Reversing Virginia DWI Prosecutions – Fairfax DUI Lawyer’s Tips
Reversing Virginia DWI evidence needs to be a major focus - Fairfax DUI lawyer addresses how to do it
Reversing your DUI prosecution under Virginia Code § 18.2-266 may, at first blush, seem insurmountable. As a Fairfax DUI lawyer, I know that even the harshest evidence against you can be more manageable than you realize. This does not involve incantations, but instead involves obtaining a lawyer with a strong grasp of the law, science, and procedure involved with Virginia DWI cases alleging driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicants, as well as having a strong ability to negotiate and take cases to trial, and, if necessary, to handle sentencing. Although you may at first blush see your case as a mountain to overcome, often a better way to approach your defense is to dismantle critical pieces of the prosecution one piece at a time. This approach to obtaining as much victory as possible to you is not pie in the sky, but instead is about keeping focus on the fact that you are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, that your assertion of your Fifth Amendment Constitutional right to remain silent with the police cannot be used against you at trial, and that your challenged arrest cannot be upheld without a judicial finding of probable cause to do so.
Should I proceed to trial if a plea of guilty to my Virginia DWI charge will keep me out of jail?
The ideal is for you to have a lawyer who will provide you with a realistic assessment of your prospects at trial versus the wisdom or not of settling your case with a plea deal. Sometimes your risk of doing any worse with a guilty verdict at trial is no worse than pleading guilty or no contest. At other times, more risk is involved. You may or may not decide that such a risk is worth it. Ideally, your choice whether to plead guilty or proceed to trial will not stem from fear of your lawyer's ability to do an effective job at trial, but will instead be a realpolitik decision. Reversing the Virginia DWI prosecution against you starts long before your trial date, and should include obtaining as much relevant discovery and evidence in your case as is available, timely requesting an order to transfer a sample of any blood drawn from you for a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to be transferred to an independent analysis by a laboratory of your choosing, timely and correctly objecting in writing to any certificate of blood alcohol content (BAC) analysis against you, and filing such appropriate motions as a motion to suppress evidence under the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution, as appropriate. It is important for your Virginia DUI lawyer to obtain relevant data from the Virginia Department of Forensic Science (DFS) concerning any breath or blood BAC testing of you, and to have that data sufficiently reviewed and analyzed. Your lawyer can bring to trial the applicable law addressing such matters as preliminary breath testing (PBT) under Virginia Code § 18.2-267, the DFS procedure manual for BAC breath testing, and field sobriety test (FST) training manuals to challenge the deviation from standardized FST methods that took place in your situation. This is war, and you deserve nothing less than this type of thoroughness and dedication by your Virginia DWI defense lawyer.
How well-experienced is my potential Virginia DUI lawyer for reversing my DWI prosecution?
How well-experienced is your potential Virginia DUI lawyer to be able to pursue your best possible defense and for reversing your DWI prosecution? When you ask about that to your potential lawyer, see if s/he welcomes such questions, the extent to which s/he answers such questions directly and relevantly, and the content of those answers. While anonymous lawyer reviews are not perfect, they are an independent way of evaluating your potential attorney. Among the questions to ask your potential DUI lawyer is about their trial experience and ability, and what the lawyer's current trial strategy and approach will include in your case. Yes, an attorney could say that s/he wants to know more about your case before knowing the ideal way to proceed, but trial skills include thinking and acting quickly and often being without as much information as would ideally be preferred. Watch out if your potential lawyer will not discuss his or her current ideas for your trial defense in the light of the information that the lawyer has at this moment, which information can include not only what you related to the attorney, but also by the lawyer's obtaining and reviewing any criminal complaint (initial police report) in your case, as well as any search warrant application for obtaining a sample of your blood for checking BAC, as well as to check any online-available DFS data concerning any BAC breath test you took (which online data usually is not available for at least around two weeks after the BAC testing).
What is the value of my appeal option in my Virginia DUI case?
You have the absolute right to appeal any Virginia District Court conviction for a whole new trial in Circuit Court in pursuing the reversing of your original conviction, so long as that appeal is correctly and timely filed on a weekday that the court is open and within ten days of your conviction in District Court. Appealing is not without risks, and you should discuss that with your Virginia DUI lawyer. Nonetheless, the very availability of your appeal right may assist your plea negotiations in District Court for the prosecutor to save his or her office's time on any appeal, and may lead the judge to give you a more favorable sentence than if you did not have the right to appeal. If you receive any active jail time in District Court, your lawyer should be ready to ask the judge to keep the bond the same as in District Court (which is often no bond required at all) pending appeal. Filing the necessary appeal papers and satisfying any appeal bond keeps you out of jail pending appeal. With your appeal, you will have the choice of proceeding to trial in Circuit Court before a jury (unless both sides agree to waive a jury), to settle the case on appeal, or to withdraw the appeal before your trial date and to start serving your District Court sentence. (Note that in two Northern Virginia counties -- but not Fairfax -- it is common for the prosecutor to include an appeal waiver in District Court DWI settlement negotiations. You, of course, are free to decline such a waiver, but that may be an uphill battle in general in those two counties.)
How devoted is my potential Virginia DUI lawyer to DWI defense?
DWI defense involves knowing, applying and synthesizing a wide amount of data, evidence, law, procedure, and science. Keeping on top of all of that takes work, focus, and dedication in pursuing reversing your DWI prosecution. Around thirty percent of my law practice involves DUI defense. On top of that, I am among the small percentage of Virginia DWI defenders who is a member of the National College of DUI defense. I am also among the small percentage of Virginia DUI lawyers who have been trained by one of the nations top trainers to police for field sobriety testing (which included my administering FST's to people who had recently consumed alcohol). I deliver your my total devotion to your DWI defense.
Fairfax DUI lawyer Jonathan Katz pursues your best defense against Virginia DWI prosecutions, whether involving breath or blood testing for analyzing blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or involving no BAC testing at all. Call 703-383-1100 for your free in-person confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending prosecution.