Driving under the influence (DUI), Va. Code § 18.2-266, is a serious offense that carries severe consequences in Fairfax County. It is important to understand the potential defenses available to you if you are facing a DUI charge. In this article, we will discuss the most effective DUI defenses that you can use to potentially reduce or dismiss your charges.
Lack of Reasonable Articulable Suspicion for Traffic Stop
In Fairfax County, law enforcement officers must have reasonable articulable suspicion to stop a vehicle. If the officer did not have reasonable articulable suspicion to stop your vehicle, any evidence gathered during the stop may be inadmissible in court. This can include the results of a breathalyzer test or field sobriety test. An experienced DUI defense attorney can review the circumstances of your traffic stop to determine if there was a lack of probable cause.
Faulty Breathalyzer Test
Breathalyzer tests are commonly used to measure a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, these tests are not infallible and can be prone to errors. Factors such as the calibration of the machine or your health conditions can affect the accuracy of the test results. If the breathalyzer test was faulty, it may be possible to have the test results suppressed in court.
Inaccurate Field Sobriety Test
Field sobriety tests are subjective and rely on the officer's judgment. They are completely voluntary in Virginia, and not statutorily mandated like some states. If the officer did not administer the test correctly or did not provide proper instructions, the results may be inaccurate. An experienced DUI defense attorney can challenge the results of a field sobriety test by showing that the test was improperly conducted.
Rising Blood Alcohol Level
After consuming alcohol, your BAC may continue to rise over time. If you were pulled over shortly after consuming alcohol, your BAC may have been lower at the time of the traffic stop than it was when the breathalyzer test was administered. An experienced DUI defense attorney can argue that your BAC was rising at the time of the traffic stop, and the test results do not accurately reflect your level of intoxication at the time of driving.
Errors in Procedure
DUI law is well litigated in Virginia, since these types of crimes occur regularly. There are a number of requirements an officer must meet to sustain a conviction for DUI. Even small things like not being arrested within 3 hours of the stop, or being on private property, can impact the evidence that's available to the prosecution and its influence. A Fairfax DUI defense lawyer can examine your case and tell you what, if any, errors were made in the investigation.
If you are facing a DUI charge in Fairfax County, it is important to understand the potential defenses available to you. An experienced DUI defense attorney can review the circumstances of your case to determine the best defense strategy. By understanding the most effective DUI defenses, you may be able to potentially reduce or dismiss your charges.