Being charged with and convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol in Virginia can have serious consequences. Indeed, even a first-time offense is a class 1 misdemeanor, which means that you could be facing fines of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail, not to mention that you will have a criminal record. To be sure, even if you have never faced any other criminal penalties in your life, a DWI/DUI conviction will mean that you have a criminal record that you may be required to disclose in various circumstances, and you could face limitations when it comes to eligibility for certain jobs or certain types of credit.
Accordingly, you need to do everything you can to beat the DWI/DUI charges you are facing. It is particularly important to work with an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Manassas since successful defense strategies need to be carefully tailored to the facts of your case. In the meantime, however, we want to tell you more about potential defenses that may be relevant to your DUI case in Virginia.
Breathalyzer Was Faulty
Although it may not happen often, a breathalyzer machine can be defective or faulty. You may know with certainty that you did not have any alcohol, or that you only took a few sips of a beer or glass of wine before getting behind the wheel, and that the breathalyzer results did not accurately reflect your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). It may be possible to prove that the breathalyzer machine was defective and that the results cannot be used against you. In some cases, the breathalyzer machine simply might not have been properly maintained.
Breathalyzer Test Was Improperly Administered
If a law enforcement officer administered the breathalyzer test but administered it inaccurately due to improper training on the device, the results may not be valid.
Fourth Amendment Violation
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. While you may not immediately realize that the Fourth Amendment is applicable to a DWI case, many successful defense strategies in DWI/DUI cases involve proving that a defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated. In order for a law enforcement officer to stop you on suspicion of a DUI, that law enforcement officer must have reasonable suspicion that you have violated the law. Then, in order to conduct a “search” of your person—including taking a breath or chemical test to determine whether you are intoxicated according to the law—the officer must have probable cause. If your Fourth Amendment rights were violated in your DUI, it may be possible to have the charges dismissed.
You Were Not Informed of Your Rights
If you were arrested for a DUI, the law requires that you be informed of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Under Miranda v. Arizona (1966), anyone who is in custody must be informed of their rights. If you were not read your Miranda rights, you could be eligible to have the charges dismissed.
Your Chemical Test Results Were Tainted
Whether you were subjected to a urine or blood test, there are various ways in which these test results can be tainted. If the sample was not properly taken from you or was improperly stored, it may be possible to argue that the results—which showed you had a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher—were tainted and cannot be used to convict you of a DUI in Virginia.
Contact a Virginia DUI Defense Attorney
Do you need assistance with your DUI defense? One of our experienced Manassas DUI defense attorneys can begin developing a defense strategy that is tailored to the specific facts of your case. Contact Leary Law for more information about our criminal defense services in Northern Virginia.