Insurance - Fairfax DUI Lawyer Weighs in
Insurance comes into play when convicted under Virginia's DWI law, and if an accident took place, says Fairfax DUI lawyer
Insurance comes into play not only if you are convicted under Virginia DWI law, but also if an automobile accident took place. As a Fairfax DUI lawyer, I repeatedly field questions from clients and potential clients about car insurance (CI) issues related to their prosecutions alleging drunk driving/driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although I am not a CI attorney -- I am a Virginia criminal defense lawyer -- I understand that if you want CI coverage for a car accident (for your car, other property, and anyone claiming injury), that you will want timely to report the incident to your car insurer. Your insurer may wish to take an audio-recorded statement from you about the incident. At no extra charge to my Virginia DUI clients, I make myself available to be present for such a statement -- around my calendar -- to assure you are following my advice to not answer questions about whether alcohol or drugs were involved in the incident. Even if the chances are remote that the Virginia commonwealth's attorney's / prosecutor's office in your case will seek and obtain a copy of that recorded statement, why leave to chance that anything you say in that statement will come back to bite you in the back?
What intelligence can I get from my car insurance company to assist my Virginia DUI defense?
You pay significant money for your car insurance, and should not hesitate to seek your money's worth from your insurer to assist in your Virginia DUI defense. If your car was towed away from the scene, your car insurer may have more reliable pictures of the property damage to your automobile than you were able to take at the scene. You should be able to obtain that from your insurer. You also do not want to wait until your Virginia DWI trial date to know what property damage and physical injury are being claimed by those in the other car(s) in the incident. Your car insurer should at least tell you the total dollar amount that has been paid for property damage as to each owner and as to physical injury for each person. If any person claims bodily injury, ask if they have a lawyer and the name and contact information of that attorney. The lawyers rules of professional conduct make it important for me to communicate to that lawyer rather than to their client if I want any information about their alleged injury or property damage.
Why is it important to know about alleged property damage and physical injury from a collision on your Virginia DUI incident date?
Like it or not, a judge may sentence a convicted Virginia DUI defendant more harshly if (1) a collision was involved and (2) the judge concludes that alcohol or drug use by the convicted defendant contributed to the collision. Worse, if permanent injury or death resulted from a Virginia DWI violation, the statutory law in the commonwealth allows both circumstances to be prosecuted as felonies. At least when the sentencing judge knows that your insurance coverage is sufficient to cover any property damage and physical injury from the collision, that can become less of a concern in any judicial sentencing decision, and can also assist with case settlement negotiations. (Here, I restate that, as always, I always attend your trial date fully ready to proceed to trial, and that preparing a case to got to trial makes it more likely to settle, and that the opposite is also true.)
What happens to my car insurance rates and obligations if I get a Virginia DUI conviction?
Your CI rates are likely to increase substantially if convicted for a DWI offense, which is among the reasons that you want timely to obtain a qualified Virginia DUI lawyer. The Virginia DMV website confirms that: "Virginia law requires any person convicted of violation of the provisions in the Code of Virginia § 18.2-51.4, 18.2-266 [DWI] and 18.2-272 to purchase a liability insurance policy with coverage that is double the minimum limit set forth in the Code of Virginia § 46.2-472. Insurers use forms FR-44 and FR-46 to submit financial responsibility information to DMV."
How do I reduce my risk of a harsh result from a Virginia DUI prosecution?
A Virginia DUI conviction threatens your liberty, reputation, sometimes your livelihood, and driving privileges, and financial situation, at least as to increased insurance rates, court fines and costs, paying your attorney, and paying for the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP), which can tack on even more expensive additional alcohol treatment through a private provider when VASAP determines that the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in your certificate of analysis or repeat offender status should have you evaluated by a private alcohol treatment provider. Fight back and do that timely by obtaining a qualified Virginia DUI defense lawyer, and by working closely with that lawyer. Avoid merely calling lawyers recommended by your friends and relatives. This is your defense, and you need the lawyer who is right for you.
When Fairfax DUI lawyer Jonathan Katz is on your side, you have a relentless advocate on your behalf in pursuing your best possible defense. That serves both your liberty and reputation, as well as your sense of well being in an otherwise potentially stressful courthouse. Call 703-383-1100 for your free in-person initial confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending Virginia prosecution.