DUI & Traffic Lawyer in Virgina Beach
Traffic tickets can be minor, or they could be very serious depending on the nature of the traffic charge, and the severity of the conduct. It is important for all Virginia drivers to have a general understanding of this Commonwealth’s traffic laws and be aware that penalties for many traffic crimes can be serious, including potential jail time. Whether someone has been issued a speeding ticket or has been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), having a Virginia Traffic and Criminal Defense Attorney handle the matter is important to ensure the charged individual is protecting his or her rights as much as possible.
At Hardt Law, P.L.L.C., Virginia Traffic and Criminal Defense Attorney Patricia Hardt is known for taking cases to trial and fighting to the end for her clients. She has won numerous trials, with many of her clients having received a not-guilty verdict. While there are many qualified attorneys who handle traffic and criminal matters, not every attorney goes to trial as often as Attorney Hardt. As such, many clients contact Attorney Hardt precisely because she is known for being an excellent trial attorney and is always willing to go to trial. With the assistance of Attorney Hardt, many clients have been able to overcome a difficult time and move forward with a clean slate.
Traffic Laws in the Commonwealth of Virginia
At Hardt Law, P.L.L.C., Attorney Hardt provides legal representation to clients facing a variety of traffic-related criminal charges. Whether the traffic charge is minor or serious, Attorney Hardt devotes the same energy and advocacy skills to fight for her clients. No crime is too minor or too serious for Attorney Hardt to handle.
Under Virginia law, traffic tickets are categorized as either payable or non-payable, which means that payable tickets are not jailable offenses. Such traffic tickets can be paid online in most jurisdictions as well as by mail or at the court clerk’s office. Examples of payable traffic offenses include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Speeding in general (not reckless driving)
- Improper lane change
- Failure to yield
- Failure to stop at a stop sign
- Running a red light
Non-payable traffic charges can have harsh consequences, including the possibility of spending up to one year in jail. The severity of the crime will determine the amount of jail time. Examples of non-payable traffic charges include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Reckless driving (driving 20 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit)
- Hit and run
- Driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
In Virginia, a driver can be charged with reckless driving for driving 20 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit. The consequences of this speeding-related charge can be very severe, landing a person in jail for up to one year. However, with the help of an attorney, this criminal charge may be mitigated to a lesser charge, although this can never be guaranteed.
Driving on a Suspended Driver’s License
Under Virginia law, driving on a suspended driver’s license can be a serious charge and a first and second offense carry with it potential jail time for up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500 and 90 days suspension of license. A third offense carries the same sentence but 10 days will be a mandatory minimum amount of active time in the local jail which cannot be suspended or waived. The inability to drive in Virginia can place a significant burden on someone who needs a car to get to work, school, or the grocery store, among other places.
Hit and Run
Being charged with a hit and run in Virginia is a also a very serious crime. This crime can be both a misdemeanor and felony depending on the severity of the conduct. A hit and run accident that involves damage of less than $1,000 is considered a misdemeanor. The crime becomes a felony if the accident involves damage of $1,000 or greater or if the accident resulted in injuries. A person convicted of a hit and run faces potential jail time, hefty fines, and a criminal conviction that may remain on his/her record for an indefinite period of time.
Serious Traffic-Related Criminal Charges
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Under Virginia law, it is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle, engine or train in the following ways:
- While a person has a blood-alcohol-concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more by weight by volume or 0.08 grams or more per 210 liters of breath as indicated by chemical testing
- While a person is under the influence of alcohol
- While a person is under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature, or any combination of such drugs, to a degree which impairs his/her ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely
- While a person is under the combined influence of alcohol and any drug or drugs to a degree which impairs his/her ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely
- While a person has a blood concentration of any of the following substances at a level that is equal to or greater than:
- 02 milligrams of cocaine per liter of blood
- 1 milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood
- 01 milligrams of phencyclidine per liter of blood
- 1 milligrams of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine per liter of blood
What You Need to Know About Blood-Alcohol concentration (BAC) Levels
Many people assume that they will not face a DUI charge unless their BAC is 0.08 or greater. However, this is not the case. A person can be charged with a DUI for having a BAC concentration that is less than 0.08. Virginia’s definition of driving under the influence is broad and a person can be charged with a DUI for many other reasons aside from having a BAC level that is 0.08 or greater. Individuals may be charged with a DUI in the following situations:
- Suspicious driving behavior such as swaying, driving off the road and failure to yield, among others
- Strong odor of alcohol in the driver’s car
- Slurred speech
- Failed a field sobriety test
It may be surprising to many people that Virginia’s DUI laws are so strict. As such, anyone charged with a DUI must discuss the situation with an attorney as soon as possible following arrest.
The Consequences of a DUI on Your Virginia Driver’s License
Not only can a DUI conviction tarnish a person’s record, but it can also place significant limitations on a person’s driver’s license. Such penalties include the following:
- First DUI Offense – suspension of driver’s license for up to one year
- Second DUI Offense – suspension of driver’s license for up to three years
- Third DUI Offense – suspension of driver’s license indefinitely
Refusal to Submit to BAC Test
Under Virginia law, drivers impliedly consent to submitting to a BAC test upon request by a law enforcement official. As such, if a driver refuses to submit to a BAC test, that driver is subject to a fine and automatic suspension of his/her driver’s license. Whether found guilty of a DUI or not, the failure to consent to a BAC test automatically affects a person’s driver’s license in the following ways:
- First Refusal to Take BAC Test – suspension of driver’s license for up to one year
- Second Refusal to Take BAC Test -suspension of driver’s license for up to three years if the prior refusal occurred within the last ten years
- Third Refusal to Take BAC Test – suspension of driver’s license for up to three years if prior refusals occurred within the last ten years
Every client’s situation is different. Therefore, it cannot be stressed enough that anyone charged with a traffic-related criminal offense, no matter how serious, seeks the guidance of a Virginia Traffic and Criminal Defense Attorney right away after being arrested.
How Hardt Law, P.L.L.C. Can Help You Fight Your Traffic-Related Criminal Charges?
Virginia Traffic and Criminal Defense Attorney Patricia Hardt is a former public defender and prosecutor with unique experience from both sides. Attorney Hardt also handles domestic and family law matters for her clients. With a reputation in the community as a seasoned and successful litigator and trial attorney, Attorney Hardt possesses the necessary skill and diligence to provide her clients with the best legal representation possible. While traffic tickets and other traffic-related crimes may seem minor, if convicted, these crimes may remain on a person’s record for an indefinite period of time. As such, contacting an attorney right away is crucial to have the best chance possible of reaching a fair result for your situation.
Attorney Hardt is licensed in Virginia, Washington D.C., Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. To schedule a consultation to discuss your situation with Attorney Hardt, contact Hardt Law, P.L.L.C. today by calling (757) 962-5588.