I got a DUI, do I really need a lawyer - Fairfax Virginia

Every DUI cas is different so it is important to have an attorney review your case and advise you all possible defenses that could be raised based on the specific facts of your case. There are many procedures and rules the police are required to follow when investigating and arresting an individual for a DUI. If any of these rules are violated, an attorney may be able to have a case dismissed. For example, Pursuant to 18.2-268.2 the police must have the defendant submit to a blood or breath test, or both, to determine his or her blood alcohol level within three hours arrest. Should the police fail to do this, an attorney may be able to have the defendant's case dismissed by arguing a motion to suppress.

In most cases, an individual charged with a first DUI with a blood alcohol level below .15 is not likely to be sentenced to jail. If found guilty, the defendant is likely to be ordered to complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, given a suspended jail sentence, 12 month loss of license, a fine of no less than $250.00, and court costs. However, if the defendant has an elevated blood alcohol level, that is anything .15 and above, or is facing a second or subsequent DUI, he or she is facing mandatory minimum jail time. Pursuant to Virginia Code Section 18.2-270 the penalties for driving while intoxicated are as follows:

(a) Any person convicted of a first offense shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum fine of $250. If the person's blood alcohol level (i) was at least 0.15, but not more than 0.20, he shall be confined in jail for an additional mandatory minimum period of five days or, (ii) if the level was more than 0.20, for an additional mandatory minimum period of 10 days.

(b) 1. Any person convicted of a second offense committed within less than five years after a prior offense shall be punished by a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and by confinement in jail for a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty days.
2. Any person convicted of a second offense committed within a period of five to 10 years of a prior offense shall upon conviction of the second offense be punished by a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and by confinement in jail for a mandatory minimum sentence of ten days.
3. Upon conviction of a second offense within 10 years of a prior offense, if the person's blood alcohol level (i) was at least 0.15, but not more than 0.20, he shall be confined in jail for an additional mandatory minimum period of 10 days or, (ii) if the level was more than 0.20, for an additional mandatory minimum period of 20 days. In addition, such person shall be fined a mandatory minimum fine of $500.

(c) 1. Any person convicted of three offenses committed within a 10-year period shall upon conviction of the third offense be guilty of a Class 6 felony. The sentence of any person convicted of three offenses committed within a 10-year period shall include a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days, unless the three offenses were committed within a five-year period, in which case the sentence shall include a mandatory minimum sentence of confinement for six months. In addition, such person shall be fined a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.
2. The punishment of any person convicted of a fourth or subsequent offense committed within a 10-year period shall, upon conviction, include a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one year. In addition, such person shall be fined a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.

In addition to these penalties, in any case involving a second or subsequent offense, or an elevated blood alcohol level, the defendant could be required to install an ignition interlock in his or her vehicle for not less than six months. A second or subsequent offense within 10 years also carries the potential for a 3 year loss of license. A third or subsequent offense within 10 years can result in indefinite license revocation.

Due to the harsher penalties that come with a second or subsequent offense, or an elevated blood alcohol level, it is important to have an attorney for these cases who can negotiate a plea deal or have a trial to ensure you get the best results possible in your particular case. However, even those with first offenses who are not facing jail time may want to hire an attorney in an attempt to avoid the misdemeanor conviction that could affect the person’s security clearance or job. In some cases, an attorney may be able to have the charge reduced to a reckless driving or dismissed at trial.



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About Law Office of Nader Hasan

The Law Offices of Nader Hasan, P.C. is a full service law firm providing comprehensive representation in criminal law, family law, personal injury, immigration law, and business law. We are committed to providing excellent customer service to every client through communication, education, compassion, and respect. 

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