Driving under the influence is illegal in all states, but some states have harsher laws than others, as a DWI lawyer in Fairfax, VA can tell you. When you operate a motor vehicle while you are consuming alcohol or drugs, you risk getting into an accident and seriously harming other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. You are not completely focused on the road, and your ability to drive safely is impaired. If a police officer charges you with DUI or DWI, you have several options to choose from. A DWI lawyer in the Fairfax, VA area like one from May Law, LLP can answer questions such as the ones below.
What counts as a DWI?
DUI and DWI laws vary depending on the state. A DUI stands for driving under the influence, while a DWI charge refers to driving while intoxicated. Many states use them interchangeably, but there could be minute differences between the two legal phrases that result in one offense being more serious than the other. However, in Virginia the state treats both types of charges the same way.
What should I do if I’m stopped by the police?
If you are suddenly stopped by police who suspect you of being under the influence, you must be aware of your legal rights and what to do. First, remember to stay calm and carefully listen to the officer so that you can correctly follow their instructions. If they ask you to take a breathalyzer test or field test, you do not have to submit to the test. The tests are optional and you have the right to refuse them, however, bear in mind that refusing a sobriety test can be used against you.
What if I believe that the sobriety test results are wrong?
If you want to contest the results of a sobriety test, you should consult an attorney right away. Sometimes issues such as poor weather conditions during the test or wearing constricting clothes can result in a negative test result for drivers who are charged with DWI. Fighting DWI charges is often difficult, and you need to carefully construct an argument with compelling evidence. A lawyer will determine legal strategies that would most likely garner the results that you want, such as reducing the severity of the charge or having them dropped altogether.
What penalties can I face?
Do not underestimate the penalties of a DUI or DWI charge. The penalties can consist of fines up to a $1000, jail time, probation, and the temporary or permanent loss of your driver’s license. Prosecutors will take into consideration your personal record and driving history when deciding what the penalties for the charge should be. A lawyer can help negotiate a reduced charge so that you are not handed the worst penalties.
A lawyer like one at May Law, LLP understands that figuring out how to best fight a DWI charge can be intimidating. Seek the legal counsel of a DWI lawyer in Fairfax VA if you need help with preparing a defense for a DWI charge.