Manassas DUI Attorney
A person can be convicted of a DUI in Virginia if their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher pursuant to Virginia Code Section 18.2-266(i). A person charged with a DUI should contact a Manassas DUI attorney as soon as possible in order to start building a defense and avoid the potential penalties.
In order to avoid the offense at all, someone may be wondering how many alcoholic beverages they can consume before reaching the BAC limit. There are so many different factors at play that can influence someone’s BAC levels including tolerance, metabolism, and the amount of food consumed, that it is almost impossible to accurately predict an amount.
However, a good rule of thumb to keep in mind no matter a person’s weight or sex, is that consuming three alcoholic beverages in rapid succession will most likely put someone over the legal blood alcohol limit. Therefore, an individual can probably safely assume that they should not get behind the wheel of a car if they have even two alcoholic beverages in a relatively short span of time. Manassas police officers are trained to detect certain driving behaviors that could indicate a person is under the influence.
Some examples include swerving and weaving in and out of traffic, unnecessary braking, crossing lines, or quickly accelerating or decelerating. These factors as well as moving or mechanical violations, can lead to an officer pulling a driver over for suspected DUI.
Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are typically conducted after being pulled over for suspected DUI. Police officers will perform these tests to determine if the driver is indeed under the influence of alcohol, and can use the results to make an arrest.
Some examples of field sobriety tests include reciting the alphabet, being asked to walk in a straight line, the one-leg stand test, the manner in which a person answers questions the officer may ask, and taking a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT). Even though an officer may imply that the driver needs to submit to these tests, they are not required to do so. A Manassas DUI lawyer will advise that a person is within their rights to respectfully decline. Remember that an officer can use the results from these tests to make an arrest and build a case against you.
Evidential Breath Test
Manassas operates under a concept called “implied consent.” This means that for the privilege of driving, someone automatically consents to a breath or blood test if arrested for suspicion of DUI.
It is a civil violation in Manassas to refuse a breath or blood test when arrested for suspected DUI. If convicted, the penalty is revocation of the individual’s driver’s license for twelve months.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
The first time someone is convicted of DUI in Manassas, they will receive at least a mandatory minimum fine of $250 and have their driver’s license suspended for one year. Depending on the unique circumstances of their case, they could also have an additional fine and active or suspended jail time.
A second conviction will result in a mandatory minimum fine of $500, suspension of driver’s license for three years, and a possible jail sentence up to one year, along with a mandatory minimum period of jail time depending on the time between the first and second convictions.
A third arrest and conviction within a ten-year-period of the prior convictions is considered a felony and carries a mandatory minimum $1,000 fine and indefinite driver’s license revocation. The driver will also receive a mandatory minimum 90 days in jail and a permanent forfeiture of their vehicle. If the offense is within 5 years of the other two, the driver may receive six months of mandatory minimum jail time.
Advantages of a Manassas DUI Lawyer
A driver certainly has the option of representing themselves in a DUI case, however, due to Manassas’s severe penalties for DUI convictions, it is highly recommended that they consult a Manassas DUI lawyer for representation.
An experienced DUI attorney in Manassas can also accomplish things that a layman would not be able to do on their own, such as suppressing evidence, analyzing tests for accuracy, obtaining expert testimony, compelling discovery, and cross-examining officers and witnesses.