Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense here in Virginia.
DUIs carry serious penalties, some of which have the potential for negatively affecting your life.
You may be required to pay a fine, and you may lose your license or have it suspended for a minimum of 12 months and, in some cases, up to 36 months!
This may place your current job in jeopardy and may lead to hardships in securing future employment.
Sometimes, however, a DUI may also land you in jail.
Avoiding A Jail Sentence
There are several ways to attack a DUI charge.
1) For one, you may be able to argue that the police violated your rights by stopping you in the first place.
Cops can’t stop you “just because” or “on a hunch.” In short, the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution requires that police officers must have at least a “reasonable articulable suspicion” of some wrongdoing, based on the surrounding facts, before the police offer may lawfully pull you over.
If the police violate this rule, any evidence found following the stop, such as you driving under the influence, should be suppressed by a fair minded judge faced with a solid argument by your attorney. In other words, the officers will not be able to use all evidence he acquired against you and your case will probably be dismissed; hence, you will avoid jail time and, of course, a conviction!
2) Second, you may avoid jail time if the arresting officer did not properly conduct the field sobriety test.
Remember the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution? Well, it applies further to the point when a cop chooses to arrest you. An officer must have “probable cause” to place you under arrest. If you participate in field sobriety tests, and the cop feels that you failed those tests, your failure of the test, along with other facts, such as the results of a “Preliminary Breath test” given at the scene, may give the arresting officer that “probable cause” to place you under arrest.
BUT WAIT! An experienced DUI Defense Attorney can determine If the officer did not conduct the field sobriety tests properly. If this is the case, then this may destroy the officer’s justification, or “probable cause,” to arrest you. Thus, allowing you, once again, to avoid a conviction and avoid jail time.
Similarly, if you blew into the officer’s hand-held Breathalyzer at the scene, and the results gave the officer “probable cause” to arrest you, a knowledgeable attorney may be able to show that there was a defect in the Breathalyzer itself.
Virginia law requires the Breathalyzer device to be properly maintained pursuant to the manufacturer’s instructions and procedures. The law also recognizes that these hand-held machines are not reliable enough to prosecute you –only to help an officer determine “probable cause.”
They must also exhibit an error rate of less than 10 percent, per Virginia’s Administrative Code.
There are several additional requirements that police officers must adhere to if they want to use the hand-held Breathalyzer evidence against you. First, they must tell you that the test is VOLUNTARY and that the result cannot be used against you in a trial.
If these requirements relating to the Breathalyzer are not met, the Breathalyzer results will not be used against you. This could drastically diminish the claimed “probable cause” by the officer and ultimately this may allow you to avoid jail time.
Contact a Fairfax DUI Defense Attorney
If you were pulled over and charged with a DUI it is critical that a skilled DUI Defense Attorney represents you.
With over 15 years of experience, Eric E. Clingan is a zealous DUI Defense Attorney in Fairfax, Virginia who will thoroughly investigate the charges against you to determine which options will give you the best chance at success.
Contact The Nova Law Firm today for a Free Consultation to discuss your legal needs and learn more about how to pursue the complete dismissal of your charges.