Virginia Beach DUI attorney Patricia Hardt is a zealous advocate for her clients facing charges of driving under the influence. Driving under the influence (DUI) is often referred to as “every man’s crime.” People from all walks of life find themselves facing DUI charges in Virginia. Many people who have been arrested for DUI have never had an encounter with the criminal law before. Getting charged with DUI does not mean that you are a bad person; it might say that you made an error in judgment. An individual who drives after having too much to drink does not form the evil intent to commit a crime. It often happens by accident.
You have the right to be represented by a zealous advocate for your Virginia DUI charge. Attorney Patricia Hardt will work closely with you to determine the best course of action for you and vigorously protect your rights. Whether you choose to fight the charges or to seek a plea to a reduced charge, Virginia Beach DUI attorney Patricia Hardt has used her vast trial experience defending Virginia DUI cases to help you in your time of need.
Virginia DUI Law
The Commonwealth of Virginia has a comprehensive DUI statute. The law may be found at §18.2-266. The law criminalizes driving under the influence of alcohol as well as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above. It is also unlawful to operate under the influence of drugs or with a combination of alcohol and drugs.
To be found guilty of DUI in Virginia, the prosecution must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest standard of proof recognized in the law. Therefore, the prosecution must prove that you were operating a motor vehicle on a public way with you BAC at .08 or above or your driving was impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both.
A person consents to give a breath or blood test when they drive on a public way in Virginia. That is known as Virginia’s implied consent law. You have the right to refuse to take the test; however, if you do so “unreasonably” then the police can charge you with a crime for failing to give the breath test or blood test. The police officer who made the arrest must inform you of your right to refuse to give the test. Additionally, you have the right to see the test results as soon as they are generated. Refusing to submit to a breath test is a misdemeanor for a second offense; the first offense is a civil violation. Notwithstanding, the Commonwealth will suspend your license for refusing to submit to a breath test.
Virginia severely penalizes people convicted for DUI. A first offense DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and the minimum mandatory penalty is a fine of $250. The statute recognizes aggravating factors as they relate to your BAC. The judge must sentence you to a mandatory five days in jail if your BAC was between .15 and .20%. The mandatory penalty increases to ten days if your BAC exceeds .20%.
DUI penalties increase if you were previously convicted of DUI. A sentencing judge must incarcerate you for no less than one month and no more than one year, with a twenty-day mandatory minimum sentence if the previous conviction was within five years. The mandatory component of the sentence would decrease to ten days if the conviction were within five to ten years before the current conviction.
A conviction of DUI for the third time increases the penalty to a Class 6 felony. The minimum mandatory penalty is one year. Furthermore, the prosecution can force you to forfeit your car upon conviction of a third offense.
Many potential defenses exist for DUI. Accordingly, Attorney Hardt will research your case thoroughly and exhaustively and work closely with you to see if there are viable defenses. A common defense lies in asking the judge to exclude evidence from your trial because the police violated your constitutional or statutory rights. Testing the accuracy of the breathalyzer machine is another common defense. Like all machines, they are subject to internal malfunction and operator error. Either one or both, of those factors, may yield an inaccurate or unreliable result.
Call Today If You Are Facing A DUI Charge In Virginia Beach Or The Surrounding Area
Call Virginia Beach DUI attorney Patricia Hardt today at 757-962-5588 to make an appointment. Attorney Hardt possesses significant criminal trial experience, through which she has earned the reputation as a zealous advocate. There is so much riding on a DUI charge. Call today for immediate assistance.