What Are The Consequences Of Refusing A Breath Or Blood Test?
If you refuse a breath or blood test you would be looking at an additional charge. This is called a civil refusal of a blood or breath test. The first offense for this in Virginia means that you cannot be jailed for violation or conviction of that code section nor does it constitute any criminal conviction on your record. It is only civil and the penalty if convicted of refusal is up a suspension of your driver’s license for a period of twelve months. Many people are afraid to refuse because they are afraid of the suspension of the driver’s license.
However, suspension of a driver’s license is a potential outcome upon conviction of a DUI charge. The benefit if there is any refusing is that it gives the prosecution one less piece of evidence against you. You are in a very different position when you appear in court if you have refused and there is no blood alcohol content level to be used against you versus a person that has blown into the breath test and their blood alcohol content comes back reading 0.12%.
What Is An Ignition Interlock Device?
Ignition Interlock Device is a computerized device that is attached to a motor vehicle. It has a mouthpiece that requires someone to blow into the interlock device and they must return a successful or satisfactory blood alcohol content level before the ignition of a car will operate and the car will turn on. In Virginia, anyone convicted of a first offense DUI is required to have an ignition interlock if they wish to have a restricted license issued. You can avoid an ignition interlock device if you do not take the restricted license, but that means you have to walk or find other means of transportation for a full calendar year. Ignition interlock is required for all other DUI offenses such as second, third offense and DUI drugs.
What Factors Might Enhance Or Aggravate A DUI Charge?
Typically a DUI is enhanced by a person’s blood alcohol content level. If you are above a 0.15%, there is a mandatory minimum five day jail sentence. If you are above 0.20%, there is a ten day mandatory minimum jail sentence. Those mandatory minimums increase as blood alcohol levels increase. Also, a DUI can be enhanced by prior convictions. If you have a conviction out of Virginia or out of another state or locality that has similar laws substantially to those of the Commonwealth of Virginia, for a second offense of a DUI within five years has a mandatory minimum of ten days in jail, and for a second offense of a DUI within ten years, that has a mandatory minimum of five days in jail.
Once you get to a subsequent offense, DUI offenses in Virginia become felonies with a mandatory minimum of six months incarceration. A DUI can also be enhanced or aggravated based on the severity of the driving behavior that results in an accident. If it results in a loss of life or severe property damage or if there are other aggravating circumstances such as there are young children in the car at the time of the DUI. Lastly, a DUI is most often elevated or aggravated by someone that is caught driving with a suspended license at the time of their DUI.
Are There Any Diversion Programs Available To First Time DUI Offenders In Virginia?
There are not many diversion programs in Virginia. Virginia is a jurisdiction that has decided to be very tough when it comes to impaired driving. Very few jurisdictions in Northern Virginia have some type of first time offender DUI programs. There were circumstances where certain prosecutor’s offices were making standard first offense offers that involved reducing the charge to reckless driving.
Many jurisdictions in Northern Virginia are moving away from that. We do not typically see home detention with ankle bracelets or community service being used in DUI cases, except if we ask our client to do it as a pre-emptive matter, or as a strategic means to set them apart in the eyes of the prosecutor or judge. It shows that the client is proactive and it is something that is going to stand out compared to other people before the court.
What Sets Your Firm Apart In Handling DUI Cases?
I would say our trial experience in handling DUI cases all across the Commonwealth of Virginia with a heavy emphasis on DUI cases in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, Prince William, Loudoun and the Eastern District of Virginia for federal cases sets us apart from other firms. We have extensive experience in DUI related CLEs as well as I am a member of the National College of DUI Defense.
We approach all of our cases with an eye towards trial; we look at what we need to tell a judge or a jury to close an argument. Our goal is for the best possible outcome. We have to start there and always keep that in mind. Our experience has shown that prosecutors are likely to negotiate with you most favorably when you can demonstrate that you are prepared for trial and there is a likelihood of success at trial or they have a risk to not be successful at trial.
For more information on Consequences of Blood and Breath Test Refusal, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (703) 552-2462 today.
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