Driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia is a serious offense, but it is typically a misdemeanor, which is the lesser offense between it and a felony. When you are accused of causing an accident and injuring someone while also allegedly driving under the influence, then the charge is classified as a felony – and that matters for many reasons. First, it means possible prison and steep fines if convicted. Second, it means a whole slew of collateral consequences.
It is very important to contact an experienced, resourceful DUI accident attorney in the Virginia/D.C. metro area when charged with DUI accident. Your attorney will not only have to know the law inside out and the court system inside out but must also understand the technical and scientific aspects of these charges.
S.L. England, trusted DUI/DWI attorney in the D.C. and Virginia metro area, has the experience, knowledge, and insight. He will review your case, advise you of your options, and develop a defense strategy according to the facts and circumstances of your case. Contact his law office today at (202) 489-0720.
What is the offense known as DUI Injury Accident in Virginia?
When a person is charged with a DUI and is accused of causing an accident and injuring someone, this offense is actually called maiming of another resulting from driving while intoxicated. The offense is governed by Code of Virginia § 18.2-51.4, which states:
A. Any person who, as a result of driving while intoxicated in violation of § 18.2-266 or any local ordinance substantially similar thereto in a manner so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life, unintentionally causes the serious bodily injury of another person is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
B. Any person who, as a result of driving while intoxicated in violation of § 18.2-266 or any local ordinance substantially similar thereto in a manner so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life, unintentionally causes the serious bodily injury of another person resulting in permanent and significant physical impairment is guilty of a Class 4 felony.
Thus, as mentioned already, instead of facing a misdemeanor, you could be facing a felony. To cause an injury, however, and importantly, is not enough to return a guilty verdict. The injury must be "serious." Serious bodily injury is defined by this statute as meaning bodily injury involving:
- substantial risk of death;
- extreme physical pain;
- protracted and obvious disfigurement; or
- protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.
What are the penalties for a conviction of a DUI Injury Accident offense in Virginia?
Depending on the person's injuries: serious bodily injury versus permanent and significant physical impairment, you face a Class 6 felony or Class 4 felony, respectively. Per the Code of Virginia § 18.2-10, punishment for a conviction are as follows:
- A Class 6 felony can result in a prison sentence between one and five years, or – at the discretion of the jury or judge when the case is tried with no jury – a jail sentence of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
- A Class 4 felony can result in a prison term between two and ten years and/or a fine not more than $100,000.
If convicted, your driver's license will also be revoked.
Are there defenses to a DUI Injury Accident Charge in Virginia?
Fighting a DUI maiming charge will depend largely on the facts and circumstances, but a defense here is usually in two parts: defending against the DUI and defending against causing the accident. It is possible to have been unlawfully intoxicated but not have caused the accident or to have caused the accident but not have been illegally intoxicated.
Your DUI defense could include things like:
- challenging the results of breath or blood tests;
- highlighting process mistakes made in the handling of breath or blood samples;
- providing an accident reconstruction report showing you did not cause the accident;
- proving the injuries were not of a serious or permanent nature as required by the code; and, among other possibilities,
- filing motions to suppress or exclude evidence based on constitutional violations.
Contact Trusted DUI/DWI Attorney in the D.C./Virginia Metro Area
If you have been charged with DUI maiming in Virginia, you need to seek competent legal representation. The charge is a serious one and can mean years in prison and steep fines if convicted. Do not take any chances on your freedom; contact S.L. England, PLLC today.