The very first step that anyone should do after being charged with a DUI is contact a competent Manassas DUI lawyer to discuss the particulars of their case and to determine what steps, if any, might be helpful in moving forward, in terms of damage control.
For example, if a person already has an alcohol problem, it is frequently a good idea to get into treatment before court. This will not only assist the person in their life in dealing with whatever substance abuse problem or underlying issues that he or she may have, but in the context of a plea discussion, it shows the prosecutor that a person is taking proactive steps to address their issue and to not find themselves in that situation again. An attorney will be able to provide you with guidance for the specific steps that may benefit you.
The alcohol education course, which is administered by VASAP, is required if a person is convicted of any kind of DUI in Virginia. The VASAP office is also the entity, which supervises any ignition interlock device or any restricted driver’s license that is issued in the case of a DUI. The class is for 20 hours and gives individuals significant information on alcohol safety issues. There are also occasions in which drug tests or alcohol tests can be administered; the VASAP officers are, in fact, considered to be law enforcement officers.
In addition to VASAP, there are a number of other alcohol education classes in which a person can get a pre-trial and that are offered by private entities. Most of them are done in conjunction with outpatient treatment of some kind. Other helpful meetings or classes can be anything from Alcoholics Anonymous to something that’s much more intensive like inpatient programs that are offered through INOVA or any number of other organizations that provide these kinds of services.
A person should approach an alcohol education course with an open mind. Even though these courses are time consuming, most people find them to be worthwhile, and it should be kept in mind that in the case of the VASAP program, these classes are required and completing them is almost always a condition of either the suspended sentence and suspended fine. Not showing up to them or leaving early or not following the directions of a VASAP officer can result in a person being in a contempt proceeding where some of the suspended jail sentence can actually be imposed on them and/or their restricted driver’s license might be taken away.
A person should always talk to an attorney before they speak to their own insurance company, if they have been an accident in conjunction with the DUI. That having been said, being in an accident is a unique issue in DUI cases. The defendant has an obligation to comply with and cooperate with their insurance carrier in the course of the carrier’s own investigation. If the person declines to talk to their insurance carrier or if the person is not cooperative in some other way, this can actually cause them to void their coverage such that any damages that arose from that accident will have to be paid out of the accused pocket rather than by the insurance company. Nevertheless, this is still an opportunity for someone to incriminate themselves if it’s not done correctly, so the conversation with the insurance carrier should always be done with an attorney present or subsequently having consulted with an attorney about how to handle that conversation.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to highlight this for the insurance carrier, whether there is potentially a DUI conviction or there is in fact a DUI conviction. Insurance carriers are pretty efficient in collecting that information on their own. However, sometimes, that kind of thing can fall through the cracks. On the off chance that your carrier does not find out about it independently, it’s probably not a good idea to call their attention to it.
A DUI is almost always a difficult and expensive event from an insurance perspective. Insurance companies will frequently drop people from their insurance after a DUI conviction. If they don’t drop a person from the coverage, they will certainly raise the premiums very significantly and this will be something that plays out for at least 10 years while the DUI remains active on the person’s DMV record.
The main thing to know about DUI damage control is that every case is different. There are a lot of different ways that a person is exposed and faces risk in the course of a DUI. The kind of DUI that they’re charged with makes a difference. The particular facts of their case makes a difference and whether there is any damage to others makes a difference. These are all factors that need to be assessed in detail with their attorney. Individuals should not attempt to figure out what damage control they ought to be doing either on their own or from what they read on the internet. It’s really something that should happen in the setting with an attorney who’s delving deep into the particulars of a case.
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