Being charged with a DUI in Virginia is a misdemeanor offense that can result in stiff penalties and a permanent criminal record. However, if you have the assistance of an experienced DUI attorney, he may present strong defenses that can help get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. But you make his job harder and may limit your options if you make mistakes that hurt your case.
Five Common Mistakes to Avoid If Charged With a DUI
Many people who are arrested for a DUI have never been charged with any crime before and can make inadvertent mistakes out of ignorance or fear. You do not want to follow in their footsteps. Here are common errors to avoid:
- Not taking the charges seriously. One of the biggest mistakes is not taking the charges seriously. If you’re convicted of a first offense DUI, it’s a misdemeanor with penalties that include a $250 minimum fine, driver’s license suspension, and points on your driving record. Additionally, a DUI conviction stays on your criminal record, and a criminal record can negatively impact your life, including your ability to get a job and obtain a loan.
- Assuming that you don’t have a defense. If you know you were drinking and driving, you may not believe you have a defense to the charges. However, even if you are guilty, there are possible defenses to a DUI charge such as the police lacking probable cause to stop you, improper administering of your field sobriety or breathalyzer test, or violation of your constitutional rights. These defenses may result in the charges being dismissed or weaken the prosecutor’s case enough that the charges or penalties can be reduced.
- Hiring a lawyer based on his fees. While cost is a factor when deciding on which DUI attorney to retain, the most important considerations are his experience in these cases and whether he will aggressively fight the charges you face. You need a lawyer who has successfully handled many of these cases—including taking them to trial, if necessary.
- Not providing accurate information. You limit your lawyer’s ability to help if you do not provide him with accurate information. This is especially true about facts that you think may be harmful to your case. He will be at a serious disadvantage with the prosecutor if he discovers them when attending a court hearing on your behalf.
- Failing to attend court hearings. You must attend all required court hearings. If you fail to appear, the judge could issue a warrant for your arrest and revoke your bond. In addition, you may face more severe penalties at your sentencing.
Have you been arrested for a DUI in Virginia? Attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh is committed to providing you with an aggressive defense, so you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Call our office today to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss your situation and to learn about your legal options.