Prince William County DUI Lawyer

Virginia law provides severe penalties for those who drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although first-time offenders can experience surprising repercussions from a DUI conviction, the penalties for repeat offenders are even harsher. If you or a loved one is charged with DUI charges, consider contacting a Prince William County DUI lawyer for legal assistance.

While you may feel that DUI charges will ruin the rest of your life, that is far from certain. Various defenses may be available to you in a DUI case. A criminal defense lawyer may be helpful in guiding you through the complicated criminal justice system and finding a positive resolution to your charges.

DUI Charges in Prince William County

Driving under the influence, also known as driving while intoxicated, is a common criminal charge in the Commonwealth of Virginia. No one is immune from DUI charges; persons from all walks of life and various professions can end up charged with DUI. Anyone who is facing DUI charges might benefit from the services of a DUI lawyer in Prince William County.

Va. Code § 18.2-266 prohibits individuals from driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated, whether it is due to alcohol or drugs. To prove that a driver is intoxicated, the prosecution must show one of the following:

  • The driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more
  • The driver has consumed alcohol or drugs to the extent that the ability to drive safely is compromised, or
  • The driver has a specific blood concentration of some controlled substances, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, or phencyclidine.

There is a separate code section that sets forth the DUI offense for drivers who are under the age of 21 and not legally permitted to drink alcohol. According to Va. Code § 18.2-266.1, drivers under age 21 who have a BAC measuring 0.02 percent or more violate the law. This is a much lower standard than the 0.08 percent BAC required for adults over the age of 21 to be guilty of DUI based on BAC.

Potential Penalties for a DUI Conviction

Va. Code §18.2-270 provides that a first DUI offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a mandatory minimum fine of $250 but no mandatory minimum jail sentence. Nonetheless, for a first offense in which drivers have a BAC that measures between 0.15 and 0.20 percent, there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days. If the BAC measures more than 0.02 percent, there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of ten days. The maximum possible jail sentence for any Class 1 misdemeanor is 12 months.

Subsequent DUI offenses only increase the potential penalties; penalties depend upon five-year and ten-year look-back periods. For example, if drivers accrue three DUI convictions in ten years, they receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days; and if they accumulate three DUI convictions in five years, they receive a mandatory minimum jail sentence of six months.

Given the severity of these possible sanctions, getting advice from a DUI attorney in Prince William County may be advantageous.

Other potential penalties aside from jail time, fines, and automatic administrative license suspensions, include court-imposed license suspensions. Administrative and court-ordered license suspensions do not run concurrently, but consecutively.

Court-ordered license suspensions typically are more severe; a first-time DUI will result in a one-year court-ordered license suspension, as opposed to an initial seven-day administrative license suspension. If one wishes to request a restricted license within the year they are suspended, they will have to have an ignition interlock installed on any vehicle they wish to drive for at least 6 months.

A Prince William County DUI Attorney May Be Able to Help

Although a DUI may initially seem devastating, a positive outcome is possible, especially when you have a Prince William County DUI lawyer on your side. Legal counsel may enable you to develop a strong defense to DUI charges and place you in a better position to emerge from your situation unscathed or with minimal inconvenience.

Do not give in to the temptation of giving up hope when facing DUI charges. There are plenty of defenses that may be applicable in your case, and ways to effectively fight back against DUI charges inside and outside the courtroom.