The Skilled Defense Help You Need When Facing DWI Charges
Drunk driving is one of the most commonly charged crimes in Virginia and anywhere else in the United States. Most common things are thought of as “no big deal,” but as you probably already know, that isn’t the case with a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge. If you were arrested for drunk driving and are now facing serious consequences that are disrupting your life and threatening your freedom, contact The Law Office of Maury & Krol, PLLC. We provide honest and aggressive criminal defense representation designed to protect your rights and resolve your charges as favorably as possible.
DWI Laws And Penalties Are Getting Tougher
In Virginia, the offense for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is called DWI, which is often colloquially referred to as DUI (driving under the influence). The courts are loathe to show leniency with these offenses, and stiff penalties are now mandated by statute, which prevents the judge from reducing the penalty even when mitigating circumstances exist.
The law requires that anyone convicted of DWI is, at minimum, assessed a fine of $250, required to complete the Commission on Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) and deprived of their driving privileges for one year. If the driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) is .15% or more, it is considered elevated and subjects the defendant to mandatory minimum jail time. Subsequent convictions can lead to additional mandatory jail time, and a third offense within a 10-year period can be charged as a felony.
Get The Facts About Your Rights And Responsibilities
Several misconceptions continue to permeate society regarding one’s rights and obligations when detained for suspicion of DWI, which we will dispel below.
You are not required to perform any field sobriety tests. While there can be penalties for refusing to submit to chemical testing under certain circumstances (more on this later), there is no provision of Virginia law that requires a driver to submit to the field sobriety tests typically conducted in a DWI stop.
You are not required to answer the police officer’s questions. This does not mean that you can refuse to identify yourself, but your rights against self-incrimination are not suspended by a DWI stop. It is perfectly appropriate to politely inform the police officer that you would prefer not to answer any additional questions. It is worth noting that the Supreme Court of Virginia has determined that if arrested for DWI, you are not entitled to speak with a lawyer prior to submitting to blood or breath testing.
You do not have to submit to a preliminary breath test (PBT). Under certain circumstances, refusal to blow into the breath testing machine at the police station following an arrest for DWI may result in civil or criminal penalties, including loss of license or even jail time for subsequent offenses. However, there is no requirement that you blow into the portable breath test device the police may offer on the side of the road. While it is true that the results of the PBT are not admissible at trial for the purpose of establishing guilt, they can compromise your case.
Driving on private property: It is still illegal to drive under the influence on private property, but “implied consent” – the doctrine that provides the penalties for refusal – typically will not apply. This is not absolute, but generally speaking, you can’t be charged with refusal unless you have driven on the roads of the commonwealth. This defense does not apply if the officer can affirmatively establish that you were, in fact, driving on the road while intoxicated, even if you were apprehended on private property.
It is worth remembering that it is possible to remain polite and courteous when asserting one’s rights. Rudeness and aggression toward the police is not likely to help the situation, and courtesy is unlikely to aggravate it. Also, as a general rule, trying to litigate your case on the side of the road is a fool’s errand. Most often, it’s preferable to say little and let your lawyer litigate the case in court.
Reach Out Today For Bold And Unwavering Defense Representation
After a DWI arrest, time is not on your side – but we are. Contact The Law Office of Maury & Krol, PLLC, in Richmond to discuss your legal options in a free initial consultation. You can send us an online message or call 804-529-3647.