How a DWI Lawyer Fairfax Families Respect Can Help If You’ve Been Charged
If you have been charged with DWI in Fairfax, VA and want to consult with an experienced lawyer, contact May Law LLP. Virginia’s DWI laws are tough and can result in steep penalties including jail, even for 1st time offenders. In Virginia, in most cases, DWI is a misdemeanor crime that carries penalties up to one year in jail, a one-year license suspension, fines up to $2500, and mandatory probation. However, if you have prior convictions or a BAC of 0.15 or more, there are situations where you might face mandatory jail, longer or even indefinite license suspension, and even felony prosecution. It is not worth the risk to face these kinds of situations without a quality DWI lawyer on your side.
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.
What Is a DUI Hardship License?
After an individual either pleads guilty to a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) or is involuntarily convicted of such a charge, numerous consequences may result. That individual may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment, fines, community service and/or safe driving classes. In many cases, a driver may be referred to drug and/or alcohol treatment. The individual’s vehicle may be outfitted with an ignition interlock device. And in some cases, especially involving individuals who are so-called repeat offenders, an individual’s driver’s license may be temporarily or permanently suspended. These are only some of the reasons why it is so important to connect with a lawyer for DWI in VA immediately after you have been charged with a DWI. Acting quickly can help to preserve your legal options.
Driving while one’s license is suspended is a very risky business. If a motorist is caught driving under these circumstances, the suspension may be made permanent, jail time may be imposed and a host of other consequences could result. For these reasons, it is important to avoid driving if your license has been suspended. With that said, it can be undeniably challenging to honor the terms of a license suspension. Not everyone has easy and reliable access to public transportation. Getting to work, school, doctor appointments, the grocery store and other necessary places can become virtually impossible.
DUI Hardship Licenses – The Basics
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 collective, 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, 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:
- Pull Over: 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 are a criminal offense.
Prior to law enforcement pulling 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.
Legal Guidance Is Available
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.
“I worked with Michael and his office for about 18 months. He was thoughtful, diligent, and always responsive. He’s a great guy to have in your corner. The office staff was helpful and courteous. I appreciated how easy it was to be able to sign document and make payments online. I intend to return to Michael for any future legal needs. ”