Serious Traffic Infractions
I represent clients accused of serious traffic infractions, including DWI, driving on a suspended license and reckless driving. This is the one area of my practice that I, at least for now, am limiting to the Commonwealth of Virginia (i.e., not Maryland or D.C.)
Some people are taken aback by attorneys who defend individuals accused of serious traffic infractions. There is no question that intoxicated drivers cause horrible tragedies every year in this country. Even so, the rights of the accused in this country must be protected. A vigorous defense forces the police and prosecution to always make their best efforts; this in turn discourages the government from bringing weak cases and encourages the government to put sufficient time into cases against people who pose a threat to others.
The great sin among clients in serious traffic infraction cases is procrastination. Surprisingly, I have had a number of people contact me for the first time the day before they are set for trial, even though they were facing possible jail time!
Another great sin among clients in serious traffic infraction cases is keeping secrets from their own lawyers. The prosecutor is going to know everything, so you only hurt yourself if your lawyer ends up being surprised by the prosecutor.
There are three different institutions that may take action against you because of your traffic infraction:
(A) The Commonwealth of Virginia may do any or all of the following: jail you, fine you, suspend your license to drive and order you to take relevant classes.
(B) The Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your license administratively for points and/or require you to take courses.
(C) Your insurance company can raise your premiums, terminate your policy, and/or require you to take courses.
As with all legal cases, a DWI defense must be analyzed based on the specific facts of the case. There are, however, certain issues that are always important: (a) What is the blood alcohol count (BAC)? Certain BAC levels carry mandatory jail time if there is a conviction. (b) Are there prior offenses? Jail time is substantially adversely affected by prior convictions. (c) Why did the police stop you? If you were stopped because you were driving badly or, much worse, because you were in an accident, then that may substantially adversely affect amount of jail time. (d) How did you act towards the police officer? Always be polite to the police.
Also bear in mind that it is entirely possible to go to jail for a traffic infraction even if it does not involve drinking. In Northern Virginia particularly, reckless speed and driving on a suspended license can each result in a jail sentence.
Call Adam D. Elfenbein at 703-243-9223 to schedule your free initial consultation, or contact me online.