Being found guilty of driving while intoxicated in Virginia is a serious crime that carries significant and lasting penalties. If you are convicted of drunk driving, you could be fined, have your driver’s license revoked, and possibly be sentenced to jail time.
Common tools police use in Virginia are Breathalyzer and chemical blood tests. These tests may seem foolproof, but if the machines used in these tests are not properly calibrated or evidence is mishandled, police could obtain a false test result. If you have been charged with DUI in Virginia, you do not want to take the chance of being convicted based on a bad test.
Challenging test results in DUI cases is just one of the criminal defense services we provide at Shannon & Associates. Our Virginia Beach DUI defense lawyers have more than 25 years of combined experience and know-how to show how a DUI test could have registered a false reading. We are here to defend your rights if you have been accused of DUI, so contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
Virginia DUI Laws
Technically, Virginia law does not use the term “driving under the influence.” Instead, “driving while intoxicated” is the official charge, though police and prosecutors often use the two terms interchangeably. Regardless, Virginia laws provide two ways in which a driver can be charged with DUI:
- Chemical tests — The most common way someone is charged with DUI in Virginia is if they register a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher. Any driver found with a BAC of 0.08 or above can be charged with DUI per se, meaning you are considered intoxicated even if you believe your driving performance was not affected.
- Field evidence — A driver does not necessarily have to register a BAC of 0.08 or higher to be charged with DUI. Virginia law says a driver can be charged with DUI if they have consumed any amount of alcohol, and it affects their ability to operate their vehicle safely.
Because field evidence is less reliable, police and prosecutors usually rely on chemical tests in Virginia DUI cases. However, these tests are not 100 percent accurate, and an experienced defense lawyer can challenge these test results to keep you from being convicted of DUI.
Ways to Challenge a Breath or Chemical Test in Virginia DUI Cases
There are a few common strategies to challenge a BAC test in a DUI case:
- The testing kit was expired — If the components of a DUI test kit have expired, the test may produce an inaccurate result.
- The sample was contaminated — The alcohol swab commonly used as a disinfectant as part of a DUI test can contaminate the test sample, producing a higher alcohol concentration than is actually in the sample.
- The sample container was not sealed properly or was tampered with — The container used to hold a driver’s blood sample for a DUI test needs to be sealed properly to prevent contamination. If the container is not sealed correctly or is otherwise tampered with, the test could yield a false result.
- The sample was not mixed properly — DUI tests are supposed to follow a specific formula based on a certain volume of the subject’s blood. If this formula is not followed, the test result may not be accurate.
- Discrepancies in test results — Police are supposed to provide you or your lawyer with a second blood sample in DUI cases to verify the initial test result. If this second sample is sent to an independent lab and comes back with a different result from the first test, the result of the first test could be thrown out.
Contact a Virginia Beach DUI Defense Lawyer Today
An experienced DUI defense attorney in Virginia Beach can help protect your rights by showing how chemical or breath test results may be inaccurate. You do not want to go to jail due to a faulty test, so contact Shannon & Associates today to learn more about how we can help with your DUI case.