Drivers charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) face jail time, fines, and license suspensions. Beyond that, an impaired driving charge stays on the driver’s record for 10 to 15 years depending on the jurisdiction, which can have long-lasting negative effects.
These charges can have a significant impact on your life from the moment that you are arrested, and a DUI conviction can cause even more problems. The best way to make sure that you are given a fair trial and have a chance of getting your charges reduced or reaching an alternative agreement with the courts is to work with an experienced DUI attorney.
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If you have been charged with DUI or DWI in Virginia, contact the defense attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC. Request a free consultation today so that we are able to discuss the situation, and begin taking immediate action in order to build you a strong case while making sure that you are treated correctly in the criminal justice system. Before you even make a statement to the police, you should have an attorney representing you.
Read more about DUI charges in Alexandria, and contact us as soon as possible to get the legal support that you deserve through this trying time. You deserve a DUI lawyer in Alexandria who is willing to fight for you through every step of your case.
Impaired Driving In Washington D.C.
In Washington D.C., a person can be charged with DUI if they are operating or in physical control of a vehicle while their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.07% or lower and they show other signs of impairment, such as failing field sobriety tests or reckless driving. Washington D.C. has zero-tolerance for underage drinking and driving, so a person under age 21 can be charged with DUI if they have any measurable amount of alcohol in their system. Law enforcement will ask for blood, urine, or breath for chemical testing to determine BAC.
A driver in Washington D.C. can be charged with DWI if their BAC is 0.08 or greater. They can be charged based on their BAC alone, and they do not have to show any other signs of intoxication, such as failing field sobriety tests or reckless driving. The penalties are the same as for DUI, but anyone with a BAC over 0.20% must serve an extra 10 days in jail, 15 days for a BAC over 0.25%, and 20 days for a BAC over 0.30%.
Virginia has an implied consent law. If you refuse a breath or blood testing at the detention center, you may face an additional charge which carries up to $500 in fines and the suspension of your driver’s license for one year.
Penalties for a first-time offense can result in up to 180 days in jail, fines up to $1,000, and a suspended license. Drivers must participate in field sobriety tests or they will have their licenses suspended for one year. If you are charged with a DUI and have a previous DUI (including plea deals and alternate sentencing that avoided a conviction on your record), then your penalties will increase significantly.
Driver’s License Suspension And Revocation After A DUI Arrest
After a DUI or DWI in Washington, D.C., drivers will face an administrative license suspension. The driver’s license may be revoked for a DUI/DWI conviction, with the loss of license period based on the driver’s alcohol level and the number of prior offenses. A driver can also lose their license for refusing a chemical test after a DUI arrest under their implied consent.
What To Expect After a DUI Arrest In Alexandria
After your DUI arrest, law enforcement transports you to Central Booking where you will be given a breath or blood test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). You will also be fingerprinted and photographed. While you are being processed, or as soon as you are given the chance, is the best time to contact a DUI lawyer in Alexandria.
Central Booking is part of the Alexandria Detention Center, and it is located at:
2001 Mill Road
Alexandria, VA 22314
After your blood test, you will see a magistrate judge, either in person or via video. This is when the arresting officer presents the facts against you, including the results of your breath and blood test. Based on the evidence, the magistrate judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. You are not officially charged with DUI until the warrant is issued or you are indicted by a grand jury.
DUI Defenses For Accused Drivers
You do not have to plead guilty just because the prosecutor makes it seem like it is your only option. Talk to an experienced DUI defense lawyer about how to fight criminal charges, including challenging the basis of the stop and challenging the chemical test results.
Negotiating Your Release
If the magistrate judge issues the warrant, it will be served on you, and then you will have a hearing to determine if you can be released on bail and what your bail amount will be. You may be released on your own recognizance and not have to post any bail money. Your attorney may accompany you to your bail hearing so they can fight to have your bail set at a reasonable amount, or, in cases where the judge may not allow you to bail out of jail, your attorney can argue why you should be allowed to do so.
If you are released on bail or your own recognizance, you can return home. Otherwise, you remain in the Alexandria Detention Center until your trial.
The Courthouse and Your Trial
If you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI, your pre-trial hearings and your trial will be held at the Alexandria General District Court. The General District Court does not conduct jury trials, so your DUI case will be heard by a judge.
If you are charged with a felony DUI, your preliminary hearings will be held at the General District Court, and your trial will be held in the Circuit Court.
Both the General District Court and the Circuit Court are located at:
520 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22320
The General District Court is located on the second floor of the courthouse.
Preparing For DUI Court In Alexandria
Be on time for all your court hearings. Your attorney will notify you of your court dates and hearing times.
All electronic devices, including, but not limited to, cell phones, video games, cameras, laptops, and radios, are prohibited in the courthouse. You also may not bring anything that is or can be used as a weapon, such as guns, knives, and scissors.
Dress The Part
Dress appropriately for court. You may not wear any of the following:
- Clothing with vulgar, discriminatory, or obscene images or language.
- Clothing that promotes illegal violent conduct, such as gang symbols drug use, or weapons.
- Revealing clothing that exposes cleavage, private parts, midriff, back, or undergarments. This includes halter tops, spaghetti straps, and sagging pants.
- Flip Flops
- Bedroom Slippers
- Skirts or dresses shorter than three inches above the knee.
- Head coverings, except those for religious or medical purposes.
If you violate the dress code, you will not be allowed in the courtroom until you change clothing.
Behave appropriately in court. Failure to do so can lead to a Contempt of Court charge, and you may face expulsion from the courtroom, jail time, and/or fines.
Food and drink are allowed in designated areas. Smoking is prohibited in the courthouse.
AGGRESSIVE DUI REPRESENTATION IN ALEXANDRIA
DUI and DWI charges are serious offenses in Virginia and Washington, D.C., and they can affect your life for many years following the charge. An aggressive defense attorney from S.L. England, PLLC, understands how to challenge the charge to protect your rights and your freedom, and will build the strongest defense on your behalf. Call (202) 489-0720 or contact us online today.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are serious charges in Alexandria, Virginia and this may be your first encounter with the criminal justice system as a defendant. The criminal defense attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC, are prepared to guide you through the legal process, providing you with aggressive representation from your first phone call to them through your trial and beyond.