If you are arrested for DUI or DWI in Virginia, you face harsh punishments and long-term consequences if convicted. The last thing you want to do is make mistakes that weaken your defenses and strengthen the prosecutor’s case against you. Here are five common mistakes people make when they are arrested for DUI that you want to avoid.
Mistake #1: Ignoring the Charges
You should not ignore the charges or treat them like a simple traffic ticket. DUI is a misdemeanor offense in Virginia. You could face a jail sentence, expensive fines, and suspension of your driver’s license. In addition, you could suffer from the long-term term consequences of having a permanent criminal record, such as difficulty obtaining employment, education, security clearance, and more.
Mistake #2: Talking to Police
If you are pulled over for DWI or DUI, you will be required to answer the police officer’s basic questions about your name and address and provide them with your driver’s license and vehicle registration. However, once you do this, you should exercise your right to remain silent and not answer the officer’s questions. Anything you say can and would be used against you in establishing probable cause to arrest and convict you.
Mistake #3: Pleading Guilty
Especially if this is your first offense, you may be tempted to plead guilty if you know you were driving while intoxicated. However, you may have strong defenses to the charges you face—even if you were driving while intoxicated. You should not plead guilty or accept a plea agreement without first discussing your case with an experienced DUI lawyer who can explain your defenses and options to you.
Mistake #4: Driving on a Suspended License
Your driver’s license can be suspended immediately after a DUI arrest. You can face additional charges and make it more difficult to obtain a restricted license if you are caught driving while your license has been suspended.
Mistake #5: Not Retaining an Attorney Right Away
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not to hire a knowledgeable DUI lawyer right after your arrest. A lawyer can more effectively defend you and help you avoid these and other mistakes if you retain them immediately. Your attorney will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest, identify your defenses, collect the evidence needed to support them, and weaken the prosecutor’s case. This can result in the charges against you being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
Were you arrested for DUI or DWI in Virginia? Call our office or start a live chat to schedule your free consultation to learn how our skilled DUI legal team will mount an aggressive defense strategy for you.