What to Do if You Are Stopped for DUI in Virginia
The state of Virginia is known for having some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation. Being convicted of a DUI in Virginia can affect your family, career, and finances. If found guilty, even for a first offense, you could be jailed, face heavy fines, or even suspension of your driver’s license. If you’re pulled over for a DUI in Lynchburg, VA or the Bedford, VA area, you need to do several important things to protect your rights.
Why You Might be Stopped for DUI
Most DUI stops are the result of what is known as a reasonable suspicion. This means that an officer observed driving behaviors that made them suspect that you could be driving under the influence. These might include:
- Drifting into other lanes
- Excessive speed
- Driving too slow
- Making an illegal turn
- Failure to use turn signals
- Erratic driving
- Frequent braking or stopping
- Driving at night without headlights
The DUI Stop
Every part of the DUI stop will be recorded in the police report, which will be used against you in court. Remember that the police officer is collecting evidence based on each move you make and every word you say. As soon as you see police lights flashing in your rear view mirror, pull over to the side of the road as smoothly and safely as possible.
Roll down your driver’s window and have your license and registration available for the officer. Avoid making any sudden moves inside the vehicle and keep your hands where the officer can see them as they approach. If the officer asks you to get out of the vehicle, you need to do this, or you’ll certainly be arrested on the spot.
It’s natural to be nervous when dealing with the police, but it’s important to remain calm and avoid anger or sarcasm. Being rude to the officer isn’t going to help your situation in the least and could result in your wearing handcuffs sooner rather than later. Always be polite and cooperative, with a few important exceptions.
Don’t Admit Guilt
Anything that you say to the officer is going to be used against you. It would be a mistake to admit that you’ve even had “just one drink.” The only questions that you need to answer relate to your name, address, and license information. However, if you haven’t consumed any alcohol or taken any drugs, now would be the time to stress this to the police. If the officer asks for other information, you can simply respond with, “I’ve been advised not to answer that question.”
Field Sobriety Tests in Virginia
If you’re pulled over for a DUI in Virginia, it may not be in your best interest to consent to field sobriety tests. These are not mandatory tests, and you have the legal right to refuse them. These exercises are incredibly subjective, and any results will be used against you in court. If asked to do this, remain polite, but decline to participate.
Breathalyzer Tests in Virginia
The state of Virginia has an implied consent law. This means that, by driving in the state, you agree to take a breathalyzer test if pulled over by a police officer under suspicion of DUI. If you refuse a breathalyzer, there are consequences such as an automatic one-year suspension of your driver’s license.
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Lynchburg or in Bedford, VA, get help from an experienced DUI attorney. Unlike other traffic charges, a DUI conviction can have serious and lasting consequences, especially if there was an accident or injuries involved in the incident, or if you’ve had more than one offense. The experienced DUI lawyers at the Pack Law Group will work hard on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us at (540) 586-7225 for a free, no-obligation consultation.