Driving while intoxicated (DWI), sometimes known as driving under the influence (or DUI), is a crime that is taken extremely seriously in Virginia. Under Virginia law (Code of Virginia § 18.2-266), it is unlawful to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. It is also unlawful to drive under the influence of alcohol regardless of the BAC, as well as under the influence of any other intoxicating drugs. In other words, a person can face DWI charges for driving under the influence even without a positive breathalyzer test. Upon conviction, the penalty for a first-time DWI conviction (Code of Virginia § 18.2-270) is a criminal record of a Class 1 misdemeanor offense, as well as a mandatory minimum fine of $250. For some first-time offenders, there is also mandatory jail time.
Given the seriousness of a DWI conviction in Virginia, it is extremely important to avoid a conviction. An experienced Richmond DWI defense attorney can help with your case. In the meantime, the following are five common defenses to DUI/DWI charges in Virginia.
Unlawful Stop and Search
In order to lawfully stop you and search you on suspicion of a DWI (with a “search” involving a breathalyzer or blood test), law enforcement officials must abide by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If there is no reasonable suspicion or probable cause for a stop or search, your Fourth Amendment rights may have been violated. In such a case, the DWI arrest may not be able to stand.
Faulty Breathalyzer Test
In some cases, the breathalyzer test may have been faulty. Your Virginia DUI/DWI defense can discuss options for proving that there was a defect in the breathalyzer test or that it inaccurately read a BAC above the legal limit.
Improperly Administered Breathalyzer or Blood Test
Law enforcement officials who administer breathalyzer and blood tests must be trained to administer these tests properly. If the law enforcement official was not properly trained to use the equipment, the results could be faulty.
Contaminated Blood Test
If you had a blood test taken to determine your BAC, it must be properly stored. If there is a possibility that the test was not stored properly or was contaminated with another sample, the results may not be used against you in a DUI/DWI case.
Rising Blood Alcohol
Law enforcement officials usually must show that you had a BAC above the legal limit at the time you were driving. If you were stopped, and the law enforcement official waited for quite some time before administering a breathalyzer test, rising blood alcohol could be the reason that the test showed a BAC above the legal limit.
Contact a DWI Defense Attorney in Richmond, VA
If you need help building a defense in your DUI/DWI case, an experienced and aggressive DWI defense lawyer in Richmond, VA can get started on your case today. We have years of experience serving clients in DWI defense cases. Contact Del Rio Law, PLLC to learn more about how we can assist you.