Fairfax DUI Lawyer
DUI offenses in Fairfax VA are handled under Virginia law §18.2-266, which determines whether it is unlawful for the individual in question to be operating a motor vehicle using various criteria. Officers have the legal authority to stop and detain suspected drivers if they have a valid and articulable reason to believe that they are breaking the law.
Officers can detain suspects if they have probable cause to believe that a crime has actually been committed and they use a combination of observations and field tests administered on-site to obtain probable cause. Thee suspected drivers are subsequently subjected to court hearings where they can choose to hear the judgment or plead their case depending on the evidence available. If you are in such a position, a Fairfax DUI lawyer can help.
When looking at DUI cases, there are numerous considerations, which include the alleged driver’s age, the drug the alleged driver was under the influence of during the arrest, and whether the crime was compounded with other crimes and issues or not.
For instance, a DUI case may easily stand on its own if a driver is simply detained on the side of the road while driving home from work. However, penalties may be considerably more severe if the instance of driving under the influence was noted only after it led to an accident where other people were injured or even killed. The minimum penalty is likely to be administered in the former case while the maximum may be sought in the latter.
Fairfax DUI Test Refusal
A Fairfax DUI attorney will inform you of your right to refuse the breathalyzer test to be administered when you are apprehended. However, under Virginia law, there’s what’s referred to as “implied consent”. If you refuse the test at the station, you will have committed a separate, additional offense and automatic penalties can come along with the offense of unreasonable refusal.
If it is your first offense under this law, your license will be suspended for 1 year also, you won’t face any jail time, and there won’t be any restricted license permitted if you are convicted. If you are arrested for a second offense within the next 10 years, the punishment is increased to a license suspension of 3 years and a minimum sentence of 10 days. For a third offense, the punishment is basically the same as the second, but this comes with an additional 3-year license suspension with a minimum jail sentence of 90 days.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
If you get a DUI in Fairfax Virginia, it is important to know that under Virginia law §18.2-266, the minimum penalty for your first offense is 5 days in jail if your BAC was between .15 and .20 and you had a passenger in the vehicle under 18 years of age. If your BAC was higher than .20, the penalty increases to 10 days in jail. You may also find yourself facing a fine of no less than $250, compulsory enrollment in the state’s Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP), 1-year license suspension, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
For a second offense, you can face a jail term of anywhere between 20 days and 1 year. You may also be fined at least $500, though it might be higher depending on the circumstances. If you had a passenger in the vehicle who was under 18 years of age, it adds 5 days to the minimum jail term and may also increase the fine to $1,000. Your license will also be suspended for 3 years.
The Ignition Interlock Device
Virginia has authorized the use of the Ignition Interlock device, which is used after a second offense under Virginia state law §18.2-266. It is typically used in most situations after committing your first offense if you want a restricted license.
The ignition interlock is a device that’s similar to a regular breathalyzer and can be connected to the vehicle’s dash. If you are using this system, it checks your BAC (Blood Alcohol Contents) before it allows you to start the vehicle. The system records the driver’s actions to reduce fraud and attempts to circumvent stops put in place by the system.
The Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP)
You will probably be required to complete the state’s Alcohol Safety Action Program even if it is your first offense. It is an informational program that teaches about the use and abuse of substances along with the dangers associated with driving while intoxicated. If you refuse to complete the program, you will be found to be in violation of your probation and may face additional jail time, fines, and suspensions.
If you’re facing a DUI charge in Fairfax VA, you can hire a Fairfax DWI lawyer to fight for you and ensure that you receive a fair trial and a favorable verdict too. Get in touch with our office today to schedule a free consultation today with David Deane.
Motor Vehicles: The Definition
A Fairfax DUI lawyer is likely to want to know the type of vehicle you were driving during the arrest. It is particularly important to note that a standard motor vehicle, such as a truck or car is not all that’s considered as such under §18.2-266.
18.2-266 also includes trains and any vehicles that may be said to have an engine such as an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) or even a dirt bike under its definition of a motor vehicle. The law also states specifically that mopeds too are to be held under similar regulations. Users of these smaller vehicles are thus not able to avoid the laws that govern general use of roadways.
Virginia DUI: Sections of the Law
If you examine §18.2-266, you will note that according to §18.2-266 (i), anybody whose Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is greater than 0.08 is presumed to be driving under the influence (of alcohol). A breathalyzer test carried by an officer in his/her vehicle is used to determine the BAC level to obtain probable cause.
The accused has a right to refuse the breathalyzer test to be administered as any Fairfax criminal lawyer will attest. However, an arrest can still be made on suspicion if the accused fails other field tests. The other field tests that may be administered include:
- Answering the questions that are posed
- Looking into a flashlight’s beam
- Following the instructions of the officer
- Walking in a straight line
- Reciting the alphabet
Officers are generally free to administer as many tests as they deem necessary to determine whether the person is under the influence of alcohol. Failing any test may be enough to establish probable cause, which can result in an arrest.
According to §18.2-266 (ii), it is unlawful for an individual to drive under the influence of alcohol, irrespective of the quantity of alcohol consumed. The unlawfulness to drive under the influence is extended in §18.2-266 (iii) to driving under the influence of any drug considered a narcotic, a drug that’s self-administered.
18.2-266 (iii) also states that it is against the law to use a combination of drugs likely to produce similar results, even if one of the drugs on its own would not have been enough to produce the same response. If any of these things are done in Fairfax Virginia, it could result in a DUI and could mean that you have to hire a DUI lawyer to represent your case.