DUI is a serious crime. If you are arrested, you could face a fine, loss of driving privileges, jail time, and more. If you are pulled over for this crime and arrested for it, it is critical that you fully understand DUI laws to not make the situation worse.
Virginia DUI Laws Explained
In Virginia, you can be convicted of a DUI if you are driving under the influence of alcohol and blow a .08% blood alcohol level, or higher. You can be charged and convicted if you blow under .08% but there is no permissible inference that you are intoxicated if you blow under the legal limit. If you refuse to blow or unable to blow into the ECIR-II machine that Virginia uses, an officer can take you to obtain a blood draw. If you refuse that an officer can obtain a search warrant to draw blood. Keep in mind that this also applies to any drugs whether they be legally prescribed medications or illegal substances. This may mean a prescription drug that can interfere with your ability to safely operate your car, so keep that in mind before consuming any medication that may cause drowsiness or impairment. This does include prescription drugs given to you by your doctor. Some drugs have limits for what can be in your system to drive safely and some drugs lack those specified levels on what is an acceptable amount to be in your system and still be allowed to drive your car.
Like most states, Virginia DUI laws dictate that you will receive a harsher sentence under certain circumstances. If you have a higher blood alcohol level or have been previously convicted of DUI, you can face higher jail and license penalties. A first-time offender can usually avoid jail time if you blow under .14 unless someone is injured or killed in the incident or there are other aggravating circumstances in your case. A judge or jury will decide whether you should serve jail time unless you resolve your case with a plea agreement or win your case at trial. If you are convicted of a third or subsequent offense you can be convicted of a felony.
What to Do if You Are Pulled Over for a DUI in Fairfax, Virginia
If you are pulled over for DUI, there are a few guidelines that you should follow. First, above all else, comply with the officer's requests to provide your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration. Keep your hands where the officer can see them and do not reach for items without telling the officer first. Also, if it is possible, it may be best to gather your documents and have them ready prior to the officer approaching your vehicle. Do not admit to anything or volunteer any unnecessary information, remain polite, and do not argue with the officer.
Also, keep in mind that the officers now have body cameras and/or in-car video, therefore, you should assume that the interaction is being recorded, so make sure you don't say or do anything that could make your situation worse.
Types of Sobriety Tests in Virginia
It is better to remain silent rather than make untrue statements to the police about your alcohol consumption and if you admit to consuming alcohol, drugs, or a combo of both those statements can be used against you. Officers will usually conduct field sobriety tests to determine if you are able to drive safely or if they see signs of impairment that can impact your ability to drive. You are NOT required to do these tests. The standardized field sobriety tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, the one-leg stand (OLS) test, and the walk-and-turn (WAT) test. The officer may also have you recite the alphabet, count backwards, touch your finger to your nose, do a finger touch test, etc.
The final test in Virginia that officers usually ask you to do is to blow into the PBT (preliminary breath test) which is a handheld machine used on the side of the roads when an officer stops someone and suspects the person is impaired. This test is NOT admissible in court unless your attorney is challenging probable cause.
If you are arrested, law enforcement may also request a breath sample on the ECIR-II machine or have a blood sample taken to test for your blood alcohol level.
Speak to a Virginia DUI Attorney as Soon as Possible
If you live in the Fairfax area and are looking for a Fairfax DUI lawyer to help you with your defense, contact the Law Office of Ann Thayer. They have years of experience and knowledge of the latest Virginia DUI laws. Their expertise in DUI law will help ensure that your rights are protected to get the best possible legal outcome. Don't wait to contact an experienced Fairfax DUI lawyer: Call today at 703-552-8110 for a free consultation.