Loudoun County DUI Enforcement
The following is information you should know if you drive in or around the Loudoun County area regarding DUI charges. If you have already been charged, call and schedule a consultation today with a Loudoun County DUI lawyer to discuss your case and begin building a defense.
What Constitutes DUI in Loudoun County?
Driving under the influence in Loudoun County Virginia is codified at Virginia Code Section 18.2 – 266. In summation it means driving under the influence of alcohol to the point that it impairs your ability to operate the motor vehicle safely.
Driving under the influence of alcohol with a BAC above .08 as registered on an EC/IR II machine or driving under the combination of drug and alcohol typically that impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely or driving under the influence of drugs to the point that it impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely or driving under the influence of a drug under a certain pre-stated level as defined in the statute.
How Are Loudoun County DUI Cases Handled?
DUI cases are an area of focus for the local law enforcement in Loudoun County. The Virginia State Police, The Loudoun County Sherriff’s office, Town of Leesburg Police Department, Town of Purcellville Police Department and the Town of Middleburg Police Department all actively enforce DUI stops.
DUI law enforcement is pursued actively for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is that DUI is a safety law. When DUI accidents occur, and people are injured or fatalities occur, it grabs the public’s attention and raises public awareness.
In addition, there are many grants and conditional funding available for DUI enforcement task forces and special DUI shifts for officers during nights and weekends. This means that the Sherriff’s Office, Virginia State Police and the town police officers can allocate their resources to thwart drunk driving in the area.
Are DUI Cases in Loudoun County Typically Heard by a Judge or Jury?
Loudoun County DUI cases are heard at 18 East Market Street in Leesburg, Virginia. Typically, because DUI first and second offenses are misdemeanors they are heard at the General District Court and are bench trials.
However, if you have an adverse finding in your bench trial in the general district court you have absolute right to appeal that ruling to the circuit court and request a new hearing. In addition, if you are charged with DUI third or subsequent offense it is a felony offense. The general district court cannot find you guilty of a felony.
What Makes Loudoun County DUI Cases Unique?
Every jurisdiction handles DUI cases differently. This means the judges handle the cases differently, The prosecutors may evaluate them differently and even law enforcement may have their own methods of performing Field Sobriety Tests or making DUI stops.
In Loudoun County it is no different. In order to gain full knowledge of Loudoun County DUI defense it is imperative to understand the personalities of the judges, the prosecutors and the individual law enforcement officers that work here.
As a result an experienced local Loudoun County DUI lawyer will devote a large percentage of their practice to DUI defense in Loudoun County and therefore understand the nuances of law in this specific area.
What Loudoun County Officers Look For When Pulling Someone Over For DUI
Loudoun County law enforcement officers look for a variety of different things when evaluating whether or not to make a DUI related stop. Most officers are trained in DUI detection pursuant to guidelines that are given to them at the time of their training at the local criminal justice academies or the state police academies. These training sessions may limit or even follow exactly to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration DUI detection techniques handbook.
In the course of their active role as law enforcement officers each individual officer learns and perfect what they look for prior to making a DUI stop. There are many common indicators that are specifically targeted during these popular DUI time periods and in areas where DUIs are commonly enforced.
These behaviors include driving too slow for the imposed speed limit, failure to maintain one’s lane, failure to stop at a stop line or stop light, failure to turn signals when changing lanes and other distracted driving techniques. Though they are not necessarily linked to DUI speeding and equipment violations also are popular methods in which law enforcement officers pull over for suspected DUI drivers.
Trends Regarding DUI Enforcement in Loudoun County
The significant trend in Loudoun County DUI cases is that the commonwealth attorney’s office is not likely to breakdown or reduce a DUI case in the absence of a strong legal defense. Translated, this means just because you are a person who has never received a criminal charge before or you have other mitigating circumstances does not necessarily mean your DUI case will be broken down in Loudoun County.
When Should You Contact An Attorney For a DUI Case
If you are charged with DUI, you should contact an attorney immediately after your release. If you are not released, but instead held without bond, you should make every effort to contact an attorney as soon as possible in order to have that attorney assist you with a bond motion and other preliminary proceedings.