DUI Defense Attorney in Virginia

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one of the most serious driving offenses that you can face in Virginia.

If you have been charged with a DUI, you need to seek experienced legal representation as soon as possible in order to protect your rights, your freedom, and your future.

Attorney Samantha Upton knows how stressful a DUI charge can be. She also understands the impact that a conviction can have on a person’s life ─ personally, professionally, and financially. Fortunately, an arrest doesn’t guarantee a conviction. Samantha will be ready to fight your DUI charge and pursue the best outcome possible in your case. For an honest and straightforward assessment of your case and your options, contact Upton Law, PLLC today and receive a free and confidential consultation.

When Can You Be Charged with DUI in Virginia?

In Virginia, you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if:

  • Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher, or
  • You have detectable controlled substances in your system, including 0.02 milligrams of cocaine per liter of blood or 0.1 milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood.

You can also face a DUI charge if alcohol or drugs impair your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Penalties for DUI Conviction

If you are convicted of DUI in Virginia, the potential sentence you face will depend on whether you have prior DUI convictions and whether you are under the legal drinking age of 21. Penalties for a DUI conviction in Virginia include:

  • First DUI – Mandatory minimum fine of $250, requirement to complete ASAP, up to 12 months in jail, and one-year license revocation.
  • Second DUI – Mandatory minimum fine of $500, the requirement to complete ASAP, a potential jail sentence of up to one year, and revocation of your driver’s license for three years. Mandatory 10-day jail sentence if it is a second DUI in a 10-year period, or a mandatory 20-day jail sentence if it is a second DUI conviction within five years.
  • Third DUI – Felony Charge – Mandatory minimum fine of $1,000, the requirement to complete ASAP, indefinite revocation of driving privileges, and a potential one- to a five-year sentence of imprisonment. A third DUI conviction within 10 years includes a mandatory minimum 90-day jail term and forfeiture of the vehicle you were driving (if you are the sole owner). A third conviction within five years carries a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in jail.
  • Underage DUI – Mandatory one-year suspension of driving privileges, a minimum fine of $500 or 50 hours of community service, and up to 12 months in jail.

If you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 to 0.20 percent at the time of your arrest, you may also face a five- to 10-day mandatory jail term. A BAC of above 0.20 percent may carry a 10- to 20-day mandatory jail term.

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What Tests Are Used in DUI Cases?

In Virginia, law enforcement officers may rely on one or more tests to establish probable cause for a DUI charge. These tests may include:

Building a Strong DUI Defense

Even if the police have a breath or blood test report in hand, you may still have potential defenses available to you to contest your DUI charge, including challenging:
  • The reliability of breath or blood test results – You may be able to show that the testing equipment was not properly calibrated, the test was improperly performed, or your individual medical circumstances affected the test result.
  • The reliability of field sobriety test results – You may show that the officer failed to correctly administer the tests, or that other factors such as the conditions where the test was performed or your physical condition impacted your ability to properly perform the tests.
  • The legality of the stop – For instance, you may be able to show that the police officer who pulled you over lacked reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or committing any other offense that justified making the traffic stop.

In addition to these defenses, you may be able to establish that the prosecution simply lacks sufficient evidence of your guilt. If there is insufficient evidence, the charge against you should be dismissed as a matter of law in Virginia.

Things that can help you establish one or more defenses to your DUI charges include:

  • Eyewitness testimony, which can refute an allegation that you were driving carelessly or recklessly
  • Medical evidence, which may establish that you were suffering from a medical or physical condition at the time of your DUI arrest

What to Do If You Are Pulled Over for DUI

If you are pulled over for DUI in Richmond or anywhere else in Virginia, a few important tips can help you protect your rights:

  • Exercise your right to remain silent – After stopping your car, an officer may ask you whether you have “had anything to drink” or ask, “How many drinks have you had tonight?” You can politely decline to answer the officer’s questions. The officer may have already decided to arrest you for DUI. So, anything you say can and likely will be used against you.
  • Refuse to participate in field tests – You have the right to refuse to perform any field sobriety tests or submit to a preliminary roadside breathalyzer test. However, you must exit the vehicle if requested to do so by the officer.
  • Remain calm and respectful toward the officer – If you become agitated, it may only further convince the officer that you are intoxicated or escalate the situation.
  • Take note of the weather, traffic, and road conditions – If you can note conditions that may have impacted your ability to drive, it can undercut an officer’s claim that the officer had reasonable suspicion that you were operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

If you are arrested for DUI, under Virginia’s implied consent law, your driver’s license can be suspended and points can be assessed against your driving record if you refuse a request to submit to a breath or blood test.

How a Virginia DUI Lawyer Can Help You

Following a DUI arrest, you should seek legal help as soon as possible. Virginia DUI lawyer Samantha Upton can help you defend your rights, your freedom, and your future by:

  • Offering straightforward, knowledgeable legal advice regarding potential defenses and realistic prospects for a favorable outcome
  • Investigating your case to identify potential legal and factual challenges that can be made to the evidence against you
  • Ensuring you understand the possible consequences you may face if you are convicted, especially if you have prior DUI offenses or other aggravating factors in your case
  • Helping you get a restricted driver’s license if you are convicted, which can eliminate a great deal of stress

When you work with Upton Law, PLLC, you will also have the added reassurance of being quoted a flat fee for your case. So, you will never be surprised by additional charges or worry about running up a bill when talking to your DUI lawyer.

Talk to a Virginia DUI Attorney Today

If you have been arrested for and charged with DUI, you could face serious potential consequences. Those consequences could include jail or prison time, fines, suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, and other personal and professional issues that arise from having a DUI conviction on your record. Samantha Upton has dedicated her legal career to helping clients fight the charges against them. Contact Upton Law, PLLC today to discuss your rights and options in a free consultation.

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