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Celebrate Graduation Responsibly: Avoid a DUI

Whether you're graduating from high school, college, or grad school, this is a time for celebration. Countless students across Virginia are celebrating the significant milestone of graduation and looking forward to promising futures. However, the prevalence of alcohol (and other substances) at graduation parties has the potential to threaten that future.

If you are convicted of a DUI, more than your license could be at stake. Keep reading to learn about the repercussions of a DUI conviction and how to avoid a DUI this summer.

Consequences of a DUI Conviction

The impact of a DUI conviction extends far beyond the immediate legal penalties. Graduates facing such charges can find themselves in a tangle of long-term consequences that can substantively alter the course of their lives.

Legally, a conviction could mean:

  • Fines
  • License suspension
  • Incarceration

But the ripple effects spread wider, potentially affecting:

  • Job prospects
  • Further educational opportunities
  • Membership in professional organizations
  • Personal relationships

The stigma of a DUI can tarnish the reputation one has worked so hard to build.

How to Avoid a DUI This Summer

Staying safe and avoiding a DUI this summer is a responsible choice that can help you preserve your future. By taking proactive steps, you can ensure that your celebrations remain joyous and trouble-free.

Practical tips for avoiding a DUI include:

  • Plan ahead: Before heading to a party, have a designated driver or arrange for a ride-share service.
  • Limit alcohol consumption: Track your drinks and set a limit to help you stay within the legal limit.
  • Stay overnight: If you're at a friend's house or out of town, plan to stay overnight rather than driving home.
  • Utilize public transport: To get home safely, take buses, trains, or other public transport options when possible.
  • Stay informed: Be aware of local laws and the consequences of a DUI to remind yourself of what's at stake.

What to Do If You Are Pulled Over on Suspicion of a DUI

If you are pulled over on suspicion of a DUI, you need to handle the situation carefully to protect your rights and ensure a calm interaction.

Stay Calm and Be Polite

Firstly, remain calm and polite to the officer. Upon request, provide your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. Remember that your behavior can significantly impact the officer's decisions.

Field Sobriety Tests

In Virginia, you can legally decline to take field sobriety tests. These tests are subjective, and poor performance can be used as probable cause to arrest you. Politely declining these tests is within your rights. While Virginia courts are permitted by case law to consider your refusal to perform field sobriety tests against you, many judges won’t.

Chemical Tests & Implied Consent

Under Virginia law, when you drive on Virginia roads, you automatically consent to chemical tests if lawfully arrested for suspicion of a DUI. These tests include breath or blood tests used to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). Refusing a chemical test carries severe consequences, such as license suspension for one year for the first offense. Subsequent refusals result in even harsher penalties, including the potential of a jail sentence.

Consult with an Attorney Immediately

If you are facing a DUI charge, consulting with an attorney as soon as possible is strongly recommended. An experienced DUI attorney, like Andrew J. Cornick, Attorney at Law, can provide invaluable guidance, including helping you understand the charges brought against you and how they may impact your future. They can also help defend you in court.

When facing DUI allegations, several defenses may be available depending on the circumstances of your case. Potential defenses include:

  • Improper stop: Arguing that the officer did not have a valid reason to stop your vehicle.
  • Faulty breathalyzer test: Challenging the accuracy and calibration of the breathalyzer device used.
  • Field sobriety test issues: The validity of field sobriety tests is being questioned due to improper administration or medical conditions affecting performance.
  • Medical conditions: Demonstrating that certain medical conditions or medications could have affected the results of chemical tests.

Don't let a DUI derail your life. Turn to my law firm for guidance. Call me at (540) 386-0204 or message me online. I have experience representing clients facing all manner of DUI charges, including those involving underage DUIs, multiple DUI offenses, and out-of-state DUIs.