Occoquan DUI Lawyer
In 2012, prosecutors in the Commonwealth of Virginia successfully convicted 28,719 persons of driving under the influence, or ‘DUI.’ DUI is defined as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicant. Virginia, which has some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the nation, does not make a distinction between ‘DUI’ and ‘DWI.’ Drunken driving regulations apply whether you operate a motor vehicle, boat, or watercraft. Simply having an open container in the vehicle could lead to a DUI charge. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches 0.08 percent or higher, you are considered legally intoxicated, and you can, therefore, be charged with a DUI. Drunk driving or DUI charges are common and everyone is at risk for such charges if they consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel. That one mistake after an office party or after meeting up with friends to watch the big game can trigger lasting consequences, so it’s important that you retain the services of a skilled Occoquan DUI lawyer. Or, our office also handle other criminal cases in Occoquan.
Drinking and Driving Legally
A BAC of less than 0.08 percent, means that there is no presumption that you are intoxicated. A BAC of less than .05 means that you are presumed sober by law. The general rule of thumb of sticking to only one or two alcoholic drinks over the course of a few hours would not likely result in most drivers – at least those of average size and health – operating a vehicle while impaired. Therefore, it is possible for an individual to legally operate a vehicle after minimal alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, many “social” drinkers can find themselves caught up in the gray area between being sober and outright drunk. They may not feel intoxicated, but could technically be over the legal BAC. Most people are not prepared for what follows if the police pull you over and arrest for suspicion of DUI. DUI can be a serious offense, even for a first-time occurrence, therefore it is important to contact an Occoquan DUI attorney if you are cited or charged.
What Follows a DUI Charge
For a first DUI charge in Virginia, if your breath test resulted in higher than 0.08 percent blood alcohol content, or anything above 0.02 percent for a person under age 21, or if you refused to undergo a breath test, the DMV will automatically suspend your driver’s license for seven days. You or your Occoquan DUI attorney may challenge this suspension within the seven day period in order to have your license privileges restored before the seven days have concluded. If you fail to successfully challenge the administrative suspension, you cannot drive during the seven-day period. The clerk’s office at the courthouse will return your license after the expiration of the suspension period. Driving during the seven-day suspension period is another serious, criminal offense and if you are found guilty of doing so, your license will be suspended for an additional period of time and you could potentially suffer jail time and a fine. A skilled Occoquan DUI attorney can help you navigate the process that immediately follows a DUI charge.
Penalties for a DUI Conviction
If the court finds you guilty of a breath test refusal, you will have your driving privileges suspended for one year. If you are convicted of drunken driving in Virginia, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will report a conviction on your driving history for a minimum of 11 years. Depending on your circumstances, you face the following penalties if convicted of a DUI-related offense:
- Fine – minimum $250 to $2,500
- Driver’s license suspension/ revocation – 1 year to indefinite
- Jail time –0 days to five years
- Prosecution as a Class 1 Misdemeanor or Class 6 felony
- Ignition interlock device installed on vehicle(s)
- Possible forfeiture of vehicle
Under Virginia laws, you can receive more severe punishments if you are a multiple offender. For example, anyone arrested for three or more DUI offenses within a five year period will have a very difficult time being released on bond and will likely remain in jail until the trial. An experienced Occoquan DUI lawyer will have experience in successfully defending DUI cases and will work aggressively to fight the charges. If a dismissal of your case or an acquittal is unlikely, a well-qualified DUI defense lawyer will work to negotiate a plea agreement to mitigate any punishment you may face.
Driving Under Suspended License
Once the DMV suspends or revokes your license, you do not have the right to drive under any circumstances unless the court or the DMV grants you restricted driving privileges. If you are found guilty of driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license or outside your restricted driving privileges, the consequences include jail time, a fine, and additional time added to the original suspension period.
If you need to drive for work, school, or any other justifiable reason, consult with an Occoquan DUI lawyer about obtaining a restricted license for use during the suspension period. It’s important to note that you cannot obtain a restricted driver’s license during the suspension period if you have been convicted of an unreasonable refusal of a breath or blood test.
Hiring an Occoquan DUI Attorney
Anyone convicted of driving under the influence in Virginia may undergo a variety of hardships, including public scrutiny. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to avoid those life-changing hardships. Virginia has complex DUI laws that require skilled representation. Our team has many years of experience handling these cases and numerous success stories both in and out of court. Occoquan DUI lawyers also have a strong foundation to draw upon in the local courts. Call our law office today for a free case consultation.