Mecklenburg County DUI Lawyer
In Mecklenburg County, it is fairly common for people to drive while under the influence of a small amount of alcohol or drugs. However, driving while intoxicated is like playing Russian roulette. If you are caught, you are in serious trouble.
Law enforcement officials may stop drivers suspected of intoxicated driving with very little pretense, and they may issue charges where they are not warranted.
A knowledgeable Mecklenburg County DUI lawyer could examine the circumstances of your case to find weaknesses that may be exploited to create a solid defense. A criminal defense attorney familiar with DUI/DWI prosecution could help you reach a positive outcome and protect your driving privileges.
How DUI/DWI is Defined
The basic statute defining DUI/DWI offenses is Virginia Code §18.2-266. A driver violates this statute by operating any motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of substances.
Guilt may be established by a chemical test showing a BAC of .08 percent or higher or by an evaluation of the driver’s condition showing that the driver is impaired. A dedicated Mecklenburg County lawyer versed in DUI cases may be able to challenge these findings on numerous grounds.
Penalties for DUI/DWI Offenses in Mecklenburg
With traffic offenses such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, drivers need to consider not only standard criminal penalties such as incarceration and fines but also the restrictions on their ability to drive. A DUI lawyer in Mecklenburg can work to minimize all negative consequences, including those which affect driving privileges.
Criminal Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
The criminal penalties for DUI/DWI are set out in Va. Code §18.2-270. Penalties increase if the driver is found to have a high concentration of alcohol in the blood or if the driver has prior convictions for driving while intoxicated. Prior convictions up to ten years old are considered when assessing penalties, although the penalties may be slightly less when a conviction occurred more than five years ago.
A first-time offender with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than 0.15 percent is considered to have committed a Class I misdemeanor which is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. The minimum fine in such cases is set at $250, although minimum terms of imprisonment only apply where the driver is found to have a BAC of .015 percent or higher.
Three or more convictions for DUI within a ten-year period can cause the offense to be treated as a Class 6 felony with additional imposition of a mandatory minimum period of incarceration and a minimum fine of $1,000. The maximum prison sentence for a Class 6 felony is five years and a $2,500 fine.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, drivers convicted of DUI offenses face additional penalties besides a jail sentence and fine. First-time offenders will have their driver’s licenses revoked for one year, although they may regain restricted driving privileges with the installation of an ignition interlock device.
Those convicted of a second offense will lose their license for three years, and those with additional convictions lose their license for an indefinite period. Convicted offenders must also attend an Alcohol Education Treatment Program before regaining their licenses.
Consult with an Experienced Mecklenburg County DUI Attorney Today
The consequences of a DUI conviction could complicate your life for years to come. In addition to the penalties described above, a DUI conviction is likely to raise insurance rates and result in other expensive consequences.
Although it may be tempting to plead guilty and be done with it, you owe it to yourself to talk to an experienced Mecklenburg County DUI lawyer to learn your options for fighting the charges. In many cases, the expense of hiring an attorney is more than offset by the results. To learn what may be possible in your case, call now for a free consultation.