Virginia DUI Laws Lawyer

Drinking under the influence (DUI) is one of Virginia’s most common criminal offenses. Just because it is common, it doesn’t mean the charges are light. DUI is a misdemeanor, and its penalties include prison time, license suspension, and fines. The prosecutor and the court consider DUI cases to cause the most potential damage to the public, and as such, they make sure that DUI cases are taken very seriously. The Law Offices of SRIS.P.C. have many experienced Virginia DUI lawyers. If you are charged with DUI, contact our office and our lawyers will do their utmost to bring about favorable results for you.

What Are The Steps To Be Taken When Pulled Over For Drunk Driving?

When you are driving a vehicle, if the police come and ask you to pull over and test for drunk driving, you must take this situation very seriously, as a DUI charge is no small matter. Here are the steps to be taken when pulled over for drunk driving:

  • Pull over: When the police ask you to pull over, they already suspect you are driving under the influence or breaking a traffic law because, without reasonable suspicion, they will not ask you to pull over. Just because the police ask you to pull over, don’t do it immediately; slow down your car, turn signal, and pull over to the side of the road when you find a safe place.
  • Abstain from making sudden movements: You must keep your hands on the steering wheel when the police officer approaches you. If you make any sudden movements that might cause the police to feel unsafe, the situation will evolve into a very dangerous one where you might have to put your life on the line. So, keep your hands on the steering wheel until the officer gives further instructions.
  • Be cooperative: When dealing with a police officer, you should be polite and cooperative. If you are uncooperative, the police will use force to arrest and can charge you with resisting arrest.
  • Don’t speak: When the police officer asks for documents like driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance, give the necessary documents to the officer. If the police officer asks you any other questions, you can remain silent. Any answers you provide the officer can and will be used against you in court.
  • Don’t agree to field sobriety tests: If the police ask you to perform field sobriety tests, you can say “No” because, in Virginia, it is not mandatory to agree to field sobriety tests. But if you agree to perform the test and fail them, you will be arrested for DUI.
  • Take notes: As soon as you have the time, take notes on what happened, from before the driving to when you got arrested. These notes will be the basis for you to develop a defense strategy.
  • Hire a lawyer: You should hire a lawyer for dealing with the DUI case. When choosing a lawyer, choose the one with the most experience dealing with DUI cases. Experienced lawyers can find effective ways to reduce the charges.

What Are the Penalties for First and Second DUI Convictions?

The first and second DUI convictions are both misdemeanors with similar penalties, with the main difference being the length of time each punishment is imposed.

  • Fines:
      • The fine for a first DUI conviction is between $250 and $2,500.
      • The fine for a second DUI conviction is a minimum of $500.
      • The court may also require you to pay for property damage if it is proven.
      • The exact amount of the fine will be determined by the court, taking into account factors such as prior DUIs, BAC level, and whether any minors were present during the offense.
  • License Suspension:
      • For a first DUI conviction, your license will be suspended for one year.
      • For a second DUI conviction, your license will be suspended for three years.
      • The length of the suspension will be determined by the court, taking into account factors such as BAC level and the number of prior DUIs.
  • Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP):
      • If you are convicted of DUI, you will be required to complete the Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP).
      • ASAP includes alcohol and drug treatment programs, habitual offender relapse prevention, substance abuse education, and alcohol education programs.
      • Completion of this program is mandatory in order to obtain a restricted license.
  • Imprisonment:
      • The maximum jail sentence for a first DUI conviction is one year.
      • If you have a prior DUI conviction within the past five years, you may be required to serve a minimum of 10 days in jail.
      • If you have two prior DUI convictions within the past five years, you may be required to serve a minimum of 20 days in jail.
  • The actual amount of time you spend in jail will be determined by the court, taking into account factors such as BAC level, property damage, and whether any minors were present during the offense.
  • Insurance Impact:
      • A DUI conviction can have a significant impact on your insurance policies.
      • You may be required to pay higher insurance premiums, or your insurance policy may even be canceled.
      • Insurance companies consider DUI convictions to be high-risk, so it may be difficult to obtain insurance coverage after a DUI conviction.
  • Criminal Record:
      • A DUI conviction will result in a permanent criminal record.
  • This can have serious consequences, such as making it difficult to find a job, get a professional license, or maintain long-term relationships.
  • Driver Improvement Program (DIP):
      • People who are convicted of DUI must complete a driver improvement program.
      • This program will help you to improve your driving behavior and reinforce safe driving practices.
  • SR-22 Insurance:
      • You may be required to obtain SR-22 insurance after a DUI conviction.
  • SR-22 insurance is a certificate that proves that you have met the minimum liability requirements to reinstate your driving license.

What Are the Probable Causes Used by the Police to Arrest People Under the Influence?

In addition to the usual BAC test and field sobriety tests, the police may also look for other probable causes that can be used to arrest people under the influence. These include:

  • Alcohol odor
  • Alcohol bottles in the vehicle
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Alcohol and drug paraphernalia
  • Fumbling while trying to get a hold of things
  • Blabbering a lot

What Are the Mistakes a Police Can Make That May Help With Your Case?

The way the officer pulled your vehicle over and how the officer conducted the roadside investigation that led to your arrest are important evidence in your DUI trial. Some mistakes made by the officer at these locations can help your case. These mistakes include:

    • If a police officer arrests you based on an anonymous phone call, the person who made the call regarding the intoxicated driver must give specific information about the vehicle and the alleged offense. The information obtained must match up with the vehicle stopped by the police.
  • If you were weaving a lot while driving in a single lane, this could be probable cause to stop the vehicle. However, in most situations, the officer will not have probable cause to stop the vehicle based on this situation alone.
  • Conducting a stop with no evidence or probable cause will result in nothing. The officer must have probable cause to stop the vehicle and explain the violation or offense that led to the stop.
  • If law enforcement creates a roadblock to set up DUI checkpoints, roadblocks and checkpoints have specific requirements to follow in order to be legal.

What Are the Long-Term Consequences of a DUI?

In addition to the short-term consequences of a DUI, such as fines, temporary suspension of your driver’s license, and jail time, there are also long-term consequences that you should be aware of. These include:

  • Background checks: When you apply for a job, college financial aid, housing, or other opportunities, your background may be checked. A DUI conviction can make it more difficult to get these things.
    • Driver’s license cancellation: A DUI conviction can lead to the suspension or cancellation of your driver’s license. This can make it difficult to get to work, school, and other important places.
    • Increased vehicle insurance rates: DUI convictions can lead to higher vehicle insurance rates. This is because insurance companies consider people with DUI convictions to be high-risk drivers.
    • Employment problems: A DUI conviction can lead to employment problems. You may lose your job, or you may have difficulty finding a new job.
    • Professional relationships: A DUI conviction can damage your professional relationships. Your co-workers and colleagues may view you differently, and you may be passed over for promotions.
  • Scholarship programs: A DUI conviction can disqualify you from scholarship programs.
  • Personal relationships: A DUI conviction can strain your personal relationships. Your family and friends may worry about you, and they may be less likely to trust you.

What are the mistakes to be avoided in a DUI case?

If you are arrested for a DUI, there are certain mistakes that you should avoid making. These include:

  • Not taking the DUI charges seriously: It is important to take DUI charges seriously, even if you believe that you are innocent.
  • Arguing with the police: Arguing with the police will not help your case.
  • Refusing the BAC test: Refusing the BAC test can result in your driver’s license being automatically suspended.
  • Talking to the police without an attorney present: Anything you say to the police can be used against you in court. It is important to speak to an attorney before talking to the police.
  • Pleading guilty: Pleading guilty to a DUI can have serious consequences. It is important to speak to an attorney before making any decisions about your case.

What are the factors that can make DUI charges worse?

There are certain factors that can make DUI charges worse. These include:

  • Driving with a minor in the car.
  • Driving with a suspended driver’s license.
  • DUI resulting in an accident.
  • High BAC.
  • Driving a commercial vehicle.
  • Prior DUI charges.

Is hiring a Virginia DUI lawyer a good idea?

Yes, hiring a Virginia DUI lawyer is a good idea. A local lawyer will know the prosecutors, judges, and other important people involved in DUI cases. They can help you understand your rights and options, and they can represent you in court. If you decide to fight the charges, the lawyers from The Law Offices of SRIS.P.C. will help you.

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