Dinwiddie DUI Lawyer
Driving under the influence is a very serious criminal charge in Dinwiddie. A conviction can lead to mandatory jail time, loss of a person’s driver’s license, thousands of dollars in fines, mandatory probation, and the loss of employment in certain circumstances. For this reason, having an established Dinwiddie DUI attorney is necessary in order to put yourself in the best possible position to dispute the charge, negotiate with the commonwealth, and do what is necessary to mitigate any damages to you.
A DUI is scary because most people charged with DUI do not realize that they are breaking any laws until after they are stopped and being arrested. Furthermore, there is zero tolerance for a DUI in Dinwiddie even on a first offense. A DUI conviction is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a $2,500.00 fine, a suspension of the individual’s driver’s license, and the conviction will be on their record forever. Finally, a DUI conviction is embarrassing and insinuates that a person has a drinking problem, is a risk to themselves and others, and is an irresponsible person. For these reasons, it is important anyone accused of DUI consult with a defense attorney in Dinwiddie as soon as possible.
Elements of a DUI
DUI is an acronym which stands for “Driving Under the Influence”. While most commonly referred to as drunk driving, “under the influence” is not specifically reserved for alcohol. Therefore, an individual that is found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while operating any motor vehicle on a public road or highway in Dinwiddie could be charged with DUI.
Most people do not know that there is no minimum BAC to be charged with a DUI. The state legal limit is 0.08 or higher, and if a person is found to be at that level, they are assumed to be under the influence of alcohol; however, not reaching that level does not preclude a person from being arrested and charged with a DUI. The courts consider the totality of the circumstances in determining whether someone is impaired or not.
DUI checkpoints and roadblocks are not commonly found in Dinwiddie, although, there is always a chance that a stop could occur. Checkpoints and roadblocks are normally set up on one-way streets, highway on-ramps, highway off-ramps, and well-traveled roads around areas that are close to bars and restaurants. Road blocks are normally set on nights, weekends, and holidays because those are the times when the most people are out drinking.
First Offense Penalties
A DUI is a class one misdemeanor which means it carries a penalty of up to twelve months. There is a mandatory minimum fine of $250 and the fine can be as high as $2500. The Virginia Code goes further, specifically outlining additional consequences for a DUI conviction. Under the VA Code, a person is required to attend the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) which is a program that focuses on substance abuse and alcohol treatment. While in the program, they will be monitored by the probation office. Their license will also be suspended for a year with the ability to get a restricted license from the court with the help of a Dinwiddie DUI attorney.
A restricted license gives the opportunity to operate a motor vehicle in a limited capacity while a person’s license is suspended. In order to qualify for a restricted license, the court requires that an ignition interlock system is placed in the vehicle. An interlock system is a breathalyzer requires the driver to blow into a mouthpiece before and during the operation of the vehicle to determine if the driver has been drinking alcohol.
There is a statewide Zero Tolerance Policy for DUI. The Va. Code does not have a first offender program for DUI offenders and there is no diversion or probation only option that exists if convicted of a DUI. Due to the statutorily required penalties, if facing a DUI charge it is important to consult with an experienced Dinwiddie DUI attorney.
Role of a Dinwiddie DUI Lawyer
A local Dinwiddie DUI lawyer is important when handling a DUI case. A local attorney has personal knowledge of the roads, the area, understands the law, and is familiar with the prosecutors and judges in the jurisdiction. This knowledge will allow the attorney to either negotiate a favorable outcome with the commonwealth attorney and if no resolution can be reached pre-trial, a local attorney knows what is likely to happen in court in order to assist you in making the best-informed decision about your case.