First-Time DUI in Chesapeake

We all know that it is dangerous and illegal to drink and drive. Even so, anyone can have a lapse in judgment and drive when they should not. If the police catch you, that lapse could have severe consequences, even if it is the first time you have been arrested for drunk driving.

Do not try to handle a first-time DUI in Chesapeake without an experienced attorney by your side. Skilled legal representation can result in the successful defense of a DUI charge in many cases. When complete exoneration is not possible, a DWI attorney could help minimize the consequences.

The Law Defines DUI Broadly

It is common knowledge that driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeding .08 is illegal (I would re word because .08 is not okay either. This implies it has to be over). All states recognize this BAC as the legal limit, and exceeding it leads to charges of driving while impaired.

However, the Code of Virginia § 18.2-266 defines DUI more broadly. A person in Chesapeake can be guilty of a first time DUI if they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination and it impairs their ability to drive safely, even if their BAC is within legal limits. In addition, the law defines legal limits for driving while under the influence of cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA.

The law does not require a driver to take a breathalyzer test to help an officer determine whether they are under the influence. However, once the officer has arrested a driver for DWI, refusing to take a breathalyzer, blood test, or both is a civil offense that can lead to additional penalties.

Potential Consequences of a First DUI Conviction

A conviction for a first DUI leads to substantial punishment. Any driver convicted of DUI will lose their license for at least (just 1 year, can not be more for a first) one year and receive six points on their license. Conviction also requires the driver to take an alcohol awareness course.

There are harsh financial consequences for an initial DUI conviction in Chesapeake. A judge can impose fines of up to $2,500. Insurance premiums will increase significantly, and the increased premiums may persist for several years. When the driver regains their license, they must install and maintain an ignition interlock device for at least six months, which also represents a considerable expense.

A driver will not necessarily avoid jail, even as a first offender. A judge can sentence someone convicted of first-time DUI to up to one year in jail. When the driver’s BAC was between .15 and .20, a judge must impose a minimum five-day jail sentence. The mandatory minimum sentence increases to 10 days when the driver’s BAC exceeds .20. Working with a skilled attorney can result in more lenient treatment in many cases.

Defenses to DUI Charges

Sometimes, drivers feel that once they have failed a chemical test, conviction is inevitable, and they plead guilty. A better strategy is to (may be to fight charge) fight the charge. There are many ways to defeat a DUI charge, even when a breath or blood test showed a driver was impaired when arrested.

An officer must have a reasonable suspicion that a driver is impaired or violating the law to make a legal traffic stop. If the officer cannot articulate a sound basis for making the stop, a judge could suppress the evidence of impairment and dismiss the charge. Other defenses center around the administration of the blood or breath tests, including the training of the person who administered the test, the accuracy of the equipment, and the reliability of the lab that processed the test.

When a conviction cannot be avoided, an experienced Chesapeake attorney can resolve a first-time DWI charge by negotiating with the prosecutor. Engaging in negotiations typically results in less severe consequences than if the driver faced sentencing after a guilty verdict.

Contact a Chesapeake Attorney After a First Time DUI Arrest

Being arrested for DUI is frightening. A conviction has short-term consequences like license suspension, financial penalties, and possible jail time. It also creates a criminal record that could follow you forever.

A DWI is a charge with significant consequences, and you must take it seriously. Working with an experienced attorney to resolve a first-time DUI in Chesapeake can help you obtain the most favorable outcome circumstances permit. Reach out as soon as you are arrested to get an aggressive defense lawyer working for you.

Areas We Serve

With an office near Town Center, Virginia Beach and a second location beside the Chesapeake courthouse, our team provides quality legal representation across the entire Hampton Roads Area.

  • Virginia Beach
  • Hampton
  • Chesapeake
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Yorktown
  • Portsmouth
  • Accomack County
  • Suffolk
  • Northampton County

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law N/a
VIRGINIA BEACH OFFICE
Address
4768 Euclid Road,
Suite 103

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
Map & Directions
Phone
757-453-7744
CHESAPEAKE OFFICE
Address
524 Albemarle Drive,
Suite 200

Chesapeake, Virginia 23322
Map & Directions
Phone
757-312-0211
ELIZABETH CITY OFFICE
Address
200 N. Water Street,
Suite 2A

Elizabeth City, NC 27909
Map & Directions
Phone
252-679-8880