Petersburg DUI Lawyer

Driving under the influence of either alcohol (DWI) or drugs (DUI) in Petersburg, Virginia, is a serious and possibly life-changing offense that can have a detrimental impact on your family and employment. For this reason, individuals facing these charges may want to consider retaining or consulting with a Petersburg DUI lawyer. An experienced defense attorney can assist in building a defense and ensuring that you know what to expect at each step of the legal process.

A Petersburg DUI Attorney Can Help With These Charges

A driver may be charged with driving under the influence if:

  • The driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is equal to or greater than 0.08%
  • The officer believes and reports that the driver seemed to be under the influence of substances to the extent that the ability to control a motor vehicle was impaired
  • The officer believes the driver is under the influence of drugs, and a chemical test comes back positive for certain substances
  • The driver is a minor with alcohol and/or drugs in his or her system (a BAC of 0.02 or great is sufficient)

Upon arrest, a suspect’s driver’s license is immediately suspended, at least until they appear in court to answer the charges. If they wish to request an interim restricted license, suspects must appear before the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A DUI lawyer in Petersburg can help defend you against criminal charges in addition to DMV hearings.DUI Attorney in Petersburg VA

Vehicles are also subject to impoundment for 30 days if a DUI suspect is found to be driving with a suspended driver’s license. They can also be taken and stored at a police lot immediately and for another 90 days upon conviction. During this period, storage fees accumulate, and they must be paid (in addition to the towing charges) when violators arrive at the lot before they can claim their vehicle.

Roadside Tests and Blood Tests in Petersburg, VA

Police officers must have probable cause to stop a suspect. It cannot be done unless there is some sort of driving behavior that leads an officer to reasonably suspect the driver of driving under the influence.

The officer will ask the driver to take a series of roadside Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). Suspects can decline to take these tests, but if they fail any or all of them, the officer will arrest them on suspicion of DUI.

A blood alcohol [Section 18.2-267] or blood chemical [Section 18.2-268.1] test is administered once the suspect arrives at the police station. It is usually taken with a breathalyzer. Suspects may also decline to submit to this test, but they will lose their driver’s license for a year [Section 18.2-268.3]. This statutory suspension prohibits the suspect from requesting a restricted license for their suspension period.

Although BAC tests are strong evidence against suspects, they can be effectively challenged by a seasoned Petersburg DUI attorney. This can happen if the tests weren’t properly administered, the evidence wasn’t properly maintained through the chain of custody, or if it can be proven that the officer did not have probable cause to stop the suspect.

Penalties Depend on the Number of DUI Convictions

Recently, a new sentencing schedule for DUI/DWI became law. The following factors now determine the degree of the penalty:

  • The suspect’s BAC level
  • The number of previous convictions
  • Whether there were any minors in the vehicle when the suspect was arrested.

The penalty for a first-time DUI violation can be up to 12 months in jail. A second (or subsequent) conviction invokes mandatory minimum jail sentences and minimum fines that begin at $500 and could be as high as $1,000.

Those convicted of DUI will be ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle once their license is returned to them. The minimum amount of time that this device must remain on the vehicle is dependent on the BAC at the time of the offense. There is also a new penalty for underage DWI. It is a minimum $500 fine, a one-year license suspension, and 50 hours of community service, making it important that a Petersburg DUI lawyer is consulted. Call today.


Petersburg DUI Lawyer