Fairfax, VA DWI Lawyer
Why Do I Need a DWI Lawyer
A DWI is an expensive and difficult process to get through by yourself, but a DWI lawyer in Fairfax, VA from May Law, LLP can help you sort through your DWI case and get your life back on track.
The impact of a DWI can extend much further than your initial arrest and jail time. If you have a DWI on your record, you might experience greater hardship finding work, applying for loans, and making car insurance payments. While the immediate punishments are hard enough, the long-term impact of a DWI charge can make your life difficult for months and years into the future.
Fortunately, a DWI lawyer from Fairfax, VA can help you avoid any long lasting challenges. An attorney from May Law, LLP can set the record straight about your arrest, and will help you get all the facts you need for your day in court. Read on to learn more about how we can help you protect your future, and understand your options if you’re facing a DWI case. If you’re facing a DWI, don’t settle for anything but the best. Get in touch with May Law, LLP today, and see how a DWI lawyer in Fairfax, VA can help you save your tomorrow.
The Breath Test for Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
Like most states, Virginia uses a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) breath test to determine the level of alcohol impairment. And like most states, that limit in Virginia is 0.08%. But does that mean you will automatically be convicted if your BAC level is 0.08 % or more? Not necessarily.
While it is true that Virginia law is tough against drunk drivers, and Virginia prosecutors take these cases very seriously, a BAC over the legal limit of 0.08% merely creates an inference of guilt. That simply means that other evidence must support the BAC reading in order to rise to the point that one could be convicted of DWI. A DWI lawyer in Fairfax, VA from May Law, LLP understands the interplay between the chemical evidence and other evidence and can use this knowledge to help you in your DWI case.
To be sure, the BAC test is an important piece of evidence for the prosecution, and an experienced lawyer will explore other ways to overcome the weight that Virginia law assigns to that evidence. That could be in the form of a scientific defense based on the manner in which the BAC test was administered, the operation of the BAC machine, or an interpretation of the BAC test results.
Furthermore, the BAC evidence could be excluded altogether if the suspect was stopped by the police without a reasonable suspicion that they were breaking the law, or later arrested without probable cause to believe they were driving under the influence of alcohol. We know that it may come down to an examination of why the suspect came to be stopped by the police and why that officer ultimately decided to arrest that suspect.
Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)
Here we get into the details of a suspect’s performance on roadside Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). This might even include a roadside breath test, which is very different from the formalized breath test one might take at the police station.
There can be other scenarios that might involve a completely different legal analysis, and a Fairfax DWI lawyer will leave no stone unturned in mounting a defense. For example, a driver that has been involved in a traffic accident triggers a different set of legal questions. Likewise, driver who is compelled to submit a blood test as opposed to a breath test brings about a much different set of potential defense arguments. A driver who is stopped pursuant to a DWI sobriety checkpoint might have another strategy altogether.
How a DWI Can Affect Your Job
Getting charged with a DWI is a serious matter and can negatively impact many parts of your life. With a DWI on your plate, you don’t just have to worry about the possibility of going to jail. You also have to worry about how it can affect your job. Many people are not aware just how much a DWI charge can actually impact their careers. A Virginia DWI lawyer in Fairfax at May Law, LLP explains how a drunk driving charge can affect your job:
More Frequent Absences
If you get arrested for a DWI, you may have to spend some time in jail and make multiple court appearances every month. This can force you to miss many days of work. Most employers have a limit on how many days their employees can call off each year. If you call off too much, your employer may choose to terminate you.
Suspended Driver’s License
Many judges will suspend your driver’s license if you get arrested for drunk driving. As you can imagine, this can make it more difficult to get to work, especially if you live in an area without public transportation. You will have to rely on a taxi service or rides from family members or friends. If you have to rely on others for rides to work, you run the risk of being tardy more frequently.
Loss of Professional License
Professional licenses, such as those for doctors and lawyers, require that a person report an arrest to the licensing agency. If you get charged with a DWI, the agency may choose to take your license away. Without a license, you won’t have a job.
Loss of Insurance
Even if the judge decides not to suspend your driver’s license, your insurance company may choose to drop your coverage. If you have a job that involves driving, that is a big deal. The insurance company may even choose to cancel your employer’s insurance if they keep you around. Your employer may have no choice but to terminate you.
Fewer Employment Opportunities
f you ever want to leave your current company and apply for other jobs, you may have trouble. Many employers these days conduct background checks on potential applicants and may be reluctant to hire those with criminal records. This is especially true if the job you are applying for requires driving.
If word gets around your job that you were arrested for a DWI, it can damage your reputation. Your coworkers may see you in a negative light and treat you poorly. When the people you work with do not like you anymore, it can be extremely difficult to go to work every day. You may even be forced to quit.
If you were recently arrested for a DWI, it is important to contact a DWI lawyer in Fairfax, Virginia as soon as possible. He or she can help you build a strong defense to improve your chances of a favorable outcome.
If you are accused of a DWI, not only do you face financial jeopardy, but your freedom itself may be at risk. You should consider hiring us to help safeguard your rights, analyze the evidence of your case, and fight for the best outcome. Call May Law, LLP for a free consultation.
Five Myths About DWIs in Fairfax, Virginia
The best way to avoid a DWI is to never drive after drinking. A better understanding of DWI law in Virginia is helpful as well. Let’s bust some pretty basic myths that seem to persist about DWIs.
Your blood alcohol concentration has to be greater than 0.08% to be arrested.
The legal limit for intoxication in Virginia is 0.08%. This means you can be arrested if your BAC reaches that number, even if you don’t show signs of intoxication. You can be arrested with much lower levels if you are acting impaired. Minors under the age of 21 can be arrested with a BAC of 0.02%
I should refuse to consent to blood alcohol testing if I am arrested for DWI.
Virginia operates under implied consent. When you accepted your driver’s license you consented to blood alcohol testing in the event of a valid arrest. Refusal to submit to the test is an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. It’s true that a positive BAC may make your case more difficult to defend, but your DWI lawyer in Fairfax, VA, is skilled in handling this type of evidence.
I can drive if all I drank was beer or only had a couple of shots.
Blood alcohol varies widely from person to person. Factors that can influence it include your gender, your weight and height, your metabolism, and the number of drinks you had. Any BAC charts with the number of drinks you can have before you go over the limit are only general guidelines. The best thing you can do is not drive after drinking any amount of alcohol.
I must submit to a roadside breath test if I am pulled over for suspicion of DWI.
You can refuse a portable breath test or the Standardized Field Sobriety Test. They are both used to give the officer probable cause for your arrest. You will likely be arrested anyway, but the officers will not have proof of intoxication at the scene. This may help your DWI lawyer in Fairfax, VA if your case goes to court.
I can trick the test if I use mouthwash or breath spray or drink coffee to sober up quickly.
There is no substitute for time. Time is the only thing that can remove alcohol from your system. There is no shortcut, trick, or product you can use to successfully mask or reduce your BAC.
Fairfax DWI Law Infographic
DUI Hardship Licenses
A hardship license allows an individual (whose license is otherwise suspended) limited driving privileges under limited conditions. For example, an individual may be granted permission to drive for reasons directly related to maintaining one’s livelihood and base quality of life. Commuting to work, school, medical appointments, religious services and driving for work-related activities is permissible under such licenses. More limited licenses only allow for driving related to work and school. Nevertheless, obtaining a hardship license can make life significantly easier.
In general, you will need to enroll in DUI/DWI school or some other driving safety course before you will be permitted to obtain a hardship license. You may also have to honor the terms of a waiting period. If you are a repeat offender, have caused serious bodily injury as a result of your driving behavior or have otherwise shown yourself to be a particularly at-risk driver, you will likely not be considered eligible for a hardship license.
What Should I Do If I am Stopped for a DWI?
When you have been stopped by police on suspicion of driving under the influence, your nerves may be heightened and you may feel a strong bout of anxiety. Confusion may follow and hinder your ability to think clearly. Law enforcement officers know this and can use these emotions to their own advantage. By remaining calm and collected, the situation may avoid any type of escalation.
In Virginia, police take DWIs very seriously and remain on the lookout for anyone who appears to be driving while intoxicated. Don’t forget, that if you have been charged with a DWI, it is your right to talk with a lawyer promptly. If you find yourself stopped by police, consider these tips:
In Virginia, you should pull over as soon as possible after law enforcement has signaled the need to do so. Make sure you are safe, away from traffic, and in a lit-up area. If you are not immediately in a location like this, go slowly with your hazard lights to the nearest applicable area. If you fail to do so, you may antagonize the police officer and give them a better reason to ticket or arrest you. Sometimes, an officer might consider this to be fleeing or resisting arrest; both of which is a criminal offenses.
Prior to law enforcement pulls you over, they must have a reason to do so. For example, if you were speeding, failed to signal, or were weaving in and out of lanes, it is enough to pull you over.
Follow the instructions of the Officer:
Once you have been stopped, you should follow the instructions of the officer. Even if you feel upset or as if you did no wrong, be polite and cooperative. Roll down your window completely so the officer can see you and you don’t present yourself in a suspicious way. Give them your license and insurance information, and keep both hands on the wheel. You should also turn off your car.Do keep in mind your rights. As a Virginia DWI lawyer in Fairfax might explain to you, it is your right to not answer when, or if, the officer asks you if you have been drinking or using drugs.
Understand Implied Consent
Most states have implied consent laws. These laws require all drivers to provide a breath test when asked to do so. If you have a driver’s license, insurance, or are using public roads, you agreed to this before you were pulled over. Police also are authorized to draw your blood if they suspect you being under the influence. If you refuse a breath or blood test, you will likely face harsh penalties.
Field sobriety tests are generally not mandated by the laws of implied consent. Furthermore, they are not always reliable, and some are not recognized by medical experts. These tests are not appropriate for people who are obese, are injured, over 65, or have certain medical conditions. It may not be a bad idea to refuse the field sobriety test.
Doing This Could Help You Avoid a DWI Conviction
Driving while intoxicated is a serious matter. If you are charged with drunk driving, you could face serious legal repercussions that affect your record, employment, and driving privileges. With so much at stake, you need the best DWI lawyer Fairfax VA has to offer. The experienced professionals at May Law have the expertise to handle your case with care and increase the likelihood that the case ends in your favor.
If you find yourself facing a DWI charge, the circumstances in your case could yield a number of outcomes. Many of these outcomes carry penalties that are less harsh than a DWI conviction. While this is good news, it is critical that you work with an attorney to have as many options as possible at your disposal.
Fairfax DWI Law FAQs
Arrests for DWI are a fairly common occurrence. May Law is an experienced law firm that can provide a DWI lawyer in Fairfax, VA, at an affordable rate. The first consultation with a defense lawyer is free and can get things started on the right foot. Here are some questions you may want the answers to before going to court if you’ve been arrested for DWI.
Will I Be Fired From My Job?
It’s bad enough to deal with the arrest and upcoming court date, but you may also wonder if you’ll lose your job. Some employers have much stronger requirements than others when it comes to the question of a clean arrest record. Jails publicize arrests to the public and it’s not difficult for your employer to find out. Depending on what you do for a living, finding yourself suspended or fired from work after getting arrested could be a sad reality. While May Law is a DWI lawyer in Fairfax, VA, they also practice employment law and can assist clients whose employer might abruptly terminate them.
Is A Lawyer Really Necessary?
There is nothing to lose by first checking with an attorney. Most lawyers don’t even charge for the initial consultation. Regardless of what friends or even police say, hiring an attorney is NOT an admission of guilt. With so many important things on the line, it’s very smart to speak with a professional who knows the law and May Law is more than willing to help if the charge is in Virginia.
How Soon Can I Expunge My Record?
In the state of Virginia, expungement of any criminal conviction is not allowed. A person who is found guilty by a court of law in Virginia, or pleads guilty or “no contest” to a DWI charge, will have a Class 1 Misdemeanor for life. This makes it even more important to hire a DWI lawyer in Fairfax, VA, to try and fight the charge or plead guilty to a lesser charge. An attorney will review the evidence and work to hold the police accountable for the actions they took during the arrest.
How Long Will My Driving Privileges Be Lost?
Immediately after a DWI arrest, the arresting officer usually informs the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state that you should have your driving privileges reviewed by an administrative council. Typically, this will result in a suspended, revoked, or restricted license. Speak with an attorney if you have questions about your driving privileges, especially if you drive a car or truck to earn a living. Further damage to your driving status and increased insurance rates can occur if you are ultimately convicted.
What About a “Diversion” or Pre-Trial Program?
The state of Virginia does not offer any sort of “diversion” or pre-trial program, even for first-time offenders facing DWI charges. It is important to consult with a DWI lawyer in Fairfax, VA, as soon as possible when facing charges since options are limited when compared with DWI arrests in many other states.
What is considered a DUI?
Driving under the influence (DUI) means that someone is operating a motor vehicle while being impaired by drugs or alcohol. This includes prescription drugs along with illegal or recreational drugs or alcohol. A person must have enough of the substance in their system in which it prevents them from thinking clearly or making good decisions.
There is also a legal limit for how much drugs or alcohol can be in your system before it is considered a DUI. If your blood alcohol content is .08% or higher and you are pulled over by the police, then it is classified as driving under the influence. Unless of course, you are under 21 and then anything over .01% can be called a DUI.
How do police determine if someone is driving under the influence?
A police officer can pull anyone over if they notice any signs of unsafe driving. This includes swerving between lanes, speeding, going extremely slow, driving through stop signs – any behavior that is not following the rules of the road and therefore could injure someone. Police officers can also set up DUI checkpoints in areas that are known for drunk driving or situations where drunk driving could be possible – i.e. after a concert, sporting event, or near the local bars.
The officer will be looking for any signs that the person had been drinking – red eyes, not focusing, slurred speech, and alcohol on their breath. Once there is a suspicion of drunk driving, the police officer has two ways of confirming sobriety: a field test and a chemical test. The field sobriety test is probably something you’ve seen before. It’s where the police officer makes the driver walk in a straight line, stating the alphabet backward, standing on one leg, or touching their finger to their nose. While this may sound simple, these tests are making sure the driver has complete control over their faculties and is in a safe mindset to be driving a car.
The most common chemical test performed is known as a Breathalyzer. This test uses a mathematical formula to analyze the driver’s blood alcohol content based on the amount of alcohol apparent in their breath and is more accurate than the field sobriety test. If the test finds that the driver’s blood alcohol content is over .08%, they will be arrested for drunk driving.
By taking the chemical test, you are giving the police implied consent to run your blood alcohol content and if found above the legal limit can result in you being guilty of drunk driving. While you can technically refuse to take the chemical test, if you are brought to court on a drunk driving charge, not being willing to take the chemical test does not make a very good drunk driving defense.
There can be other legal consequences for not submitting to a chemical test under the laws of Virginia, even if you are later found to be not guilty in criminal court. Contact a Fairfax VA DWI lawyer to find out what other issues you may be facing.
Fairfax DWI Lawyer Statistics
According to the Virginia DMV, in 2019 32% of all traffic fatalities were caused by those driving under the influence. If you are facing a DWI then this can be a life-altering experience and you want to be spared the consequences that come with it. This is why finding the right lawyer to represent you is going to give you the most options to avoid a conviction or lessen the charges against you.
Understanding DWI Penalties in Fairfax County
Navigating the repercussions of a DWI charge in Fairfax County can be overwhelming, especially when facing the possibility of jail time and other significant penalties. At May Law, LLP, our criminal defense lawyers are well-versed in the intricacies of DWI laws and are committed to providing you with the guidance needed to understand the charges against you.
Legal Advice on DWI Consequences
Dealing with the consequences of a high blood alcohol content level requires knowledgeable legal advice. A conviction for a Fairfax DUI can result in mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on your motor vehicle, obtaining a restricted license, or enduring days or even months in jail, particularly if you have a previous offense. Having a dedicated defense attorney is crucial in facing these challenges.
Crafting Your DWI Defense Strategy
The minimum penalty for a DWI often includes a jail sentence, which can increase with the offense’s seriousness, impacting your criminal records for years to come. May Law, LLP focuses on minimizing these potential outcomes by critically assessing every aspect of your case, from the circumstances of your arrest to the methods used to determine your blood alcohol level.
Initial Consultation: Starting Your Defense Journey
Your defense begins with an initial consultation with our seasoned defense lawyers. During this meeting, we’ll discuss the specifics of your case, potential defense strategies, and the steps we can take to protect your future. At May Law, LLP, we are here to offer the legal advice and support you need during this challenging time.
May Law, LLP Fairfax DWI Lawyer
Fairfax DWI Lawyer Google Review
“I am very glad I chose Michael May to represent me. He was very patient, professional and skilled in guiding me through my legal process. He went above and beyond and always made me feel confident in what would happen next.” – Mary C.
Contact May Law, LLP.
We’re ready to provide any information you need to help you beat your DWI charges and get your life back on track. You should never fight a DWI by yourself. Instead, you should rely on accomplished legal professionals that are as committed to your case as you are. While some attorneys view their clients as just another paycheck, we know you’re different, and we know that behind every case there’s a person and a future worth protecting.
If you have recently been arrested on suspicion of DUI/DWI and are concerned about license suspension, or you have already had your license suspended and you are interested in exploring the possibility of securing a hardship license, please consider connecting with our law firm today. No two cases are exactly alike, so it is important not to make assumptions about whether you will or will not qualify for a hardship license. There are situations in which an attorney can help secure these legal tools even when the situation seems particularly bleak.
Consultations are confidential, so there is no harm in reaching out to ask questions and explore your options. A lawyer in Fairfax, VA for DWI cases at May Law, LLP looks forward to speaking with you.
“Highly recommend. It was pleasure working with Michael May. I had called him on a Saturday on an emergency need regarding custody dispute, he was extremely supportive and i am very content with the outcome. He also have a great reputation at the courts which goes along way.”