Springfield DUI Lawyer
People are charged with DUIs every day – they are arguably the most common criminal charge in the United States. If you have been charged with a DUI, the first thing to do is to take a deep breath and realize that people are charged with DUIs on a regular basis. Remember that a charge of a crime is not the same as a conviction of a crime. In order to be convicted, you must first be found guilty of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Take the DUI charge seriously, as the ramifications of a DUI conviction can have chilling effects for the rest of your life. Since these are serious charges, it is essential that they speak with an experienced criminal attorney.
A conviction can appear on criminal background checks, lead to driver’s license revocation or suspension, place your job at risk by interfering with your work schedule, increase your auto-insurance premiums, and cost thousands in fines and penalties. Before you enter your plea, you should speak with a Springfield DUI lawyer to learn how to make an informed decision about your case from the very beginning. Even first offenses have the potential to carry significant penalties, depending on the circumstances.
Understanding DUI Laws
In Virginia, a driver could be pulled over for a number of reasons, including suspicious behavior, a broken tail light, failure to yield or obey a traffic control device, or a possible DUI. Once the officer appears at a driver’s vehicle, smelling alcohol or another controlled substance could authorize the officer to investigate further. All a law enforcement officer needs to investigate a traffic stop is reasonable suspicion that a Springfeild DUI law has been violated.
An individual may be charged with drunk driving if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) exceeds 0.08, which is the legal limit in Virginia. However, a reading below 0.08 does not let the driver off the hook. Rather, a driver could be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) even for a test below 0.08.
Intoxicated or impaired driving refers to a driver’s poor coordination, response time, or judgment as a result of ingesting alcohol or other controlled substances, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medication, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or substances.
Types of DUI Defenses
There are several ways to defend a DUI charge, depending on the facts and circumstances related to the incident, including:
- Driver Was Not Driving – the prosecution must prove that the driver was actually driving
- False Positives (drinks, mouthwash, cologne, medicines) – something other than a high BAC level triggered a negative reading on the officer’s breathalyzer device
- Inappropriate Field Sobriety Test – the field test was failed due to some reason other than intoxication, including nervousness, misunderstanding, fatigue, or an individual’s natural physical condition
- Physical Condition Interfered with Breathalyzer – the driver’s hypoglycemia, acid reflux, heartburn, allergies, diabetes, or a high protein diet interfered with the breathalyzer reading
- Improper Traffic Stop – the arresting officer did not have reasonable, suspicion to stop the vehicle in the first place (4th Amendment violation)
- Miranda Rights – incriminating statements may be excluded if Miranda warnings were not properly given
- Fraud – although difficult to prove, one might argue that the police officer engaged in an act of fraud to fabricate the charge (very rare)
Working with a Springfield DUI Attorney
If you have been charged with a DUI, contact a local lawyer to discuss your case. Relying on a government-appointed lawyer could be detrimental. Government attorneys often have many clients and cannot devote the time needed to defend your case.
The decisions that you make about your court case can affect the rest of your life, as well as the lives of those you care about. For more information, contact a Springfield DUI attorney to learn more about how to protect your rights.