David Boone spent 35 years as a trial attorney. He came to speak to the NB Juniors today about driving under the influence. The advisory presentation started off with a video of a young man who was arrested and plead guilty for vehicular manslaughter. Mr. Boone went on to offer a definition of DUI explaining that operating any vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs of any kind constitutes driving under the influence. He also offered up some startling information about the long term consequences of a DUI conviction. Read entire article
Richmond police use sobriety checkpoints to funnel cars through a controlled area and make random vehicle inspections. They look for signs of driver impairment, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, the odor of alcohol, erratic or improper driving, and any items inside the vehicle to support identified suspicions. It is important to fully understand your rights at a Richmond, VA, DUI checkpoint to remain calm and behave properly to avoid self-incrimination.
What to Expect at a Richmond, VA DUI Checkpoint
If law enforcement has evidence to establish probable cause that the driver is impaired, they are directed to a second area for further investigation. Field sobriety testing and a preliminary breath test are administered. If the driver fails the tests they are taken to the police station, administered a more accurate test for blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and arrested on a Richmond DUI charge.
Strict Written Protocols Govern Richmond DUI Sobriety Checkpoints
Police are required to follow strict procedures when operating sobriety checkpoints. By law they have to:
• Provide advanced public notice of the sobriety checkpoint location.
• Employ a standard mathematical formula that dictates which cars to stop to avoid the bias of discrimination, and
• Process drivers within a given time to avoid traffic delay, unless the preliminary examination yields probable cause that the driver is impaired.
If any of the established protocols are violated, a competent Richmond DUI attorney can have your charges dismissed or downgraded when your case is brought before the court.
Throughout the process your behavior can determine the outcome of your traffic stop and impact the strength of your DUI defense if you are arrested for a Virginia DUI. If you are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint remember your vital legal rights:
• Remain calm – Being stopped does not mean you are suspected or guilty of DUI. You are innocent until you are proven guilty in a court of law.
• Do not drive away or try to avoid the checkpoint. Follow police instructions.
• Provide any information requested. Have your driver’s license and proof of insurance ready as you approach.
• The purpose of the checkpoint is to get drunk and impaired drivers off the road and to penalize their illegal behavior. Do not give law enforcement pause or reason to gather any evidence against you. You have individual rights that are protected under the law.
• Any statements you make could be used against you in a court of law – supply only the information requested, and limit your statements in case you are charged.
Sobriety checkpoints are legally enforceable measures to keep our Virginia roadways safe, but they can also present an opportunity for a miscarriage of justice. If you are arrested at a Richmond sobriety checkpoint, hire an experienced Boone Beale DUI attorney for legal representation. Our skilled Richmond DUI lawyers understand Virginia DUI law includes the scientific, medical, technological, and legal aspects of your DUI case. They will fight to defend you for the best possible outcome in your case.
Increasing Arrests Lower DUI Rates in Henrico County
In 2006, Henrico County recorded 855 DUI convictions from arrests on routine patrols and anti-drinking initiatives. In 2012, there were 1,003 DUI arrests. The resulting 17.3% increase in DUI enforcement can be attributed to several factors:
• Officers receive extensive training (DUI detection, gaze nystagmus sobriety testing, DUI processing), especially when changes to DUI laws are instituted.
• Police management emphasizing proactive DUI enforcement.
• Legal concepts such as “triple jeopardy” reinforce that traffic stops by Henrico Police for impaired driving, speed, or seat belt use triggers automatic checks for all three violations.
• Implementation of the Hampton, VA DUI Patrol Car Video Program as a tool to assist arresting officers both during the arrest process and during prosecution of suspected impaired drivers at trial.
Focusing on Henrico County DUI and Young Driver Safety
In 2012, according to VDOT, four Virginia counties – Fairfax, Chesterfield, Prince William, and Henrico – had the highest number of deaths and severe accident-related injuries from impaired driving accidents. Combine this with earlier data from NHTSA from 2010, showing 20 percent of 16–19 year old drivers involved in fatal crashes had a positive BAC, and 66 percent of the 706 young people who died in “prom season” that year were involved in alcohol-related crashes, and it is clear we need to educate and protect our youngest drivers in Henrico County.
There is an increased focus on law enforcement vigilance on our roadways and in our courtrooms. As technology creeps into the courtroom, and video cameras record field sobriety testing, all drivers need to understand the long-term consequences.
While it appears that driver’s license suspensions combined with mandatory education, or treatment and supervision, appear to be the best approach, law enforcement struggles to strike a balance between traffic safety and personal liberty. If you or someone you know has been arrested for underage drinking and driving, it is critical you contact a criminal defense attorney right away. At Boone Beale, our legal team has years of experience in the Henrico courts successfully defending clients charged with DUI in Henrico County. We can help protect your rights. Contact us today.
The DMV website states Virginia has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. If a Fairfax driver under age 21 is convicted of driving after illegally consuming alcohol, and has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.02 and 0.08, the penalties include a one year suspended driving privilege and a minimum mandatory fine of $500 or completion of at least 50 hours of community service.
Virginia Laws Related to Underage Drinking
The Commonwealth of Virginia has strict laws and severe consequences for underage possession and consumption of any alcohol.
• It is illegal for anyone under 21 to possess, purchase, or consume alcohol.
• Virginia’s Zero Tolerance (Va. Code 18.2-266.1) law makes driving under the influence a serious criminal offense for drivers under age 21. Under Virginia law, the prosecutor only needs to prove that the underage defendant consumed enough alcohol to reach a 0.02 BAC. In practice, the underage defendant may not appear intoxicated, but can still be convicted.
• No altered or fake ID (driver’s license, birth certificate or student identification card) can be used to purchase alcohol.
• Violators of the Underage Possession law (Va. Code 4.1-305) are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and face a mandatory minimum fine of $500 up to $2,500 and/or 50 hours of community service, and/or a year in jail, and can lose their driver’s license for 6 months up to a year depending upon conviction and sentencing.
Almost all states have lowered the BAC threshold for drivers under 21 years old, and elevated penalties against all impaired drivers. Fairfax Police have increased DUI arrests; and social action groups such as MADD and SADD support violator prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.
Conviction in the Fairfax County, Virginia courts has immediate and far-reaching consequences. Fines and suspended driving privileges threaten the ability to maintain a job or afford school. It can also affect eligibility for financial aid and acceptance to higher education. Under the Virginia zero tolerance law convictions remain on your criminal record for life if the defendant is 18 or older.
Contact the DUI specialists at Boone Beale for a knowledgeable attorney with experience in the court system in Fairfax County to get the individual attention you need to properly defend against the long-term effects of underage drinking and driving.
Greg Overholser joined Boone Beale in 2013 to focus on complex criminal, traffic, and DUI defense. Prior to joining the firm Mr. Overholser founded and operated his own law practice focusing on criminal and traffic defense. He also worked for over three years as an Assistant Public Defender in the City of Richmond. Mr. Overholser has an exceptional wealth of courtroom experience including jury trials. He has aggressively represented clients from wide-ranging backgrounds in hundreds of trials during his career spanning all manner of charges and situations.
Mr. Overholser received his Juris Doctor from the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond where he was president of the American Constitution Society chapter and also participated in mock trials and client counseling competition. He is a proud graduate of the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts degree and grew up in Roanoke.
A deep well of knowledge of criminal law and procedure is a valuable asset that Mr. Overholser uses to counsel and aid his clients no matter the type of case. Even more valuable is his unique ability to listen to and understand the lives of his clients. Mr. Overholser believes that every client and every case is important and works tirelessly to deliver results in courtrooms in every corner of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The countless prosecutors, judges, and police officers that have seen him in court can attest to the passion in his litigation skills.
Contact Greg Overholser today at Goverholser@boonebeale.com or 804-780-1111