Being stopped and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia can be devastating. Whether you are a first-time or subsequent offender, you should know that you are at serious risk of losing your driver’s license for quite some time, not to mention facing hefty fines and the possibility of jail time. If you are stopped for a DUI, you need to know what to do (and what not to do). The following includes helpful information if you are stopped on suspicion of a DUI and if you are charged with a DUI offense.
You Can Be Charged with a DUI Regardless of Whether You Have a BAC Above the Legal Limits
Under Virginia’s DUI law, you can face charges if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, but you should also know that you can face DUI charges even if your BAC is under that legal limit and you exhibit signs of impairment. To be clear, you do not have to have a 0.08 percent BAC or higher to lawfully face DUI charges.
You Can Face Charges for a DUI If You Have an Open Container and Show Any Signs of Intoxication
As the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles explains, Virginia is extremely tough on drunk drivers. Indeed, you can face DUI charges if you are stopped by the police and show any signs of intoxication coupled with an open container in your vehicle that is within reach of the driver’s seat.
By Driving in Virginia, You Give Implied Consent to a Breath Test
Under Virginia’s implied consent law, simply by driving in the state, you are impliedly giving consent to have your breath tested for your BAC. You should never refuse a breath test because doing so has serious consequences. To be sure, if you violate Virginia’s implied consent law and refuse a breath test, you will automatically have your driver’s license suspended for one year. If it is your second time refusing a breath or blood test, you will face Class 1 misdemeanor charges and will have your driver’s license suspended for three years.
You Have Rights When You Are Stopped on Suspicion of a DUI
When you are stopped for a DUI, you should know that you do have rights under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. To lawfully stop you, the police must have reasonable suspicion. To lawfully search your vehicle or to perform a breath or blood test (also a type of “search”), the police must have probable cause. In addition, if you are arrested for a DUI, you must be read your Miranda rights and be informed of your right to an attorney.
You Will Face at Minimum a One-Year Driver’s License Suspension Upon Conviction Even If You Are a First-Time Offender
It is extremely important to do everything you can to beat the charges against you since even a first-time offender who is convicted of a DUI will face a minimum one-year driver’s license suspension in addition to other penalties.
Various Defense Strategies May Be Available in Your Case
There are various defense strategies for DUI cases, and one or more may be applicable to your case. You should always seek advice from an aggressive and experienced DUI defense attorney who can develop a defense strategy that fits the facts of your case.
How a Virginia DUI Defense Lawyer Can Help
If you have been charged with a DUI in Virginia, it is important to take the charges very seriously and to begin working with a Manassas DUI defense lawyer on your defense strategy as soon as possible. Our dedicated Virginia criminal defense attorneys will assess the facts of your case and will tailor a defense strategy to the particular circumstances surrounding your arrest. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our aggressive team to begin the work of beating the charges you are facing. Contact Dougherty Tobias Iszard, Northern Virginia Law, P.C. to learn more about the DUI defense services we provide to clients in Virginia.