In Virginia, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Virginia prosecutors take driving while under the influence (DWI) charges seriously. If you have been charged with a DWI in Virginia, you face multiple penalties, including jail time, fines, a driver’s license suspension, and probation.
Contact a Fairfax County DWI Attorney Today
Working with an experienced Virginia DWI attorney can help you assess the evidence in your case, identify potential legal defenses, negotiate with prosecutors and organize the best defense possible. If you are someone you love has been accused of a DWI in Virginia, Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC is here to help. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in DWI cases. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.
DWI Charges in Virginia
In Virginia, drivers are prohibited from operating any type of motor vehicle while under the influence of a substance that alters their ability to operate the vehicle safely. Virginia’s law doesn’t merely prevent driving while under the influence of alcohol. The law also prevents consuming any substance that can cause intoxication, including street drugs or even prescription drugs.
Drivers will face charges if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent or higher in Virginia. However, prosecutors can still charge a driver with a DWI if his or her blood alcohol concentration is lower than .08 percent. The prosecution will need to prove that the driver’s ability to drive has been negatively affected by the alcohol in that case. They will also need to show that the driver’s capacity to operate a motor vehicle safely has been compromised due to drug or alcohol use.
We Handle All DWI-Related Charges in Virginia
At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, our DWI attorneys have defended DWI cases throughout the state of Virginia. Our goal is to do everything we can to help you avoid a conviction. We will carefully examine your case and begin developing a strategy for your legal defense that includes gathering evidence on your behalf. Our attorneys have successfully represented clients in a wide range of DWI related matters, including the following:
- DWI for military members
- Commercial Driver License (CDL)
- Vehicular manslaughter
The consequences are not limited to jail time and fines. For a first-time charge, a defendant can expect a jail sentence of up to 12 months and a fine between $250 and $2,500. When the driver’s BAC was at least .15 percent, the driver will face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days. If the driver’s BAC was .20 or higher, he or she will face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 days. Drivers will also face a driver’s license suspension of up to one year.
Those convicted in Virginia can face many other collateral consequences. Once a person is convicted, he or she may have problems obtaining or retaining employment, travel limitations, increased insurance rates, and more. A driver may need to pay to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle and may have to deal with a driver’s license suspension, making it difficult to get to and from work.
The Difference Between DWI and DUI Charges in Virginia
In some cases, people may be confused about the difference between a DWI and DUI charge in Virginia. Although some states draw a distinction between DWI and DUI charges, Virginia doesn’t. Virginia’s drunk driving statute uses the phrase driving while intoxicated and driving while Under the Influence. As a result, there is no difference between the term DWI and DUI in Virginia, and they are interchangeable.
If you’ve been arrested for a DWI in Virginia, you may be wondering about what type of legal defenses you can use. Every case is unique, and we recommend discussing your case with an attorney. An attorney will carefully review the facts in your case and develop the best legal defense possible.
Some of the most common DWI defenses include constitutional arguments. For example, suppose a police officer did not have the required reasonable suspicion to pull over your vehicle or administer a breathalyzer test. In that case, you can request the court to throw out the evidence gained from the breathalyzer test.
Defenses Based on Faulty Breathalyzer Tests and Illegal DWI Checkpoints
In other cases, there are issues with the actual breathalyzer test. Breathalyzer test results are strong evidence for the prosecution, but they require a skilled law enforcement officer trained to administer the test. If the law enforcement officer was not properly trained or the breathalyzer machine wasn’t properly calibrated, your defense attorney can argue that the results should be tossed out.
DWI checkpoints have become more prevalent in Virginia, especially on holiday weekends. However, not all DWI checkpoints are legal. If you were stopped at a checkpoint and any of the conditions for legality were not satisfied, you might have grounds for an argument based on unlawful search and seizure. Finally, your attorney can present evidence showing that the prosecution has not proved every element of the crime of DWI beyond a reasonable doubt.
Discuss Your Case With a Fairfax DWI Attorney
Have you been arrested for a DWI in Virginia? If so, the sooner you reach out to an experienced DWI attorney, the better. At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, our experienced drunk driving defense attorneys have decades of experience successfully helping clients face DWI charges. If you would like to learn more about what you can expect in your criminal case and how one of our skilled attorneys can help, contact Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC today to schedule your initial consultation.