DUI Defense Lawyer in Richmond, VA
Were you arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Richmond? If so, please know that you have options. Upton Law, PLLC has helped countless people in your same situation fight to have the DUI charges against them reduced or dropped. Richmond DUI attorney Samantha Upton has earned a reputation for providing straightforward advice and strong representation.
A DUI conviction can result in incarceration, heavy fines, loss of driving privileges, and more. Fortunately, with a skilled DUI lawyer on your side, you can fight these serious charges and work to minimize the consequences you might face.
Contact Richmond DUI attorney Samantha Upton today and take the first step toward putting this incident behind you. Call or reach Upton Law, PLLC online for a free consultation to discuss your case.
When Can You Be Charged with a DUI in Richmond?
Under Virginia Code § 18.2-266, people can be charged with DUI when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, or when they are under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it impairs their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Being under the influence of drugs, either alone or in combination with alcohol, to the extent that the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is impaired can also result in a DUI charge.
Tests Used for DUI
When you are stopped by police, and the officer has reasonable suspicion that you may be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, the officer may request you to submit to field sobriety tests. Those tests include:
- Walk-and-turn test
- One-leg stand test
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
An officer may also ask you to perform a portable breathalyzer test. However, drivers are not required to submit to field sobriety tests or portable breathalyzer tests.
Instead, under Virginia’s implied consent law set forth in Virginia Code § 18.2-268.2, a driver is required to submit to a breath test or blood test only following an arrest for DUI.
If you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test, then under Virginia law, you will have your driving privileges suspended for a period of one or three years, depending on whether you have previously refused breath or blood tests in the prior 10 years.
Penalties for DUI Conviction in Richmond
The penalties from a conviction for DUI vary based on whether you have prior DUI convictions and (if applicable) your blood alcohol concentration at the time of your arrest. Penalties for a DUI conviction can include:
- First DUI – Mandatory driver’s license revocation for one year, a requirement to complete ASAP, a possible jail sentence up to 12 months, and a minimum $250 fine.
- Second DUI – Mandatory driver’s license suspension for three years, a potential jail term of up to 12 months, and a minimum $250 fine. If your second offense occurred within five years of your prior offense, you also face a mandatory 20-day jail term (minimum). A second offense occurring within 10 years of your first offense carries a mandatory 10-day jail term (minimum).
- Third DUI – Mandatory jail term of up to 12 months or prison term of one to five years, mandatory indefinite revocation of your driver’s license, and minimum $1,000 fine. If your third offense occurred within five years of a prior offense, you also face a mandatory six-month jail term (minimum). A third offense occurring within 10 years of a prior offense carries a mandatory 90-day jail term (minimum) and your vehicle will be confiscated permanently.
- Underage DUI – Virginia has a zero-tolerance policy for underage intoxicated driving. People under the age of 21 who have a BAC of 0.02 percent can be charged with DUI. A BAC of 0.02 percent but less than 0.08 percent carries penalties of a one-year driver’s license suspension along with a mandatory fine of $500 (minimum) or a community service requirement of at least 50 hours and a possibility of up to 12 months in jail.
If your BAC was 0.15 percent but not higher than 0.20 percent at the time of your arrest, you also face a mandatory five-day jail term (minimum). A BAC of higher than 0.20 carries a mandatory 10-day jail term (minimum). These mandatory minimums are increased when paired with a second or third DUI.
A DUI conviction may also result in the requirement that you install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
Building a Strong DUI Defense
After you have been arrested for DUI, you may have options to pursue a dismissal, acquittal, or reduction in the severity of your charge. Potentially effective defenses in DUI cases in Richmond include:
- Challenging the legality of your initial traffic stop – If police did not have reasonable suspicion to stop you, any evidence of DUI may become inadmissible.
- Challenging whether the prosecution can prove you were operating a motor vehicle.
- Challenging the reliability of field sobriety tests – You may be able to argue that weather or location factors affected the results, or that the officer failed to properly conduct or evaluate the test.
- Challenging the reliability of breath or blood test results – You could show that testing equipment was not properly calibrated, or that the timing of the test affected the results.
What to Do If You Are Pulled Over for a DUI in Richmond
If you are pulled over for a DUI, remember the following tips:
- Make mental notes of the details of your stop – Include the time of day, the location of the stop, the weather and lighting, and the traffic conditions.
- Exercise your right to remain silent – You can politely decline to answer if the officer asks you questions like, “Have you been drinking?”
- You can also politely decline to perform field sobriety tests – The officer has likely already decided to arrest you for DUI. So, performing field sobriety tests, which have questionable reliability, will only add to the evidence against you. Although you cannot be forced to submit to breath or blood testing, under Virginia’s implied consent law, a refusal to do so after your arrest will lead to the suspension of your driver’s license.
- Continue to remain silent if you are placed under arrest for DUI – You should stay silent and request to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
How a Richmond DUI Lawyer Can Help You
When you work with Upton Law, PLLC, you can count on Richmond DUI defense attorney Samantha Upton to help you by:
- Advising you of the potential and likely outcomes in your case based on the facts and evidence
- Developing legal defense strategies supported by the facts and evidence to fight for a dismissal or acquittal, if possible
- Negotiating with the Commonwealth’s attorney for a reduction in the seriousness of your charge or for the imposition of less severe penalties in the event of a conviction
When you are dealing with the stress of a DUI charge, Upton Law, PLLC, can also help provide some peace of mind. We will quote you a flat fee upfront to handle your case. So, you won’t have surprise fees or need to worry about spending extra money just to talk to your lawyer.
Talk to a Richmond DUI Attorney Now
Contact Upton Law, PLLC today if you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence. Richmond DUI defense lawyer Samantha Upton will be ready to take immediate action to defend you against these charges and work hard to pursue the most positive outcome possible in your case.