Chesterfield DUI Lawyer
Virginia treats driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs seriously. If you are facing DUI charges in Chesterfield, you should consult with a qualified local attorney who has experience handling these claims. A Chesterfield DUI lawyer can help you fight the charges by building a strong defense based on the evidence and facts of your case. Below, we have provided some information on DUI laws and procedures used in Chesterfield, Virginia.
DUI Laws and Statistics in Chesterfield, VA
According to annual statistics conducted by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), driving under the influence of alcohol produced the following data for 2013:
- Over 250 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in the Commonwealth
- Almost 5,300 were injured in alcohol-related accidents
- Of those injuries, 400 were teenagers, aged 15–19.
- 10 teenagers, aged 15–19, were killed
- The average Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of all tested drunken drivers was 0.1397
- Almost 27,000 people were tested with a (BAC) of .08 or greater
- Over 21,000 were convicted of DUI
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) [Virginia Criminal Code Section 18.2-266] in and around Chesterfield, Virginia, can be charged when the following is shown:
- The driver’s BAC is a minimum 0.02 for adults.
- The driver is under the influence of any controlled substance.
- The driver is under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol.
Underage DUI suspects can also be convicted of DUI with a BAC of 0.02 [Section 18.2-266.1]. Also, if their BAC is 0.08 or higher, a new Virginia law allows the Commonwealth to subject them to adult penalties. Upon arrest, a suspect’s driver’s license is immediately suspended. That person must appear at a DMV suspension hearing if they hope to receive a restricted license so they can drive until their court date. DUI is a serious crime that calls for the serious representation of a seasoned Chesterfield DUI lawyer
New DUI Penalties in Chesterfield, VA
Suspects arrested for DUI after they’ve been through the process of a traffic stop are immediately taken to the police station. Upon arrival, they will be administered a formal blood chemical test – usually a breathalyzer. They may refuse to take that test, but that will result in immediate driver’s license suspension for a year [Section 18.2-268.3], and they will not be allowed to apply for a restricted license for the entire term of this suspension.
Though the BAC evidence is the foundation of the prosecution’s case, it can be successfully questioned by an experienced Chesterfield DUI lawyer as to the procedures under which it was administered, and the accuracy of the bareathalyzer testing device itself.
In January 2014, new sentencing statutes became effective, influencing DUI convictions and penalties, including:
- The BAC threshold for offenses.
- How prior convictions impact your case, and the number of prior convictions within the past ten years that can impact the penalites in your case
- The presence of minors in the vehicle
A first-time Chesterfield DUI conviction is a class 1 misdemeanor that carries a statutory license suspension for one year, in addition to maximum penalties of a $2,500 fine and 12 months in jail. If you have a prior DUI conviction, the penalties may include a minimum $500 fine, a three-year license suspension, and a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 20 to 40 days. If you have two prior DUI convictions, the penalties may increase to a $1,000 minimum fine, a mandatory minimum six month jail sentence, and your license being suspended indefinitely.
Under the new statutes, underage (under 21) DUI convictions also carry heavier penalties. A first-time DUI conviction in Chesterfield for an underage driver is accompanied by the following penalties:
- A minimum fine of $500
- A license suspension for one year
- 50 hours of community service [Section 18.2-266.1].
It is also a class 4 misdemeanor to drive a motor vehicle with an open container of any alcoholic beverage inside the vehicle [Section 18.2-323.1]. That comes with a maximum fine of $250 and can be added to any fine that might accompany a DUI conviction.
If you are convicted of DUI, your insurance rates will rise sharply, and it’s possible you policy might even be cancelled. And if you are convicted of a second DUI offense, you will have to have an ignition interlock device installed in your before your suspended driver’s license can be returned to you [Section 18.2-270.1]. A Chesterfield DUI lawyer can explain how you can petition for a restricted license in the event that your license is suspended.
Chesterfield Court System
DUI driving cases are heard in the General District Court of Chesterfield County (the 12th Judicial District of Virginia), which is located at 9500 Courthouse Road and Highway 10 in Chesterfield, immediately south of the county airport.
The Court hears these cases Monday through Friday at 8:30 a.m. and Monday through Thursday at 1:00 p.m.
I had a cross warrant served to me for an assault and battery case. Mr. Braswell took the time to explain all my options with having to deal with the allegations. Anytime I called, if he didn't answer at the time I called him, he was very prompt when returning my calls. He was also very professional in demeanor in the court room as well as during our consultations. If I have any more legal issues in the future, I definitely plan on contacting Mr. Braswell.