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Virginia watered down DWI law- Fairfax DUI lawyer comments

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Virginia watered down DWI law has been the state of affairs for decades, says Fairfax DUI lawyer

Virginia watered down DWI law is no picnic, The lost driving privileges and ignition interlock device (IID) and other restricted driving conditions that befall a person convicted under the Virginia DUI law or with a wet reckless settlement are among the reasons for a defendant charged with driving under the influence of alcohol under Virginia Code § 18.2-266 to obtain a qualified lawyer at the front end to pursue avenues to acquittal, dismissal, avoidance of a DWI conviction, or, at worst, avoidance of active jail time and preventing a time gap until the convicted defendant may get back on the road. As a Fairfax DUI lawyer, I know the landmines and booby traps that can ensnare an unaware Virginia DWI defendant. Do not let yourself be such a victim of this area of criminal law.

Why does watered down Virginia DUI law allow convictions for being less than intoxicated, and for simply sitting in a parked car?

Among the pleasures for countless people is to kick back after work or on the weekend with some wine, beer, or other alcohol. The social control of the Virginia watered down DUI law cannot be overstated. First, Virginia criminal law outlaws driving with even a 0.08 blood alcohol level or higher, which abdicates taking BAC into consideration as but one factor in determining impaired driver, and makes BAC level an overly simplistic criminal litmus test. Furthermore, in the absence of BAC evidence or when the BAC is below 0.08 (particularly when the BAC result is in the 0.06-0.07 BAC zone, where there is no presumption of being DWI or not), Virginia DWI appellate caselaw then waters down the definition of intoxicated to when a person “‘has drunk enough alcoholic beverages to observably affect his manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior,’ [Virginia] Code § 4.1–100.” Davis v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 57 Va. App. 446, 461 (2011). People supporting this Virginia DUI law status quo — or even advocating for making the Commonwealth’s DWI law more severe than it already is — might say the solution here is to use designated drivers, hire a ride, or stay in a hotel. However, a designated driver is not always available, hired rides do not always appear, and hotels are not always nearby. To boot, if a person decides to wait in one’s vehicle for the effects of the alcohol to wear off, the law still allows a Virginia DWI conviction if the person is in the driver’s seat with the key in the ignition (even if in the off position (Serafin v. Virginia, 288 Va. 320, 326 (2014)), or with the car running (for instance with a push button motor vehicle) even if for the reason of keeping the car interior’s temperature warm enough so as not to succumb to freezing temperatures, or cold enough so as not to convert the car into a sauna.  

What difference can a Virginia DUI lawyer really make in fighting my DWI prosecution?

Bar, restaurant and nightclub owners are not fond of the reduced wine, beer and alcohol consumption that results from trepidation by people about a possible drinking and driving arrest under the Virginia watered down DWI law. Nonetheless, as a Fairfax DUI lawyer, I see the weekly statistics to know that the police are regularly arresting people for alleged violations of the DUI law. If you go to your Virginia DUI trial date without the right lawyer for you, you are in potentially dangerously unknown territory. The right lawyer for you will know the terrain of the courthouse, the relevant law, the specifics of your case, and your concerns and goals for possible outcomes against your prosecution. Ideally, you do not want any “what ifs” in your Virginia DUI defense nor in any criminal prosecution. If you obtain success with a qualified lawyer against your Virginia DWI prosecution, you will have gotten a positive return from your investment in your defense. If your result is less than desired, but still with quality defense from the right lawyer for you, that will reduce your wondering what might have happened had you presented a better defense if your attorney has already delivered a great defense.

Is a law license enough for a lawyer to successfully defend against my Virginia DUI prosecution?

A medical license by itself does not automatically qualify a physician successfully to perform open hear surgery, and a law school diploma and bar license by themselves do not automatically make an attorney ready to defense against the Virginia watered down DUI law. Yes, every Virginia DUI defense lawyer has to start somewhere in reaching the path to great defense for the accused. At the same time, when you pay a lawyer to defend you in court, you are not doing that as a public service for the lawyer to obtain more experience and training, but are doing this as an investment in your liberty, your driving privileges, your reputation, your livelihood, and sometimes also your security clearance status and your immigration privileges. Ideally, you will treat your Virginia DUI defense as your one chance to obtain a favorable outcome in court.

Fairfax DUI lawyer Jonathan Katz focuses over 30% of his law practice to DWI defense and nearly 100 percent of his work to criminal defense. Jon Katz has spent scores of hours working with forensic science and forensic toxicology experts in challenging such prosecutions. He is among the small percentage of Virginia DUI defenders who are members of the National College of DUI Defense, and an even smaller percentage of such lawyers who are trained by one of the nation’s top trainers to police in administering field sobriety tests even to people who have been consuming alcohol. You are in the right hands with Jon Katz for your Virginia DWI defense. Call 703-383-1100 for your free in-person initial confidential consultation with Jon Katz about yoru court-pending DUI or criminal case.