A DUI or DWI is a serious offense under Virginia law (Code of Virginia § 18.2-266) that comes with serious penalties (Code of Virginia § 18.2-270) upon conviction. Given that you could face a substantial penalty, a driver’s license suspension, and jail time, it is important to do everything you can to avoid giving the police evidence to use against you in your case. In other words, you should know what to do if you are stopped on suspicion of a DUI/DWI to ensure that you are able to present a strong defense in the event you are arrested. At the same time, it is important to know what you should not do if you are stopped on suspicion of a DUI/DWI in Virginia.
The following are some “dos” and “don’ts” if you are stopped for a DUI/DWI in Virginia. If you are charged with a DWI, you should begin working on your defense with a Richmond DWI defense attorney as soon as possible.
Do Pull Over Appropriately If You Are Being Stopped
If you are being stopped, pull over as soon as possible to a safe area. Attempting to avoid stopping if you are being pulled over by law enforcement officials can result in additional charges.
Do Remain Calm and Answer Questions Factually
Remain as calm as possible. If you are asked to provide factual information, such as your name and identification, do so.
Do Know That You Do Not Need to Submit to a Search If You Are Asked
Law enforcement officials need to have probable cause to search your vehicle. If you are stopped and the police ask if they can search your car, you do not need to give permission for a search.
Don’t Refuse a Breathalyzer Test
If you refuse a breathalyzer or a blood test, also known as a chemical test, you can face additional penalties under Virginia law (Code of Virginia § 18.2-268.3). Even if you do not have a BAC over the legal limit, refusing a breathalyzer or blood test will result in the suspension of driving privileges for one year. If you have refused a chemical test in the last 10 years, a subsequent offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Don’t Provide Subjective Information—Only State the Facts
Avoid offering your opinion, or any extraneous information, if you are stopped on suspicion of a DUI/DWI. The police may be able to use your language against you in a DUI/DWI case.
Seek Advice from a Richmond DWI/DUI Defense Lawyer
Facing DWI charges in Virginia should be taken extremely seriously. If you are convicted, you can face jail time even for a first offense. Moreover, you will have a criminal record. As such, it may be difficult to get certain jobs or even to be eligible for certain types of loans. You should not attempt to work on your defense without an experienced Virginia DWI defense attorney. We tailor defense strategies to the facts of each client’s case, and we can begin working on yours today. Contact Del Rio Law, PLLC for more information about how we can assist you.