S & R Law Firm
Do I Need a DUI Attorney in Fairfax?
If you have been charged with a DUI in Fairfax, you are likely wondering whether you should work with an attorney or face the charges alone. While working with a Fairfax DUI attorney will often be in your best interests, it depends on the circumstances of your case. If you are unsure whether or not an attorney could benefit you, contact S&R Law Firm for a free consultation. We can answer your tough questions and give you a sense of what you might face in court. In the meantime, here are several examples of scenarios when contacting a lawyer would likely benefit you.First Offense DUIs
In Virginia, a DUI is a class 1 misdemeanor: a very serious criminal charge. This is because driving under the influence it is an incredibly dangerous activity that puts people’s lives and property at risk. The penalties for your DUI conviction will vary depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), whether or not you have prior convictions, and whether anyone or their property was harmed. On top of facing up to $2500 in fines, 12 months in jail, and a year without a license for a first offense, you will also face insurance rate hikes, court fees, and a lifelong criminal record.
In some cases, working with an attorney may not have a huge impact on your case, especially if you are a first time DUI offender in Virginia and the specifics of your case make it very likely that you will be convicted. Fairfax judges tend to hand down standard sentences for these types of uncomplicated cases.
However, every case is different, and certain factors in your case may make you more likely to benefit from legal help. If proper procedures were not followed or mistakes were during the arrest, or if there were issues with the accuracy of your BAC test, a lawyer could be very useful in getting your case dismissed. The only way to know for certain whether your case could be helped by legal expertise is to speak to a DUI lawyer serving Fairfax. S&R Law Firm, PLLC is available to consult with you at no charge, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are unsure whether you need a DUI lawyer.Aggravated DUIs
One scenario where a lawyer can often benefit you is if you have been charged with an aggravated DUI in Virginia. An aggravated DUI simply means that you may be treated more harshly in court and face higher penalties or fines because of certain factors in your case. For example, if you are driving with a high BAC, such as one that exceeds .015, you could be more harshly punished. This is also true if you were driving at high speeds while intoxicated, as this is especially dangerous. In addition, if you were driving under the influence with minors in the vehicle, or if it occurred in a school zone during times when children were present, this could complicate your case. In addition, if it is your third offense DUI, you can also be charged with aggravated DUI. In all of these cases, unfortunately Fairfax judges are likely to sentence you to the full extent of the law, and this is especially true if you represent yourself rather than working with a lawyer.
A qualified Fairfax DUI lawyer may be able to build a strong defense for your case and often help you achieve a lesser punishment.Plea Bargains
Since trials are expensive and time-consuming, entering a plea bargain (or pleading guilty to a lesser charge) can be one way to reduce your charges and penalties. However, this is only a good idea when the prosecution may not have a tightly-sealed case against you. While sometimes a plea bargain can be successful without a lawyer, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced DUI attorney who is skilled at negotiating with prosecutors.
In a plea bargain, you “plead down” the charge to a lesser charge. In Virginia, for example, you might plea guilty of “wet reckless” if your BAC is not particularly high. This lesser charge still acknowledges that you were impaired at the time of your arrest, but its sentence is lighter than that of a DUI and there is no jail time. In addition, your driver’s license will not be suspended. For many people, this alone makes hiring a lawyer worth it, since the loss of a license can be the most impactful part of a DUI conviction if you rely on your car to go to work.Reducing Your Sentence
If you are facing a second or third DUI conviction in Virginia, you could face months or even years of jail time. In these cases, the prosecution may willingly reduce the sentence if you plead guilty. This is typically best handled by an attorney who understands local DUI laws and has a relationship with judges and prosecutors.
Even if you are uncertain whether or not a lawyer can benefit you, speaking with an attorney can give you valuable information about your rights, a sense of what will happen when your case goes to court, and answer your tough questions.
Because the consequences of any DUI conviction are incredibly serious, it is often worth it to work with an experienced DUI lawyer in Fairfax. To learn more about how we can help, contact S&R Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation at 703-273-6431.