Virginia’s statute prohibiting drunk driving uses the phrases “driving under the influence” (DUI) and “driving while intoxicated” (DWI). No matter what language you use, operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol can seriously disrupt your life. At Hunter Law Firm, we defend local residents and visitors to the Hampton Roads area against DUI/DWI charges. From offices in Hampton, Newport News, Chesapeake and Gloucester, our accomplished attorneys challenge police and prosecutors who use improper tactics and misleading evidence in order to obtain a conviction.
Many motorists who are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving are not familiar with the criminal justice system. It is easy to see how someone in this situation can be intimidated into a quick guilty plea, especially if they are told that their test result indicates that they were legally intoxicated. However, a bad test result or the opinion of an officer who has conducted a field sobriety test is not the last word. Sometimes, police stop a car without having a reasonable, articulable suspicion that illegal activity is occurring or make an arrest without probable cause. Our proven Virginia criminal defense lawyers examine each aspect of the law enforcement encounter to assess whether key evidence should be excluded.
When determining whether to file a DUI charge, authorities generally rely on the following three types of tests, all of which have potential problems:
We understand the tactics that police officers use and the mistakes that are frequently made. Before you take their word that the evidence against you is overwhelming, it’s wise to consult with a lawyer who has your best interests in mind.
Though it is not necessary to test over the legal intoxication limit to be charged with DUI, many cases hinge on the result of a breathalyzer or blood test result. For drivers of personal vehicles 21 years of age and older, a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher constitutes legal intoxication. However, there are different standards for other drivers. Motorists under 21 can lose their license and face criminal charges even if their BAC is as low as .02 percent. Commercial vehicle operators also have a tougher rule and cannot drive their truck legally if their BAC is .04 or higher.
In most cases, a first drunk-driving offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries a minimum fine of $250 and a one-year driver’s license revocation. Should the test result indicate a high level of intoxication (.15 percent BAC or higher), there is a minimum penalty of five days in jail. Second offenders might be jailed for up to a year and possibly lose their driving privileges for three years. These motorists must also have an ignition interlock device installed once they are permitted to drive. A third conviction is a Class 6 felony where the penalties include six months to five years in jail, a minimum fine of $1,000, and the potential for lifetime license revocation. No matter what the circumstances are in your case, our firm is committed to minimizing the disruption to your life following a DWI arrest.
Hunter Law Firm represents clients accused of driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs. Contact us online about your case, or call one of our four convenient offices, located in Hampton, Newport News, Chesapeake and Gloucester.