In some states, the charges of DUI and DWI might represent different laws altogether. In other circumstances, the terms might be used interchangeably. In Virginia, the terms DUI and DWI are just two of several different theories of impaired driving that fall under one single law. Virginia Code §18.2-266. If you or someone you care about find themselves charged under this law, contact May Law LLP in Fairfax VA and speak to a top DUI lawyer Fairfax VA.
If you are arrested for drunk driving, Virginia law creates an obligation that you submit to a chemical analysis under the law of Implied Consent. Virginia Code §18.2-268.2. Typically, that is in the form of a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) breath test. Virginia law then applies an inference of alcohol impairment at a BAC level of 0.08% or more. Virginia Code §18.2-269. This type of a case would generally be referred to as DWI. The prosecution’s case would rest largely on the BAC number itself and a conviction would rely heavily on the weight given by the inference of impairment within the law. A DUI lawyer Fairfax VA understands the law related to this chemical evidence and can use that knowledge to help you mount a defense.
But what about a situation where a suspect is physically unable to submit to a BAC test or perhaps refuses to submit to such a test after arrest? In many cases this results in a secondary allegation called Refusal to Submit to Chemical Analysis. Virginia Code §18.2-268.3. Even if you are unable or unwilling to submit to the test, the prosecution can still pursue a drunk driving conviction under Virginia Code §18.2-266(ii). This is what is commonly referred to in Virginia as DUI. Here, the court would consider a full range of evidence – including driving behavior, interaction with police, admissions, roadside field sobriety tests – to determine whether an accused was impaired by alcohol. As opposed to a straight DWI prosecution based on a BAC level, evidence in a DUI prosecution is subjective by nature, far more nuanced, and lends itself to skillful argument. An experienced DUI lawyer Fairfax VA can help you navigate these complexities, analyze possible issues, create a strong trial strategy, and get the best result possible.
This version of drunk driving in Virginia is no more or less serious that DWI. Both are Class 1 misdemeanors and carry the same potential punishment. For first time offenders that means fines up to $2,500, up to one year in the county jail, 12 months suspension of driver’s license, and one year of ASAP probation. There are situations where the punishment can even be more severe -for example, where there is evidence of a BAC level of 0.15% or more, or a record of prior drunk driving conviction. In these situations, a good DUI lawyer Fairfax VA may be able to attack validity of the BAC results depending upon a variety of factors. A lower BAC impacts fines, jail time and other aspects of the case.
A top DUI lawyer Fairfax VA understands the ramification a DUI conviction can have on your career and on your family. We have the experience and expertise to help you with the complex and specialized issues related to DUI law. We will work with you through every step of the process from information gathering, analyzing evidence, building a strong defense, plea bargain negotiation, and fighting for you at trial. If you are in need of a trusted DUI lawyer Fairfax VA, contact us at May Law LLP and arrange a free consultation.