Mar 13, 2020 Restricted driving soon available for refusal says Virginia DUI lawyer
Restricted license availability for refusal removes prosecutorial bargaining chip in DUI cases, says Virginia DUI lawyer
Restricted licenses currently are not available for Virginia convictions for refusing to submit to breath or blood testing for measuring blood alcohol content (BAC) after being arrested for violating the commonwealth’s DUI prohibition. As a Fairfax criminal defense lawyer and DWI attorney, I recognize the true boon we have by a new governor-approved law making restricted driving available for refusal convictions for a first offense, just as restricted driving is available for a DUI conviction. This legislation will take effect July 1, 2020.
Now many more people charged with Virginia refusal and DUI will proceed to trial, with limited driving to be available for refusing a blood alcohol test
The decades-long state of Virginia law has imposed a draconian one-year driving ban for a first-time refusal conviction, with no recourse at all to receive restricted driving privileges, which driving privileges are available to be granted by judges for DUI convictions. Such a large percentage of DWI and refusal defendants in Virginia criminal courts rely on driving at least for work purposes, that plenty of them up to now accept a prosecutor’s settlement offer to plead guilty or no contest to DUI in exchange for dismissing refusal, even when the prosecutor’s refusal case is strong but the DUI case is weak.
Fewer Virginia DUI arrestees will agree to submit to posts-DWI arrest breath and blood testing
While as a lawyer I cannot advise anyone to violate Virginia’s implied consent law that requires people arrested on probable cause for DUI to submit to such testing, I can still foresee the fewer people submitting to BAC testing when knowing that af first-time refusal conviction will not automatically bar them from restricted driving.
Factors that will still lead Virginia DUI arrestees to submit to BAC testing include that a refusal conviction requires waiting thirty days to start restricted driving, and any risk that the Virginia DMV will run simultaneous suspended driving for DWI and refusal convictions consecutive to each other rather than concurrent.
Specifics of the new restricted driving law for those convicted of Virginia first-time blood alcohol testing post-arrest refusal
Here are among the specific points for current and future Virginia DUI defendants with refusal charges to know about this restricted driving soon available for refusal says Virginia DUI lawyer change for obtaining restricted driving privileges for first-time refusal convictions:
- The new restricted driving law will take effect July 1, 2020. Watch refusal defendants scramble for post-June 30, 2020, trial dates, and to seek post-June 30, 2020, appeal trials for pre-July 1 District Court refusal convictions.
- The law only applies to those convicted of first-time offenses. Restricted driving will not be available if the defendant is charged with and convicted of having a prior DWI conviction in Virginia or a substantially similar out-of-state DUI conviction or a prior Virginia refusal conviction.
- Restricted driving — which is never a picnic and always is at the sentencing judge’s discretion to grant or not — cannot start less than thirty days after being convicted.
- VASAP / alcohol education and treatment must be completed unless VASAP tells the court that such education and treatment is not needed.
- As with Virginia DUI convictions, the defendant must driver for at least six months with the ignition interlock device.
- The ignition interlock device period requires installation of the interlock on all motor vehicles registered in the refusal defendant’s name, whereas ignition interlock devices for those convicted of DUI can be installed on any car(s) of the defendant’s choosing.
Fairfax DUI lawyer / criminal defense attorney Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense against DWI, felony and misdemeanor prosecutions. Call 703-383-1100 to schedule a free in-person consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending criminal case.