If you’ve been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, this one-time mistake could have lasting consequences on your life and your livelihood. Law enforcement and the courts take DUI charges seriously in our state, and it’s important to know how a conviction might impact your permanent record.
Consequences of a DUI Conviction
If you are convicted of a DUI in Virginia, the criminal penalties could include:
- Jail time
- Suspension of your driver’s license
There are additional consequences that individuals are often forced to deal with if they’re convicted. You could have a mark on your criminal record that could affect employment opportunities, education loans, security clearances, housing and employment applications and more. It could impact your driving record, and could lead to increased insurance rates for quite some time.
Because a DUI is a Class 1 Misdemeanor in Virginia, the conviction will remain on your criminal record permanently. This record of conviction will not be removed after any length of time, nor can you pay to have it expunged.
The only way to keep the DUI off of your criminal record is to have one of the following dispositions entered in your case:
- To be found not guilty (acquitted)
- Charge “Nolle Prossed” – meaning the Commonwealth withdrew the charges against you
- Charges are dismissed
To put it plainly, the only way to ensure that the DUI will not remain on your permanent record is to avoid being convicted. It is recommended that you speak with an experienced Virginia DUI lawyer to discuss your rights and legal options for fighting back against the charges.
Possible Defenses Against DUI Charges
Virginia is tough on DUI offenders, even if it is a first-time offense. Fortunately, it is possible to challenge the arrest and potentially get the charges against you reduced or dropped. Some potential defenses include:
- Challenging the arresting officer’s reasonable suspicion
- Challenging breath, blood, or urine test results
- Challenging the administration and submission of field sobriety tests
- Challenging your involvement
- Challenging the location of the stop
- Offering other explanations for why you appeared to be intoxicated
While the consequences of a DUI conviction can be severe, an experienced attorney will work hard to mount a convincing defense on your behalf. It’s crucial to remember that the burden of proof rests on the prosecution. They must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are guilty to secure a conviction. Your lawyer only needs to introduce “reasonable doubt” to help put the prosecution’s case in question.
Arrested on Suspicion of DUI? Contact a Virginia DUI Attorney Now
The Virginia DUI attorneys of Shannon & Associates, P.C. provide aggressive representation for those who’ve been accused of driving under the influence in our community. Because Virginia courts can be harsh on DUI offenders, it’s crucial that you not try to handle your case alone. Also, know that you don’t have to plead guilty just because the punishments for a conviction seem severe. Instead, contact us to discuss your case and how we can help.
Our team has extensive experience helping people just like you avoid the harshest penalties that come with driving under the influence convictions. We’ll do everything in our power to help minimize the impact this arrest will have on your life.
Call us today at (757) 228-5529 or fill out a contact form to speak with one of our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers today during a confidential consultation.