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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Defend DWI in Virginia


 
 
If you have been charged with drunk driving, a knowledgeable, experienced lawyer will engage in three tasks to help you. First the lawyer will analyze the legal case; next, the lawyer will prepare you for your day in Court; and, third, the lawyer will fight for you at the Courthouse.

A lawyer’s first task is to analyze the legal case. Not everyone charged with drunk driving is convicted of drunk driving. To achieve this result, a lawyer must determine what legal defenses are available.

At Gross & Romanick, where I manage the criminal practice, our lawyers ask the questions which allow the Commonwealth’s case to be disassembled at each stage. We  investigate the initial contact made by the police, analyze the officer’s decision to make the arrest and review the procedures followed before, during and after the arrest.

From my 20 years of criminal defense experience, I have concluded that determining whether constitutional rights have been violated is an important key to success in a DWI  case. Did the police stop the driver without reasonable articulable suspicion that a violation of law took place? Was the decision by the officer to make the arrest done without probable cause? If the police did something wrong, it needs to be uncovered. If proper procedures were not followed or if the police violated the defendant’s Miranda or other rights, the charge may be subject to attack or a door may be opened for a successful plea bargain with a prosecutor.

Whether a blood or breath test is administered or if it is a refusal case, a proper advisement by the police is required by statute. The breath machines and lab tests are not infallible. A diligent lawyer will gather information about the breath machine to determine whether it malfunctioned before or after the client was tested. A review must be made to determine whether there would be any benefit to hiring an expert witness, such as a toxicologist.

Analyzing the legal case is just the first step toward a successful defense of the charge.   The lawyer must also properly prepare you for your day in Court. You should receive a full explanation of the procedures and what to expect when you arrive at the Courthouse. You should know what time to arrive, where to sit, what to say and what not to say if your name is called.

You deserve to be put in the best position to achieve the best possible results given all of the facts and circumstances of your case. The lawyer will advise you if there is a benefit to enrolling in an alcohol education or treatment program. The effective lawyer will obtain documents and information from you to present you in the best light possible, and to demonstrate that you are a good citizen and not a threat or danger to the community.

Finally, a lawyer’s job is to be on your side the day of court. The lawyer will be your advocate and fight for you. The lawyer, who performs a thorough analysis of the legal case and has properly prepared you for your day in court, will provide you the best chance for a successful plea bargain with the prosecutor. And, if necessary, that lawyer will be ready, willing and able to successfully defend you at a trial before a judge or jury.

A substantial portion of my practice is dedicated to defending individuals charged with drunk driving. The lawyers at Gross & Romanick have built a strong reputation in Northern Virginia for being effective trial lawyers. This allows us to negotiate fair and effective plea bargains and to fight against injustice at trial when it is necessary.