Have you been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs? In Fairfax VA, DUI offenses are handled by Virginia law §18.2-266. The law uses various criteria to determine whether or not it was unlawful for the person in question to have been operating a vehicle. Police officers are legally authorized to stop a suspected driver and detain him or her if they have an articulable and valid reason to think the individual is breaking the law.
Police officers have the legal right to detain a suspect if they have probable cause to assume a crime has been committed. A combination of field tests and observations are conducted on-site to obtain probable cause. Suspected DUI drivers are then sent to a court hearing where they can either plead their case or hear the judgment on the available evidence. If you are faced with this situation, an experienced Fairfax DUI attorney can help you.
There are a number of considerations involved in a DUI case, including the age of the alleged driver, the drugs the person was under the influence of when arrest, and whether or not other crimes compounded the DUI crime.
For example, a DUI might be able to stand on its own easily if a driver was detained by the side of the road as he was driving home from work. But the penalties might be more severe if driving under the influence was only noted after leading to an accident where other individuals were injured or killed. In the first case, the minimum penalty will likely be administered, while the maximum might be sought in the second case.
When apprehended, a Fairfax DUI lawyer will inform you of the right you have to refuse to take the breathalyzer test. However, under Virginia state law, there is “implied consent.” When you refuse to take the test at the police station, then you will have committed an additional and separate offense, and an unreasonable refusal comes with automatic penalties.
If under this law it is your first offense, you will not be faced with any jail time, but your driver’s license will be suspended for one year. If you are convicted, there will not be any restricted license allowed. If over the next year you are arrested on a second offense, your punishment will be increased to a 3-year license suspension and a minimum 10-day jail sentence. The punishment on a third offense is about the same as a second offense, but it comes with a minimum 90-day jail sentence and an additional 3-year driver’s license suspension.
If you are faced with a DUI charge in Fairfax, Virginia, it is very important to understand that the minimum penalty on the first offense under Virginia law §18.2-266 is a 5-day jail sentence with a BAC of .15 to .20 and there was a passenger under 18 years old in the vehicle. The penalty is increased on a higher than .20 BAC to a 10-day jail sentence. You might also be faced with a fine of at least $250, 1-year license suspension, compulsory enrollment in Virginia’s Alcohol Safety Action Program, and you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car.
On a second offense, you will be faced with a jail term ranging from 20 days up to 1 year. You might also be fined $500 or more. If there was a passenger in your car who was younger than 18 years old, another 5 days is added to your minimum jail term. You could also be faced with a 3-year driver’s license suspension and the fine also might be increased to $1,000.
The Fairfax Virginia DUI attorney has authorized using the Ignition Interlock Device. Under Virginia’s §18.2-266 it is used following a second offense. Typically, it used in most situations after a first offense is committed if you want to have a restricted license.
Similar to a breathalyzer, an ignition interlock is a type of device that you connect to the dash of your car. When this system is being used, your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is checked before you are allowed to start your car. The driver’s actions are recorded by the system to reduce fraud as well as attempts to get around stops that the system has put in place.
You will also most likely be required to complete Virginia’s Alcohol Safety Action Program which includes on a first offense DUI charge. This is an information program where you are taught about using and abusing substances as well as the dangers that are associated with driving while you are intoxicated. Refusing to complete this program will result in a violation of your probation, and you might be faced with additional suspensions, fines, and jail time.
If you are faced with a DUI charge in Fairfax, Northern Virginia, you can hire a Fairfax DUI lawyer who will defend your case and make sure you are given a fair trial as well as a favorable verdict. As an experienced Northern Virginia DUI lawyer Jad Sarsour is committed to guiding you through your entire DUI case. Contact our office now to get your free consultation scheduled with Jad Sarsour today.
Your Fairfax DUI attorney is going to want to know what kind of vehicle you were driving when you were arrested. It is especially important to note that it not just standard motor vehicles, like cars and trucks that are considered under §18.2-266.
Also included under §18.2-266 are trains and vehicles that have an engine like ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicles) and some dirt bikes are defined as motor vehicles as well. It is also specifically stated by the law that mopeds are held to similar regulations. Therefore, when those smaller vehicles are being driven, you cannot avoid the laws that govern the use of the roadways in the state.
When you read §18.2-266, note that it is presumed that anyone with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) higher than 0.08 is driving under the influence of alcohol. An officer will conduct a breathalyzer test to determine the individual’s BAC level in order to obtain probable cause.
The person accused of a DUI has the right to refuse to take the breathalyzer test. However, an officer can still make an arrest based on suspicion if the person fails the other field test. Some of the other field tests that might be conducted include the following:
In general, officers are allowed to conduct as many different tests that they believe are necessary to determine whether or not the individual is under the influence of alcohol. If any test is failed it can establish probable cause and that can lead to the person being arrested.
It is unlawful under §18.2-266 (ii) for a person to drive while under the influence of alcohol, no matter how much alcohol the individual has consumed. Section §18.2-266 (iii) extends the unlawfulness for driving under the influence of any drug that is considered to be a narcotic that is self-administered.
It is also stated in §18.2-266 (iii) that it is unlawful to use a combination of drugs where it is likely that similar results will be produced, even if one of the drugs by itself would not have been sufficient to produce the response. When any of those things are done in Fairfax, Northern Virginia it can result in being charged with a DUI and you might need to hire an experienced DUI attorney to handle your case.