Have you been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Leesburg, Virginia? If so, an experienced Leesburg DUI lawyer can answer all your questions. Your attorney will listen to your side of the story, explain the nature of the charges to you, and help you craft a solid defense. The personal repercussions of a DUI can be highly stressful.
Enlisting the help of a DUI lawyer can alleviate much of the pressure. No matter what the circumstances of your case are, your Virginia DUI attorney will help you navigate the laws and penalties associated with your charge while determining how best to proceed.
Virginia law classifies DUI as a misdemeanor. A conviction carries associated penalties of jail time, fines, and the suspension of your driver’s license. When a police officer pulls you over, he will seek to determine whether you have been drinking based on visual observation and interaction. If there is reasonable cause to suspect that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol, you will be required to submit to either a breath or blood test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC).
If your test results indicate a breath or blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher, you are considered to be legally intoxicated and can be charged with DUI.
An officer who suspects that you are driving under the influence may ask you to submit to a preliminary breath test or a battery of field sobriety tests. These tests are not required and may be refused. Field sobriety tests may not be equally accurate for everyone, since the test results may indicate a false positive based on your weight, age, physical limitations, and other health factors.
Based on the subjectivity of these behavioral measurements, even if you have failed a field sobriety test, your Leesburg DUI lawyer still has several options he or she can pursue in order to reduce the weight of the evidence against you.
Though the majority of DUI offenses involve alcohol, there are often DUI offenses in Virginia that involve drugs or combination of drugs and alcohol. In Leesburg, one of the ways that an officer makes the determination on whether or not to make a DUI drug related offense, also known as DUID, is based upon circumstantial evidence present during the stop. Circumstantial evidence means the odor of drugs such as the odor of marijuana, the odor of PCD or the odor of crack cocaine.
In addition, the presence of drug paraphernalia or other items specific to drug use such as bowls, needles or smoking devices will lead an officer to believe that a DUID may be in progress. Personal behavior consistent with drug use such as lack of attention, nervousness, lack of motor skills or non-responsiveness to questions may lead an officer to believe that drug use rather than alcohol use is present.
Finally the absence of alcohol factors, such as the absence of odor of alcohol when combined with poor performance of field sobriety tests and observational tests may lead an officer to believe that the DUID is at hand and may lead to probable cause for a DUID arrest.
If your DUI charge results in a conviction, the associated penalties carry long-term consequences that risk your ability to get a job, keep a driver’s license, or maintain insurance. The state of Virginia will impose the following penalties based on how many prior convictions you have on your record and how long it has been since any previous offenses:
If you were involved in an accident that resulted in the death of another party as a result of DUI, you could be charged with vehicular manslaughter, which will be charged as a felony. Other factors that may contribute to your penalty include your age, whether there were minors in the vehicle at the time of the offense, whether you were involved in an accident that caused personal injury or property damage, and whether you are found guilty of any additional legal violations.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, a Leesburg DUI lawyer will help you evaluate the circumstances of your case in order to develop the most effective defense strategy. Your Leesburg DUI attorney will ensure that your rights are protected under the law and that the arresting officer did not violate any legal procedures or act out of prejudice.
He or she will also seek to determine whether there are any flaws in the prosecution’s case, file any paperwork or appeals, answer any questions you have about each step of the legal process, and ensure that you receive a fair trial. No matter what your case involves, your attorney will make the trial process less intimidating and will help you determine how you should proceed with your defense.
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