In a standard DUI traffic stop, a number of imperfect tests are employed to determine whether a person is intoxicated. Although the tests are deemed generally accurate, it is still possible for a person to be wrongfully accused of this driving-related crime. If you have made an unwise choice or are accused of having made one, an experienced and knowledgeable Richmond criminal attorney can help you through the ordeal.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has passed and currently enforces powerful DUI laws. There are many reasons one might be accused of drunk driving, including mistaken arrest and inaccurate assessment of intoxication. Regardless of the reason, contacting a DUI lawyer in Virginia is an important first step to getting back on the road and minimizing the impact of the charges.
It is important to note that, under Virginia law, DUI encompasses not just alcohol but any type of impairing drug. If you were impaired by any drug to the extent that it interfered with driving safety, you can be charged with a DUI (Section 18.2-266). The most well-known DUI limit is a blood alcohol content of 0.08. If you have been drinking, you cannot trust your judgment of your sobriety level.
If it is over 0.08, it is assumed they were. If their BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08, that fact by itself neither proves nor disproves DUI, but it can be used in addition to other evidence to help build a case against the accused (Section 18.2-269.)
A first-time DUI charge is a misdemeanor. If you are convicted, you face up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Prior convictions for driving under the influence and extremely high blood alcohol levels both contribute to more severe penalties. For example, a BAC of 0.15 to 0.20 adds a mandatory five-day jail sentence. A BAC of over 0.20 carries a 10-day mandatory jail sentence.
DUI penalties increase in Virginia, up to the fourth offense in 10 years. A third or fourth DUI offense within 10 years is a felony. A fourth offense within a 10-year period carries a mandatory minimum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. You may also face up to five years in jail making it important a criminal lawyer in Richmond is contacted.
In addition to fines and jail time, you can face administrative penalties, including:
Just as with the other penalties, these become more severe with prior convictions, the most severe consequence being indefinite license suspension.
License suspension can be one of the most stressful parts of a DUI conviction, but you have options in the face of this. If your license is suspended, and it is your first DUI offense, you have the option to petition the court for a restricted license. This is a type of license that allows you to drive under certain conditions, such as:
It is important to note that a Richmond DUI lawyer can help you to make an effective case for why the court should grant a restricted license.
Additionally, getting convicted for a DUI may lead to penalties and increased fees from your insurance company. These are long-term consequences and can be difficult to face since it would require switching insurance companies to avoid those hikes. However, if a lawyer can help can the charges against you dropped or dismissed, there will be less likely of a chance you will face those fees.
A dedicated Richmond DUI attorney has a deep understanding of Virginia DUI laws and can turn a DUI accusation from an overwhelming ordeal to a manageable difficulty. He or she will be able to help you by:
Facing a criminal charge of any sort is never easy. There are many factors to consider and it’s not uncommon for people to become flustered or confused about their next steps after arrest, especially if they’ve never faced criminal charges before. They may be uncertain about how they may retrieve their vehicle, and what to expect when doing so. It is important to understand that you don’t have to go through the process alone. An attorney will be your advocate and will guide you through the process.
Contact us today for a free consultation. The stress and inconvenience of a DUI charge are serious, and a Richmond DUI lawyer can craft a serious defense to help you put the experience behind you.
Do not send us confidential information related to you or your company until you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us.