CAN DUI LAWYERS IN VIRGINIA SUCCESSFULLY PREVAIL IN COURT?
Sure, in many, if not most cases. As an example, we had one case where we filed a special written demand for the history of the Breath Test Machine that our client blew into at the Police station, to determine the client’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). As previously noted, a BAC of 0.08% or higher, is the most incriminating evidence of a DWI. Therefore, being able to keep the BAC Test result of a 0.08%, or higher, out of evidence, will almost always cause a DWI to be dismissed, (though a person can still be convicted of a “DUI” because of the way they looked, drove, acted, walked, talked, smelled of alcohol and performed on the FST’s on the road- but it is much more difficult to make the DUI charge stick without a 0.08%, or higher, BAC by a Breath or Blood Test).
Through our written demand of the Breath Test Machine history, we were able to get two months’ worth of background information on the Breath Test Machine used in our client’s case; and found prior issues and maintenance problems with the Breath Test Machine.
Because of our due diligence (as experienced DUI Lawyers) in obtaining this critical documentation, we were able to show it to the Commonwealth’s Attorney (the Prosecutor) prior to trial; and we were then able to convince the Prosecutor that our clients’ extremely high Blood Alcohol Concentration level (BAC) was not reliable and had to be “thrown out”. This meant that the main element in the DWI case against our client, (his very high BAC test result), could not reliably be admitted into evidence, and thus, the Prosecutor had to nolle prosse/dismiss the DWI/DUI charge against our Client.
What Happens In Accident Cases When The Driver Was Drunk?
We have handled many cases where there was an accident and the person driving had a Blood Alcohol Concentration level of 0.08%, or higher. At first glance, most people would think that the “drunk driver” who had an accident would be in even worse trouble than a “drunk driver” who was routinely stopped by a Police Officer driving down the highway, not in an accident; but had the same Blood Alcohol Concentration level as the “drunk driver” who had an accident.
But, in Virginia, the Prosecutor has to prove three additional elements in a DUI/Accident case beyond what they normally would have to prove in a routine non- accident DUI case, making it much more difficult for the Prosecutor to prove the DUI case.
The Police are almost never at the scene of an accident when it happens. Often, the Police will arrive when the driver is already out of their car. In this case, the Prosecutor will first have to prove that the person was actually the one who was operating the vehicle at the time of the accident. At first, this sounds easy, but often it is not easy for the Prosecutor to actually prove that the person outside the car was the one operating it, if no one has seen them driving at the time of the accident-unless the driver admits to operating the vehicle at the time of the accident.
The second element that the Prosecutor must prove in an accident case is that the person had nothing to drink after the accident. At first, most people find this incredible, and inconceivable, but there have been numerous cases, and I have handled many of them, where the driver might actually have had alcohol in the car because they were on their way to/from a party when the accident happened, etc. Then, they were so upset by the accident that they started drinking the alcohol in their car before the Police arrived; then threw the bottle away. And, I have handled cases where the driver actually walked home or to a nearby bar because the accident was just a few blocks from their house or a bar. They then had a drink, and came back to the accident scene. This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.
Under Virginia law, the Prosecutor must prove that the driver had nothing to drink between the time of the accident and the time when the Police arrived. It is not the driver’s burden to prove that they had nothing to drink after the accident. It is often very difficult for a Prosecutor to prove that this didn’t happen, because in most car accidents, there is not anyone else who saw the person after the accident and before the police arrived; and even in multiple car accidents, there is often no one who actually watched the “drunk driver” from the time of the accident until the Police arrived.
The third element that the Prosecutor must prove in an accident case is that the person was arrested within 3 hours of the accident, in order for the Prosecutor to be able to get the person’s BAC Breath or Blood Test result admitted into evidence against them. The Prosecutor can virtually always prove what time the person was arrested, because it is noted on the Police Officer’s arrest sheets; but proving exactly what time the accident happened is another matter, as there may be no actual evidence to prove it. As you can see, often the Prosecutor cannot prove one or more of these 3 necessary prosecutorial elements that are required to be proven in DUI/Accident Cases, and because of this we have been able to get a number of these type of cases dismissed.
Remember, the prosecution is always required to prove all 3 of these elements: 1) that the driver had nothing to drink after the accident; 2) that the driver was actually behind the wheel at the time of the accident; and, 3) that the driver was arrested within three hours of the accident. Otherwise, the DUI case will likely be dismissed, or reduced to a much lesser charge.
For more information on Case Studies of DUI Cases in VA, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (703) 313-2727 today.