Suffolk DUI Lawyer

Drunk driving offenses, or DUI, are some of the most common criminal charges heard in Suffolk’s criminal courts. Despite their commonality, DUI cases are some of the most defensible crimes in criminal law. This is because while a prosecutor may rely upon many theories to prove their case at trial, a defendant could also rely on many defenses to argue their innocence.

A Suffolk DUI lawyer could help those accused of DUI due to alcohol, drugs, or any combination of the above. A skilled criminal defense attorney work to understand their clients’ goals, to ensure that their clients understand the law as it applies to their case, and to present a defense in court tailored to their specific circumstances.

What does it Mean to Drive Drunk?

Virginia’s DUI statute is contained in VA Code §18.2-266. This law provides five ways that a person can be guilty of DUI. They are:

  • Driving while having a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or above
  • Driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving a vehicle while under the influence of any narcotic drug
  • Driving while under the influence of a combination of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving with a specific concentration of a narcotic drug in the bloodstream

As stated by the law, a person may commit DUI based upon scientific evidence or upon an officer’s observations. For example, all drivers are required to submit to blood or breath tests upon officer request. A failure to submit to these tests is a criminal offense in and of itself.

However, in instances where an officer does not obtain this scientific evidence, a prosecutor will need to rely only upon what the arresting officer observed at the scene. This could include glassy eyes, the smell of alcohol on a driver’s breath, or swerving on the road. No matter the theory that a prosecutor uses to pursue a case, a Suffolk DUI lawyer could help. They could work to question the worthiness of any scientific evidence, to cross-examine the observations of the arresting officer, and to present an alternate version of events that happened at the time of the arrest.

Potential Consequences for a DUI Conviction

A conviction for even a first time DUI is a serious matter. According to VA Code §18.2-270, DUI is a class I misdemeanor meaning that a minimum fine of $250 applies and a court may sentence a guilty defendant to up to one year in jail. If the blood-alcohol content of a defendant is above .15 percent, a mandatory minimum penalty of five days in jail applies.

For subsequent offenders, the mandatory minimum and maximum jail terms increase. Penalties may also increase if a person is injured in the incident or if the defendant has a minor in the car at the time. A knowledgeable attorney could help to explain the potential penalties for a DUI conviction. In addition to a criminal penalty, the law also requires a court to suspend a driver’s license for one year regardless of the severity of criminal punishment. In this way, a DUI may negatively affect a person’s life even after the conclusion of the criminal case.

Reach Out to a Suffolk DUI Attorney

DUI allegations in Virginia are serious matters. Unlike many other jurisdictions, Virginia does not have a diversion program for even first-time offenders. It is essential to be prepared to present a defense in court.

A dedicated Suffolk DUI lawyer could provide this defense. They could help whether a prosecutor’s case depends upon blood-alcohol content, the officer’s observations, or a combination of both. A DUI conviction will label a defendant with a criminal record, could require a term in jail and will cause a lengthy loss of license. Take a step to protect your future. Contact a Suffolk DUI lawyer today.