer who administered the PBT. Is this officer experienced, or has he or she been properly trained to administer PBTs? If not, how many of the officer’s PBTs end up getting thrown out?
Since PBTs form a strong basis for probable cause of the arrest, if this evidence can be successfully challenged, all subsequent blood or urine test evidence and information gathered from a subsequent interrogation is inadmissible, even if you were properly Mirandized.
Obtaining video of the traffic stop. There is a very specific way to secure dash-cam video, from an administrative perspective. It is virtually impossible for non-lawyers to do because there is a specific process that must be followed, especially if what is on the video might help your defense.
Once a copy of the video is secured, it must be viewed with a discerning eye that only seasoned defense lawyers have. Inexperienced attorneys or laymen can miss key subtleties in the video, just because they lack experience.
Presenting alternate theories for the perceived indicators of impairment. There are many situations when people are arrested for DUI that subsequent evidence proves differently. Many people have chronic health problems that prevent them from passing standard field sobriety tests.
Defense lawyers who have experience with these nuances of DUI defense know how to meticulously assemble successful cases for their clients who are not impaired – but still fail SFSTs.
Explaining the possible outcomes of a conviction. Sometimes the “best outcome” begins with you accepting that a conviction could be unavoidable. Then instead of an aggressive trial defense, your case becomes a matter of limiting the damage. This is often hard for a defendant to accept.
But if a conviction at trial is inevitable, your lawyer must shift his or her focus on getting the best deal possible with the prosecution. Inexperienced lawyers who get “out-compromised” end up costing the client, often greatly. A seasoned DUI defense attorney gets the best deals to benefit his or her clients.
Protecting Your Driving Privileges
A good lawyer also helps those who have their driver’s licenses suspended or revoked by getting them reinstated at a DMV administrative hearing. This DMV hearing is a good way for your lawyer to begin questioning evidence for your later trial on the DUI case.