The attorneys of Collins & Hyman have experience trying driving under the influence (“DUI”) of alcohol and drugs cases as prosecutors and defense attorneys. Our experience extends to complex DUI cases requiring expert testimony relating to field sobriety tests and chemical analysis. Defendants accused of DUI possess the same rights protecting all criminal defendants [link to criminal page], but Virginia’s DUI statutes create other potential defenses and issues:
- A person’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures extends to traffic stops, the starting point for most DUI cases. There is a wealth of case law describing circumstances in which an officer’s traffic stop was unlawful and resulted in the dismissal of the entire DUI case.
- While commonly called DUI, the Virginia code criminalizes operation of a vehicle while under the influence. Operating encompasses more activity than simply driving a car, but the definition is multifaceted and requires an understanding of a series of cases decided by Virginia’s appellate courts.
- Field sobriety tests have varied reliability and an officer’s usage of those tests can affect the lawfulness of a DUI arrest.
- Virginia’s implied consent law states that an operating a vehicle on a public highway implicitly consents to have his or her blood or breath analyzed as part of a valid DUI investigation. This creates defenses concerning the nature of the roadway involved in the case. In addition, implied consent only applies when the arrest occurs within three hours of operation. The time limit for arrest creates potential defenses, particularly in DUI cases arising from single vehicle accidents.
DUI convictions are punishable by incarceration, but they also carry other sanctions with far-reaching implications. The attorneys of Collins & Hyman, in addition to providing a vigorous defense, have experience assisting clients with navigating the issues related to licensure, ignition interlock and alcohol education classes that arise in all DUI cases.