The operation of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol can be devastating — research from Mothers Against Drunk Driving suggests that nearly thirty innocent Americans die as a result of drunk driving every day. Unfortunately, in their zeal to ensure that drunk drivers are brought to justice, law enforcement officials often wind up putting the wrong people behind bars. The administering of archaic tests and the failure to account for legitimate medical issues that can impact breathalyzer results does nothing but ensure that perfectly responsible drivers are taken off the road. What’s more, this issue is tinged by a very alarming tone of racial insensitivity, and, at times, outright discrimination.
If you’ve been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, it’s of vital importance that you seek the services of a qualified Loudoun DUI / DWI Attorney. The implications of false or overstated charges could impact you for years to come; your best bet for preventing such an awful outcome is contacting the Law Office of Faraji Rosenthall.
Cases Requiring The Assistance Of A Loudoun DUI / DWI Attorney
Every DUI case is different and worthy of special consideration. There’s a good chance that you were wrongly charged with this crime, particularly if you were subjected to one of the many outdated tests still in practice. The results of these tests requiring alleged criminals to walk lines or complete other arbitrary tasks cannot be trusted; they are too apt to be tinged by personal bias on the part of the police officer. Even breathalyzers can be at fault, as issues such as diabetes may result in false readings.
Even if you were involved in a cut-and-dry DUI case, you may be facing consequences that are overly harsh for the crime committed. Depending on your unique circumstances, a Loudoun DUI / DWI Attorneyâ€‹ may be able to obtain a lesser sentence, such as rehabilitation or community service.
The Long-Term Implications Of DUI And How The Law Office Of Faraji Rosenthall Can Help
A DUI charge on your record could prove devastating, and not just as a result of potential fees or jail time. You may be forced to give up your license, leading to immediate transportation issues that could make it impossible for your to get to work on time or carry out other essential tasks. Even after you’ve reclaimed your license, you may face terrible consequences for this mark on your record. Although employers are not supposed to discriminate based on criminal history, many do; landlords similarly may choose to turn you away due to your record. By reducing the charges or even having your case dismissed, the Law Office of Faraji Rosenthall can ensure that this unfortunate case does not destroy your future.
DWI Defenses (how to challenge a DWI in Virginia)
In Virginia, there are a number of defenses that could help you avoid (or at least reduce the punishment of) a DWI conviction. At the Law Office of Faraji Rosenthall, we thoroughly review all the facts of DWI arrests in order to see which of these defenses can be used to get the best result in your case.
The five most commonly employed defenses deal with:
- Reason for the stop
- Administration of the field sobriety tests
- Breath or blood test
- Breath or blood sheet (test results)
The Reason for the DWI Stop
While the traditional scenario for a DWI in Virginia involves a police officer pulling over a suspect, the law limits the reasons an officer is allowed to stop a vehicle. First, the officer must have reasonable suspicion to stop the driver, meaning that he or she must be able to tell the judge that the stop was for a valid, legitimate reason. Prior to your court date, we will take steps to try to learn exactly why the officer stopped your vehicle; if there is reason to suspect the stop was for some invalid reason, we will study that defense and use it to improve the outcome of your case.
Field Sobriety Tests
After stopping a driver they believe could potentially be under the influence of alcohol, the police officer will usually ask them to perform a series of field sobriety tests. It’s important to note that these tests are absolutely voluntary, and are designed to be used as evidence against the driver during their trial. They are also used to help the officer determine if there is a valid reason to make a DWI arrest. Some of the more popular tests Virginia police officers traditionally administer include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, the one-legged stand, the walk and turn, the alphabet test, the number count, the finger-to-nose test, the finger count test and the preliminary breath test.
These tests must be administered in a very specific way in order to remain valid. The HGN, one-legged stand and the walk-and-turn test are also taught and described based upon standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the other tests were developed based upon standards created by Virginia police officers. Regardless of which tests are done, the officer will need to follow these standards exactly. Otherwise, their mistake could potentially provide an extremely helpful defense against a DWI charge.
If the officer decides to makes an arrest following the field sobriety tests, he or she must have sufficient probable cause, which is the belief, based upon the evidence provided, that the driver is most likely under the influence of alcohol. Probable cause, or a lack thereof, provides another avenue through which a DWI case can be challenged. If the officer chooses to make an arrest despite the driver having successfully performed their tests, the arrest may be deemed invalid.
When making an arrest, a police officer must follow a series of specific regulations. In addition to considering the reasonable suspicion and probable cause arguments, the officer must ensure that the arrest is conducted in a manner that ensures the accuracy of any alcohol test that must be performed at another time.
The Breath or Blood Test
Upon being arrested, the DWI suspect is usually taken for a chemical test to determine his or her blood alcohol content (BAC). In Virginia, the BAC test is usually conducted at the jail. Accurately measuring the BAC is a very difficult process involving special training and highly sophisticated equipment; not only do we always review the qualifications of the breath test operator, but we also examine the history of the machine, checking to make sure it was properly maintained and working correctly when the test was given. If there is some problem with the way the test was conducted, we will use that to your benefit.
Blood tests present additional defense opportunities of their own. The nurse who takes the blood and the toxicologist who analyzes it must be appropriately certified and in compliance with several requirements. Both individuals usually have to appear in court as well. The officer must also make sure to take the blood in a way that ensures the accuracy of the test. Whenever the Commonwealth plans to use a blood test while prosecuting a DWI, significant defenses are likely to present themselves, making it far more difficult for the prosecutor to secure a conviction.
The Sheet Itself
In any DWI case where a blood or breath test has been performed, the sheet showing the test results is likely to be the most powerful piece of evidence. A good DWI defense will need to explain why the sheet is inaccurate, and many other defenses could be used in order to prevent the sheet from being used in the prosecutor’s case.
Whenever we handle a DWI case, we begin by examining the breath sheet. Even during an initial consultation, we will review the breath sheet from the clerk’s office, giving us a preliminary idea of any deficiencies that can be used to craft a successful DWI defense strategy.