Virginia DUI lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense against the DUI case risks of active jail time, employment issues, security clearance hurdles, immigration obstacles, and reputational harm posed by DUI charges alleging driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs under Va. Code § 18.2-266. Virginia DUI defense accounts for a substantial portion of Jon Katz’s law practice.
In 2000, federal highway legislation shoved mandatory criminalization of a 0.08 blood alcohol level down the states’ throats under the penalty of otherwise losing federal highway funding. A 0.08 blood alcohol level is easy to reach, making it safest not to driver for at least many hours after having consumed alcohol.
Virginia DUI charges must be fully defended to counter the above-referenced risks as well as loss of driving privileges and increased car insurance costs.
If the police stop you while driving, remember the importance of maintaining your right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment, and to refuse field sobriety tests and the handheld/roadside preliminary breath test (versus risking a refusal charge for declining breath or blood testing after arrest). Even though Virginia caselaw allows judges and juries to know when a defendant has refused field sobriety tests, even plenty of stone sober people can perform poorly on such tests both because few people practice standing on one leg with the foot in front of the body for thirty seconds, walking heel-to-toe out and back, counting backwards in the presence of a police officer, and reciting but a portion of the alphabet, to mention some common field sobriety tests.
Virginia DUI lawyer Jon Katz obtains the forensic data in your case, obtains a blood transfer order to a private lab in blood draw Virginia DUI cases, and obtains a discovery order, all for pursuing the best defense in your case.
Repeatedly over the years, Jon Katz has worked with forensic toxicology experts to challenge the accuracy of breath and blood alcohol testing.
For charges of drugged driving, it is important to know that mere presence of drugs in one’s blood does not automatically establish a causal connection between the drugs in one’s blood and impaired driving, which causal connection is particularly absent when marijuana is found in a Virginia DUI suspect’s bloodstream, because cannabis typically remains in a user’s blood for at least two weeks or longer. Moreover, some levels of lawfully-prescribed drugs/medications are therapeutic levels that do not harm driving.
All DUI and other criminal defendants are presumed innocent under the law unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Breath and blood testing results are not sacrosanct, and can be attacked. The question in such cases does not begin and end with asking the result of a breath or blood test. The defense needs to be ready to challenge the results of such testing, and to acknowledge that blood alcohol levels can be rising, falling, or staying somewhat level between the time a police encounters a driver and has the DUI suspect submit to breath or blood testing for alcohol.
Defending against a Virginia DUI prosecution or any other criminal charge requires fully fighting the case and never throwing in the towel. A DUI defendant should work closely with his or her lawyer as a team to develop an action plan for both to follow. With one’s lawyer, the DUI defendant can discuss the possible benefits, pretrial, of entering an alcohol education program, completing a Virginia DMV-approved driver improvement program, and attending documented live or online self-help meetings (Alcoholics Anonymous or stepchat.com or smartrecovery.org ).
Virginia DUI charges can be challenging enough to defend in the first place. Such defense can become all the more sensitive when coupled or tripled with such charges as refusal to submit to a breath or blood alcohol test, possession of marijuana or controlled substances, hit and run, fleeing from the police, and reckless driving based on speed or other driving behavior. No matter how many criminal charges are leveled against a defendant, the entire case must be defended tooth and nail through close teamwork between the criminal defense lawyer and the DUI defendant.
While a jury can often be a better bet than a judge-only trial for the innocence-guilt phase of a trial, any conviction by a jury gets followed by a sentencing trial followed by the jury’s recommendation of a sentence, whereby the jury recommends the length of any active jail time and any fine, without being able to recommend that any of the sentence be suspended and without being able to recommend any probation period. The sentencing judge then either imposes the jury’s recommended sentence, reduces some of the sentence, and/or suspends some of the jury’s recommended sentence.
In 1933, alcohol prohibition was repealed in the United States, only to be replaced with the draconian prohibition of the DUI laws. A full court press is essential against Virginia DUI prosecutions.
Virginia DUI lawyer/ Fairfax criminal attorney Jonathan L. Katz has successfully defended thousands of DUI and criminal defendants since 1991. To discuss your case with Jon, please call his staff at (703) 383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation.