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Driving Under the Influence/DUI

Fairfax DUI/DWI Defense Lawyer

At the Law Office of Robert T. Dearborn, we have extensive experience defending clients charged with driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI). In addition, attorney Dearborn has defended over 5,000 clients charged with criminal traffic violations in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Frequently Asked Questions About DUI/DWI

Q: What is "blood-alcohol concentration" or "blood-alcohol level"?

A: Blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is the level of alcohol in the bloodstream from drinking alcoholic beverages and BAC readings are used in court as evidence. The most common method of measure is a breath test, although blood testing is sometimes done. A result of .08 or higher may establish a presumption of intoxication. Usually, if the BAC is .08 or higher, there is a legal presumption that the driver or operator of a vehicle was under the influence. This is another reason to call attorney Dearborn to set up a free half-hour consultation to discuss your case.

Q: Can I refuse a Breathalyzer® test?

A: Every state has its own version of an implied consent law providing that a driver impliedly consents to alcohol testing just by the act of driving. In Virginia, a refusal to take a breath test is itself a Class 1 misdemeanor or criminal violation resulting in a mandatory one-year loss of license with no possibility of a restricted driver's license. Usually a refusal charge is coupled with a DUI charge. These are serious matters; to set up a free half-hour consultation to discuss your case, contact attorney Dearborn.

Even a first offense with low blood alcohol content (BAC) may be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. You want an experienced and knowledgeable DUI/DWI lawyer on your side so you can fight for a fair disposition of the case.

Serious Civil and Criminal Penalties

In Virginia a driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI) conviction entails both criminal and civil penalties, which can include:

  • Loss or suspension of license for up to three years
  • Large fines up to $2,500
  • Mandatory substance-abuse treatment
  • Mandatory jail time
  • Restitution
  • A criminal record

In addition, a DUI/DWI conviction - the Commonwealth's declaration that one is a "drunk driver" - may carry long-lasting effects on your career or a social stigma.

Various Names

The offense of "drunk driving" may be known by many names, including but not limited to:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
  • Operating under the influence (OUI)
  • Operating while intoxicated (OWI)
  • Driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII)
  • Driving while under the influence (DWUI)

Similar Requirements

Although it may be known by many names, most states have similar requirements that must be proven in order to convict, including:

  • Control - "Driving" or "operating" implies that the alleged offender must have been in control of the vehicle. What is considered "control" over the vehicle may vary according to the state and the particular circumstances, including whether the defendant was in the driver's seat, awake, in possession of the keys, whether the vehicle was running or out of gas, or other considerations.
  • Vehicle - In some cases, operation extends beyond cars, trucks, motorcycles and vans. You may wish to meet with attorney Dearborn to discuss whether motorboats, mopeds, snowmobiles, electric wheelchairs, golf carts or all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are included in the offense definition.
  • Intoxication - Police gather evidence of intoxication using field-sobriety tests (FSTs), including finger-to-nose, one-legged stand, walk-and-turn, horizontal-gaze-nystagmus, counting backward or reciting the alphabet tests. In addition, scientific tests, including the Breathalyzer®, may be administered. In every state, a person with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher is considered legally intoxicated.

If you've been stopped for, arrested for or charged with drunk driving, it is in your best interest to discuss your options and rights as soon as possible with an experienced criminal-defense attorney. DUI/DWI laws are complex and the guidance of a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer can put your mind at ease that your case is being handled competently and your rights are being aggressively defended.

Contact the Law Office of Robert T. Dearborn. Phone us at 703-350-4804 or E-mail for free initial half-hour consultation to discuss the specifics of your case.

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Robert T. Dearborn Law Office
10523A West Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
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