Is it worth fighting a DUI charge?

If you’re facing a charge for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you have the right to a defense. However, the idea of going to court to fight a DUI charge can be intimidating, and many people wonder if it’s worth the time, effort, and money.

There’s no easy answer here — it depends on your unique situation. Generally speaking though, it is often worth it to fight a DUI charge. The consequences of a DUI conviction can be steep, and there may be defenses available that you are not aware of.

Continue reading to learn more, then contact Select Law Partners PLLC to discuss your case with a Virginia criminal defense attorney.

fighting dui charges

What’s at stake when facing a DUI charge?

Under Virginia law, a first-time DUI offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This means that a DUI is a criminal offense — not just a traffic violation. As a result, the consequences of a first-offense conviction include a mandatory minimum fine of $250 and driver’s license revocation for up to one year.

First offenses with a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of at least .15% and any subsequent offenses can result in heavier fines, longer license revocation periods, and even mandatory jail sentences.

Social and professional penalties

In addition to those formal penalties, a DUI conviction can also affect your employment, housing, and educational prospects. The conviction will remain on your criminal record, which means that it will appear on background checks run by potential employers, academic programs, and landlords. Additionally, a court can require attendance at Alcohol Safety Action Program (“ASAP”) classes and the installation of an ignition interlock device if it issues a defendant a restricted driver’s license upon conviction.

What are your options for fighting a DUI charge?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may have options for fighting a DUI charge, which could allow you to preserve your driving privileges, pay a reduced fine, minimize your jail sentence, or even avoid a criminal record altogether. Below are some examples of how to fight a DUI charge.

Proving illegal traffic stop or arrest

In some cases, it may be possible to challenge the legality of the traffic stop or the arrest. A traffic stop or an arrest is justified only when the officer has reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity.

If your attorney can prove that the officer lacked such suspicion when pulling you over or arresting you, all evidence gathered after the fact may be deemed inadmissible. Without this evidence, the prosecutor’s case may fall apart.

Challenging the sobriety test

Other charges may be fought on the grounds of a faulty breathalyzer test or by challenging the accuracy of field sobriety tests. Breathalyzer tests are complex pieces of equipment, and they must be maintained properly and calibrated regularly to be deemed accurate by a court.

Likewise, field sobriety tests (FSTs) which measure a driver’s coordination, can be compromised by factors such as the surface on which they’re performed and the officer’s training. Flaws in either of these tests may be grounds to have the charges reduced or dismissed.

Plea bargaining

It may also be possible to negotiate a plea bargain. This involves pleading guilty to a lesser charge, often a reduced-level misdemeanor with less severe penalties. Prosecutors may be willing to reduce the charges in exchange for a guilty plea if there is any uncertainty about their ability to secure a conviction for the full charge or if the defendant shows mitigating circumstances.

These strategies demonstrate why it’s worth it to consult with a DUI attorney to discuss your options. Fighting a DUI charge can pay off if you have the right legal counsel by your side.

Our DUI lawyers are here for you

You should never move forward with a DUI case without first exploring your options with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The risks of a DUI conviction are too high to face without legal counsel, and an experienced attorney can give you the best chance of securing a favorable outcome.

When you consult with a Fairfax DUI lawyer at Select Law Partners PLLC, we’ll review the details of your case and help you understand your defense options. From there, we can weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each approach to help you make an informed decision about how to move forward.

Don’t face a DUI charge alone — contact us today at (855) 541-4867 to get the experienced legal counsel you need to fight DUI charges. We’re here to help.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

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