Alcohol abstinence ordered for many convicted in Fairfax DUI prosecutions
Alcohol abstinence can be an unexpectedly unpleasant surprise for those convicted in Fairfax DUI prosecutions
Alcohol abstinence mandates after leaving court with a Fairfax DUI conviction (and maybe even a wet reckless driving conviction) can feel like an insult after already suffering the unpleasantness of such a case outcome. As a Fairfax DWI lawyer, I know that more serious than this being merely an insult, breaching such a requirement can land the convicted defendant in court for a probation violation / show cause hearing, where the risk — if the hearing is lost — is imposition of up to the maximum of the suspended jail time and fine, and withdrawal of restricted driving privileges. All of this makes it all the more important to have a qualified attorney for your Fairfax driving under the influence case.
What does the Fairfax alcohol abstinence standing order say?
In September 2019, the Fairfax County, Virginia, chief judge of the General District Court issued a standing alcohol abstinence order requiring: mandates: “PURSUANT TO §18.2-271.1, §19.2-299.2, §19.2-303 and §19.2-306 of the Code of Virginia, defendants referred to the Alcohol Safety Action Program, who after consideration of an initial screening using the designated VASAP diagnostic tools, a review of client self-reported information, arrest information and criminal history, are found to be more than a low risk to recidivate are hereby ORDERED to remain abstinent from the use of drugs (except as prescribed by a physician) and alcohol as a term of good behavior and their ASAP probation unless otherwise noted on the case disposition.”
When will VASAP tell me to sign a pledge to remain alcohol-free?
Did this alcohol abstinence standing order arise from the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) asking the court for it, or from another factor or set of factors? Regardless, being ordered not to sip even a drop of beer, wine or alcohol is like pouring salt in the wounds of a Virginia DUI conviction under § 18.2-266. Do not be surprised if asking you to sign a pledge for such abstinence is one of the first demands on you from VASAP, and maybe only days after your conviction.
What effective approach can I take to challenge a VASAP order to spend a year without beer, wine or alcohol?
When VASAP waits no longer than a few days after your Virginia DUI or wet reckless conviction to order you to comply with alcohol abstinence, that may suggest a premature determination by VASAP about whether you should really be required to not touch even a drop of beer, wine or alcohol. Let us reconsider the main provision of this General District Court standing order: Convicted defendants who “are found to be more than a low risk to recidivate are hereby ORDERED to remain abstinent from the use of drugs (except as prescribed by a physician) and alcohol as a term of good behavior and their ASAP probation unless otherwise noted on the case disposition.” How can you avoid being found to be “more than a low risk” to recidivate? For one thing, in advance of your Fairfax DUI trial date, you can seek an evaluation from a state-licensed alcohol program, that hopefully scores you at a level zero to three (non-drinker or social drinker) as a score for the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST score). Also importantly is to have your Virginia DWI defense lawyer ready to go to bat for you to remove any alcohol abstinence order.
Fairfax DUI lawyer Jonathan Katz drives hard for your best defense against Virginia DWI, felony and misdemeanor prosecutions. You will leave your initial free- in-person confidential consultation with Jon Katz significantly more knowledgeable and confident about your case defenses and possibilities. Give us a call today at 703-383-1100 to book your free confidential consultation with Jon Katz.