Many people simply assume that because they are charged with a DUI, they will ultimately be convicted and that there is nothing to be done to fight the charge. For this reason, they often hire the least expensive attorney they can find and plead guilty as quickly as they can. While there are times when taking a plea agreement is the right course of action for a DUI, there are many other times where aggressively attacking the charges is the right approach. You need a lawyer who is able to recognize the difference, and knows how to do both.
Recent changes in the Virginia Code with respect to DUI have created a uniquely favorable set of conditions for a skilled DUI defense attorney. Virginia Code 18.2-268.9 was redrafted in response to a ground-breaking series of United States Supreme Court cases, beginning with
Crawford v. Washington in 2004 and ending most recently with
Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts in 2009. These cases arose from the premise in the
6th Amendment that "an accused... shall enjoy the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him."
This seems like an innocuous concept, but the reality is much more burdensome upon prosecuting attorneys. The number of people that are involved with a simple DUI stop is far more than you might initially think. You may only see the officer that stopped you, but what about the officer that conducted the breath test? What about the technician that made sure the breathalyzer was working properly? If your case involved a blood draw, how many people were involved in the drawing, handling, and testing of that sample? If your case involved a DUI checkpoint, who set it up, and who authorized the checkpoint?
For years in Virginia, prior to Melendez-Diaz, courts would routinely admit into evidence "Certificates of Analysis" which contained statements from various individuals who were not present at trial, but who played a part in the analysis or handling of breath and blood samples. This practice has been substantially limited, by and large because of
Melendez-Diaz and also due to changes in the Virginia Code. But the Code has not evolved as quickly as the caselaw, and there are highly technical avenues for an aggressive DUI attorney to fight for exclusion of documents that would result in a conviction.
You must ask yourself what you are paying for when you hire a DUI lawyer. If you just want an attorney to show up to court and help you plead guilty, then there are plenty of attorneys for that purpose. If you want an attorney who will explore every possible avenue of acquittal, and make the government work for every inch of ground, then contact us. We aggressively attack every DUI charge, and you deserve nothing less.