Annapolis DUI Penalties
If you find yourself on the receiving end of a DUI charge, the first step to mitigate any potential damage is to contact an Annapolis DUI lawyer. The more information you keep to yourself, between you and your attorney, the less the prosecution can use against you in court. The more someone divulges early on, the more challenging it becomes to do damage control after the fact. Officers write reports with everything that the person they are charging said. The hearsay exceptions will disappear and the person’s attorney will have very limited opportunity to be able to fight that in court.
The maximum penalty includes jail time. Under the Virginia code of law, the potential consequences for a DUI conviction include:
- Jail time
- A $1,000 fine
- Possibly both
The penalties double for a second offense, and triple for a third. In addition, a conviction for driving while impaired can result in 60 days in jail and $500 fine. For any subsequent offenses of the same kind, an additional year in jail can be placed on the sentence, as well as other consequences as determined by the court.
Impact on Insurance
It is important to not make any statements to an insurance company until one speaks to a lawyer. The reason is twofold: first, because calls are recorded and can later be subpoenaed by the prosecution as a means incriminating the defendant in court; and second, because the insurance rates will go up.
Keep in mind, when someone calls an insurance company, there is a short announcement that comes on at the very beginning, notifying the caller that the conversation is being recorded for training purposes. Regardless of the original intent, they are recording the person’s statement. They are asking the individual questions, and informing the person that they will be recording everything that is said. Those recorded statements can later be subpoenaed by the state attorney’s office.
There is also no need for someone who has been charged with a DUI to notify their insurance company right away because, if the case goes to court and does not result in a conviction, the insurance company will not be notified and need never know. On the other hand, if the person is found guilty and convicted, then there will be no way to avoid the insurance company learning of the DUI. Once they do, they will raise the person’s rates. Until this is absolutely unavoidable, however, it is best to not share notice of the charge with them.
How An Attorney Can Help
As an attorney, the primary objective is to protect you, the client. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to address the situation right away, and understand that you are not alone. Having a qualified attorney by your side means benefiting from their knowledge, experience, and guidance as they build the strongest defense possible for you in court. For instance, a defense attorney will likely recommend that you enroll in an alcohol education program. They will encourage you to complete as much of the course as possible before appearing before a judge, as one of many means to show the court that the image of you presented by the prosecution is distorted and inaccurate. Defense counsel will work to present your strongest case to the judge, and to help you achieve the best possible outcome.