The Town of Vienna can be a fun place due to its atmosphere and quaint charm. It has a lot of specialty shops, restaurants, bars, and is near Tyson's Corner. As a result, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges in the Town of Vienna are quite common due to the nearby attractions. If you receive a DUI charge, the case will be heard at the Vienna Town Hall,127 Center St. S Vienna, VA 22180 and is prosecuted by the Town Attorney. It is important to hire a DUI Lawyer that regularly handles DUI cases in Vienna so you can fight your charge as much as possible. We have handles hundreds of DUIs and offer a free consultation to discuss your case. You can give us a call or use the contact form and our DUI Lawyer will discuss your case with you.
DUI Process in the Town of Vienna, Virginia
If you get stopped by a Town of Vienna Police Officer, their investigation is already underway. They may smell alcohol on your breath or suspect drug use if you are acting strange. You can usually sense where they are going with their investigation by the questions they ask. Many will ask if you have had anything to drink or taken an medication that is either prescribed or not prescribed. The police officer is not only listening to your answer but is also listening for any speech or neuromotor issues.
If the police officer suspects alcohol or drug use, they will likely order you out of the vehicle and ask that you take field sobriety tests. While you have the right to refuse these tests, the police are under no legal obligation to inform you of this. Rather, they will simply ask you to take some tests to see if you are safe to drive home. Most people will agree to take the field sobriety tests so they don't seem extra suspicious. Unfortunately, these sobriety tests typically only hurt the case down the line in court.
Following the field sobriety tests the police officer will offer a preliminary breath test ("PBT"). They will advise that you have the right to refuse the test and it can't be used against you in court. It should be noted that it can be used against you in court if you and your DUI Lawyer decide to challenge probable cause for the arrest. Many people refuse this test and should refuse so that you don't provide any further evidence for the police.
If the police officer believes they have probable cause for a DUI, they will arrest you for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is at this point you will be taken in a breath test or blood test. A breath test will tell the officer immediately your blood-alcohol level. However, if the officer believes there are drugs in your system, they will request a blood test. The results of any blood test are not generally released for weeks afterwards since it takes time to have the blood analyzed by a lab technician. In most cases you will be then be held in jail overnight and released the next morning once it's determined you are sober. You will also now have your court date to be heard in the Town of Vienna courthouse.
Once released from jail, it is now time to contact a Vienna DUI Lawyer. It is recommended that you speak to a few attorneys so you can get pricing and have any questions answered. You will want to hire the lawyer before your first court date so that your lawyer can start discovery and the negotiation process with the Vienna Town Attorney on the first court date. While most cases are not resolved on the first court date, we can generally start to see where the case is headed whether it be for trial or by plea. In most cases the first court date is also where we receive discovery which typically comprises of the police report and any cruiser video or bodycam of the incident. The case is then continued for trial so that we can review the evidence and start preparing a defense.
Defending Your DUI Case in Vienna
Once we have had an opportunity to review the case, we can start preparing a defense to your case. Every case is different and we have never had two cases that were alike. However, we do look for certain time-tested issues in every case:
- The reason for the stop by the police officer.
- Were the field sobriety tests offered correctly by the officer and consented to by the client.
- How did the client perform on the field sobriety tests.
- Did the police officer ultimately have an objective basis for probable cause for the arrest.
- Were the procedures followed correctly in administering the breath or blood test.
- If it is an accident case, can the police prove the client was under the influence at the actual time of the accident.
After a thorough review of the evidence we can now gauge how a case looks for our client. In some cases this may mean a trial is warranted and winnable. In other cases, the facts are not as favorable so a plea deal may be appropriate in order to avoid jail time or, perhaps, to have the DUI charge lowered by the Vienna Town Attorney. In any case, it is important your DUI Lawyer has you prepared so you know what to expect from your case.
DUI Penalties in the Town of Vienna
The Town of Vienna follows the Virginia Code so most penalties for a DUI are by statute. A first offense or second offense DUI conviction in Vienna is a Class 1 Misdemeanor pursuant to Virginia code §18.2-270. In addition, there are certain statutory penalties involved. This means there isn't much flexibility by the Judge. By contrast, the Vienna Town Attorney has more discretion in DUI cases. However, even there, their discretion to reduce or dismiss DUI cases is limited. It is therefore important for your DUI Lawyer to prepare for both negotiation and for trial in every Vienna DUI case.
First Offense DUI in the Town of Vienna
A first offense DUI in Vienna carries the possibility of up to 12 months in jail, 1 year loss of privilege to drive, and $2500 fine for a DUI. In most cases, the Judge will not issue a lengthy jail sentence and such a high fine. The 1 year loss of privilege to drive is mandatory by statute however. The Judge cannot by law reduce the period of this suspension. The Judge does have the discretion to issue a restricted license so that you can still drive to work. Any restricted license issued will require installation of ignition interlock. Finally, the Judge will order completion of the Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) and a $250 to $300 fine. After one year and successful completion of ASAP you will be eligible for full reinstatement of your privilege to drive.
Second Offense DUI in the Town of Vienna
A second offense DUI conviction in Vienna is also a Class 1 Misdemeanor. However, there are harsher punishments in Vienna because the Virginia Code requires an active jail sentence for a second offense DUI. Depending on the blood-alcohol level the jail time can range from 10 days to 40 days to serve. Additionally, there is 3 year loss of privilege to drive. A restricted license cannot be issued right away and you must wait 4-6 months before a Judge will issue a restricted license for a second offense DUI. As with a first offense DUI, the Judge will order ASAP and a minimum of a $500 fine. After three years and successful completion of ASAP you will be eligible for full reinstatement of your privilege to drive.
Third Offense DUI in the Town of Vienna
A third offense DUI conviction that occurs in Vienna is a Class 6 Felony. There is mandatory jail time that will span many months and a permanently revoked privilege to drive. Specifically, the Judge has the discretion to sentence an individual up to 5 years in prison, $2500 fine, and revoke their privilege to drive for a felony DUI. Due to the charge being a felony, the case won't be handled by the Vienna Town Attorney but, rather, a Fairfax County Prosecutor and heard in the Fairfax County General District Court. The stakes are much higher in these cases.
Hiring a Vienna DUI Lawyer
The good news is that your DUI case will not last forever. There are consequences that you may have to face but they are temporary for the most part and a DUI Lawyer can help you navigate your way through the case and give you the best chance at a favorable outcome. Even the worst DUI cases can be handled in such a way to minimize the loss of freedom and other driving privileges. DUI charges in the Town of Vienna are common but our clients lives are complicated and important. Our goal is to get our clients the best possible outcome and help them move on with their lives.