New Kent First Offense DUI Lawyer

A charge of driving under the influence, even if it is a first offense DUI, is very serious in New Kent. Generally speaking, regardless of whether it is a first, second or third offense, DUIs are serious offenses that the government prosecutes fervently. They can be handled differently depending on your blood alcohol content (BAC), your interaction with the officer, if there was an accident, and/or if there were injuries. Consult with an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible to begin building a defense.

Case Process

During a DUI stop, a police officer might ask a person to engage in a field sobriety test or a preliminary breath test. All field sobriety tests are optional, rather than mandatory. Even if a person thinks that they are over the limit or close to the limit, they do not have to consent to the field sobriety tests.

Additionally, the preliminary breath test is generally done on scene, alongside the field sobriety test, and it is also optional.  The preliminary breath test rarely helps, but often hurts one’s case. Accordingly, if a person is propositioned by the officer and asked to take the field sobriety test or the preliminary breath test, it may be to their advantage not to do so.

Lastly, one should not try talk one’s way out of a ticket or out of a DUI. Everyone has the right to remain silent and silence is best in these matters until an attorney can advise.

A first offense DUI in New Kent is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. That means that the general district court has the jurisdiction to hear the case originally. If convicted in general district court, the defendant has an automatic right to appeal the case to the circuit court to have it heard by a different judge and/or a jury. While a case can be heard at both the general district and circuit level, it will originate in the general district court.

A Class 1 Misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to 12 months of jail time and/or a fine as high as $2,500. Typically, an attorney can work to reduce those penalties when it is the defendant’s first DUI offense in New Kent. Or, when the facts allow, an attorney can defend their client in court and seek a not guilty verdict.

Building a Defense

There are three parts to building a defense for a New Kent first offense DUI. The first is the stop, the second is the test, and the third is the level of influence.

Initially, an attorney tries to determine why an individual was stopped by the police and if the traffic stop was constitutional. If the stop is found to be constitutional or if there is no stop, an attorney looks to the second part of a DUI, which is the test. The test refers to field sobriety tests. Attorneys evaluate the way that officers have interacted with the individual to determine whether there was probable cause for an arrest.

At that point, an attorney might call an expert to challenge the field sobriety test. That may include looking at the conditions of the road, the conditions where the field sobriety test was performed, and/or any physical elements or mental hurdles that the individual performing the test was under, such as duress. The attorney would also verify whether instructions were given by the officer and if they were given clearly, along with anything that can be used to challenge the test.

Lastly, an attorney will review the client’s BAC, if there is a BAC, to determine whether there is evidence that she or he was under the influence or intoxicated.  If the BAC is low, between 0.05 or 0.08 or under a 0.05, an attorney will proceed differently than if the BAC is over 0.08.

There are a couple of things New Kent first-time DUI defendants should avoid, most of which can be done prior to the actual arrest. Always avoid drinking and driving. If you are not sure if you are impaired, call a cab, a friend, or an Uber driver. If the police get involved, contact a defense attorney as soon as possible.

New Kent First Offense DUI Lawyer