Fairfax, Fauquier & Prince William County DUI Attorney
Have you been charged with a first offense DUI? It’s scary to see flashing lights in your rearview mirror, let alone pulled over by the police, questioned, arrested, and required to take a breath, blood, or urine test. After the police release you, you’re probably wondering what you should do next.
If this is your first run-in with the law, you need help. You face tough penalties if convicted, including a permanent criminal record that can impact your future. The best thing you can do is call a Virginia DUI attorney from the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone when you’re dealing with a 1st offense DUI charge. Contact the firm today to schedule your free case evaluation!
When the Police Can Arrest You for a DUI
Under the Code of Virginia, § 18.2-266, it is illegal to drive or operate any vehicle if:
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above 0.08%,
- You are under the influence of alcohol,
- You are under the influence of a drug, or
- You are impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol.
The legal limit for the average driver is 0.08. But if you have your commercial driver’s license and are driving a commercial vehicle, your limit is 0.04. If you’re under 21 years old, your legal limit is 0.02.
What Is a First-Offense DUI?
A first offense DUI might be the first time you have ever been arrested for drunk driving.
Virginia has a 10-year look-back period. When the police arrest you for a DUI, they look back 10 years for any previous DUI convictions. If you were previously convicted of a DUI more than 10 years ago, this new arrest is still a first offense DUI.
If you’ve had one or more DUI convictions in the past 10 years, then you face a harsher charge. We can help with multiple DUI convictions.
Virginia’s Implied Consent Law
Virginia has what’s called an implied consent law, which means by driving in the state, you have already agreed to alcohol or drug testing if the police arrest you for a DUI/DWI offense. If you refuse a breath, urine, or blood test after a DUI arrest, you face additional consequences, including a one-year administrative driver license suspension for a first-time offense.
This law applies to official chemical testing after your arrest, not a roadside breath test during your traffic stop. You can refuse to take the preliminary breath test during a traffic stop without fear of being punished.
Field Sobriety Tests
Virginia’s implied consent law doesn’t apply to field sobriety tests, like the walk-and-turn test.
The police might make it seem like complying with these tests is mandatory. It is not. You can and probably should refuse. But if you did take one or more tests during a traffic stop, do not panic. Call a Virginia first-time DUI lawyer for help. We can defend against the results.
First-Time DUI Penalties
The possible penalties for conviction on a first offense DUI could include up to one year in jail, fines as high as $2,500, and a driver’s license suspension for one year. If you have a high BAC over 0.15, you face a minimum of 5 days in jail and a minimum of 10 days if your BAC is over .20
With the help of a DUI attorney in Virginia, you can avoid jail time.
First Time Misdemeanor Charges for DUI in Virginia: Your Options
The legal team at the Law Offices of Michael Pignone will explore every possible strategy that could lead to achieving an acquittal or getting the charges dismissed or reduced. Keeping your driving record and criminal record clear of a DUI conviction is important to your future.
You can discuss the circumstances of your arrest and get more detailed information from an experienced attorney by calling or using the online form to schedule an initial consultation.