Understanding Drunk Driving Laws
Drunk driving is a serious criminal charge, and if you have been charged, you need experienced, knowledgeable Virginia lawyers to guide you through the process of your criminal defense. At Weimer & Boyce, Lawyers, we can help.
Below we provide some general information about the criminal laws that apply to drunk driving. In Virginia, this charge is called DUI, but it is also commonly referred to as DWI. To learn more about how Virginia DUI law applies to your specific circumstances, and to get immediate help defending yourself against this charge, don't hesitate to contact us at our offices in Manassas.
Drunk Driving - An Overview
If you have been stopped for, arrested for or charged with drunk driving, contact an attorney who has experience handling drunk-driving cases as soon as possible to discuss your options and rights. Drunk-driving law is complex and the guidance of a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer can make a significant difference in a defendant's experience and in the outcome of his or her case.
The Use of Ignition Interlock Devices in Drunk-Driving Cases
Most states have regulations that allow or mandate that judges order the installation of interlock devices as a penalty during sentencing in drunk-driving cases. An ignition interlock is a device installed in a car that measures the blood alcohol content of the driver, who must blow into the device before starting the car. If the blood alcohol content (BAC) is above a certain level, the car will not start. Because the laws regarding the use of ignition interlock devices in drunk-driving cases vary from state to state, it is important to speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney in your state.
The Prosecutor's Role in a Drunk-Driving Case
Prosecution refers to the government's role in the criminal-justice system. When criminal activity is suspected, it is up to the government to investigate, arrest, charge and bring the alleged offender to trial. A prosecutor is a lawyer who works for the government and who is responsible for developing and presenting the government's case against a criminal defendant. Prosecutors may be called county attorneys, city attorneys, district attorneys or states' attorneys. Some jurisdictions may even have experienced police officers act as prosecutors in drunk-driving cases. The prosecutor is the opponent or "adversary" of the criminal defendant and his or her attorney; the two sides go head-to-head against each other in court.
Reliability of Breath-Test Results in a Drunk-Driving Case
In every state in the U.S., a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher is presumed to be legally intoxicated for drunk-driving purposes. Each state has also enacted an implied-consent law. Implied-consent laws provide that every licensed driver within the state is considered to have given his or her consent to chemical testing to determine his or her BAC whenever a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion of intoxication. In most states, refusal to submit to such a test results in license suspension or revocation.
The Impact of a Drunk-Driving Conviction on Your Auto Insurance
An alcohol-related car accident and subsequent drunk-driving conviction can bring many negative consequences into your life, possibly including jail or prison time, a criminal record, car repair or replacement, restitution, guilt and grief over harm to others, higher insurance premiums, a civil lawsuit, fines, court and administrative fees, community service, alcohol education, substance-abuse treatment, social stigma, restrictions on or revocation of your driver's license, attorneys fees, restrictive probation and others. If you are arrested for or charged with drunk driving, a lawyer can advise you about your legal rights and help you fight the charges.