Charged with DUI? Get an Attorney with Trial Experience.
Our Norfolk, VA DUI defense lawyers will take back control
Have you been accused of driving under the influence (DUI) in Virginia? Were you arrested and charged with DUI in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, or another city in the Hampton Roads area? The penalties for a DUI conviction in Virginia can be serious. Your driver’s license could be suspended. You could be fined hundreds or thousands of dollars. You might even be sentenced to serve time in jail, resulting in a prison sentence that lasts several days, months or years. That’s why you need an experienced Norfolk DUI defense attorney to protect your rights.
In the past decade, more than 22,000 people each year have been convicted of DUI in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. That’s one DUI conviction every 23 minutes, every single day.
Before your life spirals out of control, you need to act fast. But what should you do? Who should you trust? You need someone who knows the law, understands how the legal system works in Virginia and can help you build a strong legal case in response to your DUI arrest. That’s why it’s critical that you talk to a skilled Virginia DUI defense attorney. That’s why you need Welch & Wright, PLLC on your side.
Our courtroom-tested, Norfolk, Virginia DUI defense lawyers have the knowledge and the skills you need to succeed. We thoroughly prepare every case for trial if necessary. And if you have to go to court, our skilled trial attorneys have extensive courtroom experience successfully handling DUI cases in the Hampton Roads area and throughout Virginia.
In case after case, our legal team consistently helps people charged with drunk driving achieve favorable outcomes on their terms – whether it’s having your DUI charge dismissed, receiving a reduced sentence, suspended jail time, a not guilty verdict, or another positive result. Our mission is simple – your freedom, on your terms.
- What happens after I’m arrested for DUI in Virginia?
- How can a Virginia DUI conviction change my life?
- Will I serve time in jail for a DUI conviction?
- What is the best DUI defense?
- Why are DUI charges dismissed?
- When should I contact a DUI attorney?
- How can a Virginia DUI lawyer help?
- Why hire Welch & Wright, PLLC?
Don’t take chances. Contact our Virginia DUI law firm.
Don’t underestimate the seriousness and the urgency of your Virginia DUI charge. The longer you wait to take legal action, the more difficult it can become to build a strong legal case. You might also miss out on opportunities and legal deadlines unique to Virginia.
The legal process can move quickly when it comes to DUI cases in Virginia. That’s why it’s critical that you have a lawyer familiar with Virginia Code, Section 18.2-266 and other laws that apply to your case.
Take the first step. Contact our law firm to learn more about your legal options. Schedule a free case evaluation with one of our skilled Norfolk, Virginia DUI defense lawyers. We can answer your questions, explain your options, and get right to work on your legal case.
What happens after I’m arrested for DUI in Virginia?
You may already know the answer to this question since you may have already been arrested and charged with DUI in Virginia. But it’s important to understand how the legal process works, especially if the arresting police officer did not follow standard police procedures after your DUI arrest. If that’s the case, you may have a strong legal case for having your DUI charges dismissed. But it’s no guarantee.
Normally, the legal process for individuals arrested for DUI in Virginia involves the following:
- You will likely be transported to the police station. This could be a local police station or Virginia State Police barracks if a state trooper arrested you.
- A DUI chemical test (usually a breath test or blood test) will likely be administered at the police station. This test is very important and will often determine whether or not you are charged with DUI.
- If your DUI chemical test indicates that you are legally intoxicated – meaning your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher – you will be required to appear before a Virginia magistrate. The magistrate will decide whether to charge you with a DUI and/or other applicable charges. You will appear before a Virginia magistrate in the judicial district where your arrest took place, and they are usually within the police station.
- The magistrate judge will also decide whether to release you or keep you in jail. A variety of factors can influence the magistrate’s decision, including your BAC level, the arresting police officer’s testimony, other relevant facts surrounding the arrest, and whether you have been previously convicted of a DUI or another crime.
- If the Virginia magistrate judge orders you to remain in jail, the court will then set an arraignment date, where you will make your first appearance before a general district court judge. This judge will reside in the jurisdiction where you were arrested. On the arraignment date, the general district court judge informs you about the charges against, the possibility of the imposition of an active jail sentence, and about your right to have an attorney represent you on the charge(s). Usually, a general district court judge will not address bond at the arraignment. The bond hearing usually must be scheduled by the attorney representing you.
- The reason bond is usually addressed at a formal bond hearing is due to the Commonwealth Attorney (also known as the prosecutor) who may need time to get more facts or call witnesses to testify at the bond hearing. The Commonwealth Attorney has the ability to agree to bond with you and your attorney, or the two sides will present limited evidence to determine whether bond should be granted.
- Whether you will be granted bond is determined by the general district court judge who must weigh whether you are a danger to society and/or a flight risk against how much damage will be done to you, your livelihood, and your family if you are to remain held on bail. Bond is granted in most DUI cases, where other serious charges weren’t also brought out, and where no one was injured.
- Once both sides have introduced evidence and argued why bond should or should not be granted, the judge makes their determination. The bond usually has a monetary value attached that is required to be paid in order for you to be released. This money is generally returned once you have shown up in court. The court may also order other bond conditions, such as the requirement for you to wear an alcohol monitor during a specified period of time.
- If a magistrate or general district court judge sets a bond that you cannot afford to pay, you can contact a bail bond agent, sometimes called a bail bondsman. They can pay your bail, provided you can pay 10 percent of your bond amount.
- Most DUI cases in Virginia are handled by a judge in a General District Court. However, if you have been charged with a felony DUI, your legal case may be handled by a judge in a Virginia Circuit Court.
Throughout the process, you should have an experienced Virginia DUI defense lawyer representing you in court. That’s why you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible after your DUI arrest. Your rights and your future could be on the line. Having a Virginia DUI defense attorney on your side who knows the law can make a dramatic difference.
How can a Virginia DUI conviction change my life?
If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving in Virginia, the penalties can be very severe, especially if this is your second DUI conviction or third DUI conviction within the past five years or past 10 years. Such penalties can include having your driver’s license suspended, mandatory fines, mandatory jail time and being required to install and calibrate an ignition interlock device at your own expense.
But that may be just the start. If you drive for a living – whether it’s working as a school bus driver or truck driver with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) – you might not be able to do such work for several years or can even be banned for life. Other employers might not hire you as well if you have a DUI conviction. And unless you have your DUI conviction expunged from your criminal record, it will remain there forever.
And be prepared to pay a lot more money for car insurance if you have a DUI conviction. On average, drivers convicted of DUI in Virginia pay roughly 79 percent more for car insurance since you will be considered a high-risk driver, according to a study conducted by Money Geek.
Will I serve time in jail for a DUI conviction?
The short answer? Perhaps. Whether or not you will serve time in jail depends on many different factors, including your age, your BAC level at the time of your arrest and whether it’s your first DUI conviction or a subsequent DUI offense.
Some DUI charges – including a second DUI conviction and third DUI conviction – in Virginia have mandatory minimum sentences, which means you must serve a minimum amount of time in jail for your DUI conviction.
However, you might not have to serve as much time in jail if you receive a suspended prison sentence. There are two types of jail time – active jail time and suspended jail time. Active jail time must be served in jail. Suspended jail time does not have to be served as long as you follow the court’s orders. If you fail to follow the court’s orders, your suspended jail time can be revoked, and you may have to serve active jail time in a prison.
What is the best DUI defense?
We hear this question a lot at our DUI law firm. The truth is there’s not one single correct answer. Every case is different. However, in most cases, the key to building a successful and strong DUI defense comes down to one thing – evidence. The more evidence you have in support of your case, the better your ability to have your charges dropped or dismissed.
That may include evidence that the arresting police officer did not have the right to legally stop your vehicle. If the arresting police officer did not have a reasonable suspicion of a violation, your DUI case should be dismissed.
The evidence gathered during your DUI arrest might also be flawed. For example, the breathalyzer used to administer your DUI breath test might have been defective. Or perhaps the arresting police officer administered your DUI breath test wrong or improperly stored your DUI breath, blood, or urine test results.
Sometimes the lack of evidence for the police officer and the prosecutor can be a big problem for their case and can sometimes lead to charges being dismissed. It takes an attorney experienced in DUI law to assess a case and determine whether enough evidence even exists for the case to move forward.
Whatever the circumstances, our law firm will carefully review all the evidence and work to build the strongest possible DUI defense on your behalf. Such evidence can include DUI breathalyzer test results, police dash cam footage or video footage recorded by an eyewitness showing that the arresting police officer did not follow standard police procedures.
Why are DUI charges dismissed?
Your DUI charges may be dismissed for a variety of reasons, including:
- DUI evidence was illegally obtained, for instance, if the arresting police officer did not have reasonable suspicion to arrest you in the first place.
- The arresting police officer violated your rights, including failing to read your legal rights (often known as a Miranda warning), searching you or your vehicle without probable cause.
- An improperly administered blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test.
- DUI evidence was improperly stored or had chain-of-custody issues.
- The device used to measure your BAC was defective or not properly maintained, resulting in a false positive or inaccurate BAC test result.
- A medical condition or other factors resulted in an inaccurate BAC test. For example, if you have acid reflux, heartburn or are taking certain medications, your breathalyzer test results might not be accurate.
These are just some of the ways that your DUI charges might be dismissed, perhaps even before going to trial. That’s why it’s important that you talk to an experienced Virginia DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
When should I contact a DUI attorney?
The sooner you contact a Virginia DUI defense lawyer, the better. The legal process after being arrested and charged with DUI in Virginia can move very fast. Experienced attorneys know this and can start investigating your case right away. This is especially important if you are in jail immediately after your arrest or after appearing before a magistrate judge and being formally charged with DUI. Whatever stage you are at after your DUI arrest in Virginia, your attorney can start building a strong legal case on your behalf.
How can a Virginia DUI lawyer help?
Experienced Virginia DUI defense attorneys understand how the legal system works in Virginia. This is critical because every state’s legal system is different. That’s why you need someone who can help you skillfully navigate this network of courthouses and police stations in Virginia Beach or Newport News or wherever your DUI arrest took place. Otherwise, you could miss out on opportunities to have your DUI charges dropped or dismissed.
And if you are in jail or had your driver’s license suspended, your Virginia DUI defense lawyer can work to have you released from jail or have your driver’s license restored. That’s why you need a skilled attorney in your corner, looking out for your best interests.
Why hire Welch & Wright, PLLC?
Our attorneys have a well-earned reputation for consistently producing positive results, especially when it comes to DUI defense cases in Virginia. The secret to our success is simple – we aggressively investigate every legal case we handle at Welch & Wright, PLLC. And because we are not a large, corporate law firm, our lawyers can give your case the personalized attention it rightfully deserves. That’s why we regularly receive great reviews from our clients. Our testimonials and our case results speak for themselves.