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Aggressive Defense Against DWI Charges in Virginia

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is crucial to take immediate action to begin building your defense. At Bush & Taylor, P.C., our Suffolk DWI attorneys have over 15 years’ experience aggressively defending those in danger of a criminal conviction.

Our aim is to help protect our clients from a variety of DWI consequences, including:

To discuss your case with our trusted criminal defense lawyers, contact us today.

Virginia DUI and DWI Laws

The terms DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) are often used interchangeably to refer to drunk or drugged driving. Virginia law officially uses DWI.

Those who face a potential DWI conviction include all those who drive or operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Since the law defines a person who operates a car as one who has “actual physical control” of the vehicle, anyone sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys to the ignition can be convicted of a DWI.

Generally, prosecutors seek to prove that a driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs by “per se” laws. These laws establish the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for all motorists.

In Virginia, individuals can be charged with a DWI when they have:

  • A BAC meeting or exceeding 0.08%
  • A blood concentration meeting or exceeding 0.02 milligrams per liter of phencyclidine (PCP)
  • A blood concentration meeting or exceeding 0.02 milligrams per liter of cocaine
  • A blood concentration meeting or exceeding 0.01 milligrams per liter or more of methamphetamine

For drivers who are under the age of 21, it is illegal to drive a vehicle with a BAC of 0.02% or more.

No matter how sober a person may feel when sitting behind the wheel of a car, if their blood concentration exceeds the legal limit, the court presumes impairment. If this is the case, there are still some tactics that a team of skilled criminal defense lawyers can employ to challenge the evidence against you.

Penalties for DUI Convictions in Virginia

If you were caught operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher, you may be facing serious penalties. Typical DUI penalties in Virginia include:

  • Incarceration – the court may sentence a person convicted of DUI to up to twelve months of incarceration. If the person has an elevated blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the arrest, the judge must sentence the individual to incarceration.
  • ASAP – a person convicted of a DUI in Virginia must complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP or VASAP), which consists of twenty-four classes.
  • Fines – a $250.00 fine is imposed.
  • Suspended License – a person convicted of DUI has their license to drive suspended for one year. During that time, they may not drive unless the judge allows a suspended license. A suspended license allows a person to drive in minimal circumstances such as to and from work. Whether or not the judge allows a suspended license is solely up to their discretion. In this circumstance, a person’s attorney makes all the difference.
  • Mandatory Ignition Interlock – if the judge does allow for a suspended license to be issued, he must order that this device be installed to measure the person’s BAC before starting their vehicle. This must be in place for six months.
  • DMV Driving Points – a person convicted of DUI receives minus six driving points on their point total with DMV effectively raising their insurance premium for six years

The penalties can be even more severe if:

  • There was a child in the vehicle at the time
  • The driver has a commercial license and was operating a commercial vehicle
  • The driver refused to submit to breath or blood tests
  • There was an injury
  • There was property damage
  • The driver was under 21 years old

Being convicted of driving while intoxicated is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, which means that it will stay on your criminal record permanently. If this is your second or third conviction, you will be facing even greater penalties that could lead to an indefinite license suspension.

Common Mistakes Made When Charged with DWI in Virginia

Many individuals charged with DWI in Virginia unintentionally exacerbate their situation by making avoidable mistakes. Among the most common are:

  • Admitting Guilt Immediately: Some may try to cooperate with law enforcement by admitting fault, not realizing this can significantly harm their case.
  • Refusing a Breathalyzer Test: While refusing may seem like a way to avoid proving intoxication, Virginia's implied consent laws mean refusal can lead to additional penalties.
  • Not Seeking Legal Representation: Believing they can handle the case themselves, many do not consult a DWI lawyer, overlooking the complexities of DWI laws and potential defenses.
  • Ignoring the Charge: Failing to take the charge seriously or missing court dates can lead to worsened consequences, including automatic license suspension.
  • Talking to Others About the Case: Discussing the case details outside of legal counsel can risk incriminating oneself, as these discussions may not be protected by attorney-client privilege.

Navigating the complexities of a DWI charge in Virginia requires knowledgeable guidance and a strategic defense. A Suffolk DWI lawyer specializes in scrutinizing every aspect of a client's case, from the initial traffic stop to the administration of a breathalyzer test, to identify any procedural errors or legal defenses that can be used in their favor. They understand the nuances of Virginia's DWI laws and can challenge the evidence presented, negotiate lesser penalties, or even achieve a case dismissal. By providing expert legal advice, handling negotiations with the prosecution, and offering a robust defense in court, DWI lawyers play a crucial role in helping clients avoid the common pitfalls associated with DWI charges, ensuring the best possible outcome for their case.

Contact Our Suffolk DWI Lawyer Today

Our highly skilled DWI attorneys Suffolk stand ready to fight against your charges. We know how important it is for you to be able to drive, and we want to help you avoid losing your license.

Contact our Suffolk DUI Defense Team at (757) 926-0078 today to schedule an initial consultation. No consultation fee!

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