Leesburg DUI Lawyer
Public safety advocacy groups have pushed Virginia lawmakers to impose harsh penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you are arrested in Leesburg for operating a vehicle while impaired, you could face the consequences of these strict laws. However, arrest does not mean that you are guilty of the offense. A Leesburg DUI lawyer will help you to protect your legal rights and take steps to try to avoid a drunk driving conviction.
Drunk Driving Laws in Leesburg Virginia
Virginia Code Section 18.2-266 makes it a crime to operate a vehicle after using any substance that causes impairment including nonprescription and prescription drugs; alcohol; or a combination of drugs and alcohol.
You can be arrested and charged if you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or greater. The law also sets specific permissible limits for the amounts of certain drugs that can be found in your bloodstream, including methamphetamine and cocaine. However, even if your BAC is below .08 or if you have smaller amounts of drugs in your system, a law enforcement officer could charge you if there is reason to believe that you are unable to drive safely due to consuming any impairing substances.
Criminal Penalties for Drunk Driving
If you are found guilty of driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, the potential consequences vary based on whether you’ve ever been in trouble for a similar crime in the past as well as based on how high your BAC was and other specific circumstances unique to your case.
- Code Section 18.2-270 makes a first offense DUI a Class 1 misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2500 fine, though the only mandatory punishment for a first offense with a BAC below .15 is a minimum fine of at least $250 and the suspension of your Virginia driver’s license for a period of twelve months.
- If convicted of having a BAC above .15, you will be required to serve a mandatory minimum of five days in jail. If your BAC exceeds .20 percent, the minimum time you will go to jail is 10 days. Maximum penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor under Code Section 18.2-11 are a year in jail and a fine of $2,500 or a combination thereof.
- A second conviction within five years of the first results in a larger fine of $500 or greater, as well as a minimum jail term of 20 days in jail. If your BAC is at least .15, then you have another 10 days of jail to serve, and if your BAC is above .20, then you’ll have an additional 20 day mandatory minimum sentence.
- If the second conviction is within 5-10 years of the first, then the mandatory minimum jail term is 10 days, unless your BAC exceeds .15. For any second conviction, your license will be suspended for three years. Additionally, you may not be eligible to get a restricted license right away as may occur with a first offense.
- Third and subsequent DUIs rise to the level of a felony making contact with a Leesburg DUI lawyer imperative. For a third DUI within five years, a Class 6 felony charge will result in at least six months in jail. Within 5-10 years, a third DUI conviction will lead to a minimum of 90 days jail time. Your license is also going to be revoked indefinitely.
How a Leesburg DUI Lawyer Can Help
A prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were too impaired to drive safely. Blood test results, breath tests results, officer testimony, field sobriety testing results, and other types of evidence can be used to try to secure a conviction.
Evidence collection is not perfect and there are ways to introduce doubt about whether the tests accurately showed your impairment level. It is common for DUI evidence to end up being obtained as part of an illegal search, which means it cannot be used against you. Field sobriety tests are also prone to problems and are very subjective.
A Leesburg DUI attorney will help you to try to keep evidence from being used if it was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. An attorney will also try to help you to introduce questions about the accuracy and completeness of the prosecutor’s case. To learn more, contact a Leesburg DUI defense attorney today for a free consultation to understand what defenses may be available in your unique set of circumstances, how to prepare for court if charged with driving under the influence, and how legal representation can help you.