S & R Law Firm
Loudoun County DUI Attorney
If you have been charged with a DUI in Loudoun County, it is a criminal offense that should not be taken lightly. The Commonwealth of Virginia takes DUI offenses seriously, and the quality of your legal defense may make or break the severity of your charges and penalties. Getting the advice and guidance of an experienced Loudoun County DUI lawyer is critical to ensure the best outcome in your defense.What Constitutes a DUI Charge in Loudoun County?
Whether it is a first offense or you have a history of other DUI charges, it’s important to understand what you are up against when charged with a DUI in Loudoun County.
In the state of Virginia, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle if
- You have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher
- You have a blood concentration of a drug or intoxicant that impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, even if it is a prescription drug.
- You are under the influence of a combination of alcohol and drugs that impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, even if the drugs are prescription drugs.
In Loudoun County, drivers with lower BAC levels have even been charged when there is noticeable impairment. It is important to understand that officers have latitude in making a DUI arrest and numerous resources to use as evidence in DUI cases, including things you say and do after during and after your traffic stop. Fortunately, under state laws, you cannot be convicted for simply driving with alcohol in your system, and this is when the quality of your defense and the experience of your Loudoun DUI attorney comes into play.Getting the Representation of a Skilled Loudoun County DUI Lawyer
Because of the seriousness of a DUI in Loudoun County, you want to get the immediate representation of a Loudoun County DUI attorney to ensure your best outcome. From the moment you are charged, you will need someone advising you and advocating for you in order to reduce the severity of your charges, penalties, or jail time as much as possible.
DUI convictions have a way of following an individual for life, affecting jobs, careers, housing, and reputations. Getting the representation of a skilled DUI lawyer in Loudoun may weigh critically in your favor after a DUI arrest.The Penalties You Face With a Loudoun DUI Conviction
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, DUIs are aggressively prosecuted. Your penalties will hinge on previous DUI convictions, how much drugs or alcohol were in your system, the speed at which you were driving, and if an accident ensued and if anyone was hurt. Consequently, there are a broad range of things that will be considered after your arrest and having the representation of a talented DUI attorney in Loudoun is critical.
- First offense DUI in Loudoun -- A first offense DUI is a class 1 misdemeanor that can result in up to 12 months in jail, a mandatory fine of between $250 and $2500, and the loss of your driver’s license for one year.
- In Loudoun County, the legal limit above which you are committing a DUI if operating a motor vehicle is 0.08 blood alcohol content (or 0.08 grams per 100 ml of blood), though you can also be found guilty of DUI if you have ANY amount of intoxicant in your body and are found by a court to be “impaired”. If you have a BAC in excess of 0.15 the court is required by law to give you five (5) days of mandatory jail time (on a first offense) - mandatory jail being jail which cannot be suspended. If your BAC is in excess of 0.20, that mandatory time increases to ten (10) days of mandatory jail time (again, this is only for a first offense).
- Second offense DUI in Loudoun -- A second offense DUI is also a class 1 misdemeanor but carries harsher jail times and fines, depending on how soon after the second offense occurred after the first one. In addition, a second offense may result in a suspension of your driver’s license for three years with an added imposition of an ignition interlock device for six months after license restoration.
- A second DUI within five (5) years carries a mandatory minimum of twenty (20) days in jail, and the loss of license increases to three (3) years, and further, you cannot request a restricted license for the first full year post conviction.
- A second DUI within ten (10) years carries a mandatory minimum of ten (10) days in jail, and while the loss of license is still increased to three (3) years, you can request a restricted license sooner, after only four (4) months.
- In addition, if your BAC is elevated on a 2nd or subsequent DUI conviction within five or ten years of the previous one, the mandatory minimum jail time the court must impose is doubled. That is, BACs above 0.15 will require ten (10) days of mandatory minimum jail time, and BACs above 0.20 will require twenty (20) days of mandatory minimum jail time. This is in addition to any mandatory time from the underlying DUI 2nd within five or ten years. A 2nd DUI within five years with a BAC above 0.20 carries a whopping forty (40) days of mandatory minimum jail time.
- Third offense DUI in Loudoun -- Although first and second offenses are considered a misdemeanor, a third offense DUI is a class 6 felony. If you are convicted of a third DUI within a ten-year time frame, your privilege to drive will be indefinitely revoked. A third DUI offense can result in a minimum of 6 months in jail, fines of between $1,000 and $5,000. Your vehicle may also be seized.
There are two Loudoun County specific penalties for DUIs as well, which extend beyond the statutorily required penalties. The first is the Victim Impact Panel, for which all persons convicted of a DUI are required to attend. It is a one-time class, approximately three hours in length, that contains testimonials from people impacted by DUIs, medical professionals, and law enforcement. You must complete the victim impact panel within 90 days of your conviction. The second Loudoun County specific penalty occurs only if you are originally charged with a BAC of 0.15 or higher. Loudoun County requires that all convictions where the originally charged BAC was elevated participate in active probation for a year. This active probation is required even if your BAC is reduced through negotiation or trial; judges implement the penalty based on the originally charged BAC, not the final BAC of the conviction.
It is important to note that these are minimum penalties if you are convicted. A judge has the authority to impose harsher sentences if the court feels it is warranted.The Right Loudoun DUI Lawyer For Your Best Outcome
Consequently, you do not want to leave a DUI charge to chance. With the assistance of the right Loudoun DUI attorney, charges may be reduced or dropped, or it may be determined that you qualify for special programs or a restricted license. In the case where your blood alcohol level was relatively low, you may get charges reduced.
Fighting a DUI in Loudoun County is an evidence intensive process. Most Loudoun county cruisers carry with them a dash camera, which records encounters between defendants and deputies. While some deputies will not have dash cameras in their vehicles, most will, and it is important to inquire if a dash camera is available and if not, why it is not. While generally the explanation for not having a dash camera video is benign, it is still a point of inquiry an attorney should explore in case it presents a legal issue.
An attorney can request the dash camera video as well as police reports through the discovery process. Loudoun county is somewhat different from many counties in that the General District Court has a standing order regarding discovery that requires only a form to be submitted. The Loudoun Commonwealth Attorney’s office allows for what is called “Open Discovery,” a form of discovery whereby an attorney requests through the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s website for a file to be placed out for review, and the attorney can view it once it has been put out. The Commonwealth Attorney’s office has computers for review at their office, however, upon request, copies of most materials are generally allowed to be made. This allows your attorney to review the materials at the office with you at your convenience.
After discovery has been reviewed, negotiation with the Commonwealth attorney assigned to the case may begin in earnest. Loudoun will sometimes assign Commonwealth attorneys to cases ahead of time, however, you should not necessarily expect offers to be issued regarding potential resolutions prior to the Court date.
Working with the right DUI lawyer in Loudoun County ensures that you are working with an experienced legal advocate who understands and is familiar with the Loudoun County court system, judges, and prosecutors. A good Loudoun DUI lawyer thoroughly considers all your options and defense strategies in order to get the most favorable outcome for you.Experienced Loudoun DUI Attorneys
If you are facing a DUI in Loudoun County, you should not leave your future to chance. Getting the most skilled legal representation can make a vast difference in the severity of your charges or conviction. Call the skilled Loudoun DUI lawyers at Nova Defenders, S&R Law Firm, PLLC at 703.273.6431 to understand your legal rights and options. You may also contact us online.