Building a Defense For First Time DUI Charges in Manassas
Due to the potentially serious penalties and long term consequences of a DUI conviction, it is imperative that you put forth the strongest possible defense. The following is information on potential defenses for your case, and the biggest mistakes you should avoid. For more specific information on what to do after a first time DUI charge in Manassas, call and schedule a consultation with a Manassas DUI lawyer today.
Potential Defense in DUI Cases
There are three main categories of DUI defenses at which an attorney will initially look at. The first set of defenses are Constitutional in nature. The most important of these is the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution which in general terms provides the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The courts have interpreted that through the years to mean that you have the right to not be stopped by a police officer unless there is a reasonable, articulable suspicion that some criminal activity is afoot. You also have the right to not be arrested without a warrant unless the officer has probable cause to do so. To assess potential Constitution violations, an attorney will look at the facts surrounding the stop and then the facts surrounding the arrest to determine whether or not we think a judge is going to believe there was a reasonable suspicion for the stop or probable cause for the arrest.
The second set of defenses that we look at are statutory defenses. There are myriad statutes in the Virginia code that deal with DUI including the arrest process, the testing process, and everything else. So an attorney will look at each one of those and make sure that the government proves their case in a way that is in accordance with the statute.
The third and final set of defenses the defense looks at are scientific defenses. There are several different ways the defendant can attack either the blood or the breath test. How we proceed really depends on each case and the facts surrounding the testing process. But as a general rule, people need to understand that just because they get a sheet of paper from the government saying their BAC was 0.08 or higher does not mean that it is necessarily true. It also certainly does not mean that is admissible or believable evidence once we get to trial.
Biggest Mistakes For First Time Defendants to Avoid
The biggest mistake to avoid is number one, not hiring an attorney. Many people have told me they knew they were guilty and there was really no point in hiring a lawyer. Their attitude was that they may as well just go in and take their medicine.
That is a flawed way of looking at it. I have had many cases, way too many to count over the years, where on the surface it appeared as though the person was in fact going to be found guilty. However, when we started trying the case, all of a sudden we find a key piece of evidence the government overlooked or the officer has a memory issue and does not recall enough details to satisfy the judge. Many things might happen. When one considers the severity and long-term impact of the DUI conviction, in my opinion is worth taking every shot you can to try to avoid it.