A charge of driving under the influence can turn your world upside down. You could be arrested and jailed, forced to contact a family member or friend to post your bail, and hauled before a judge in a courtroom. If you are found guilty, you could face additional incarceration, heavy fines, and even the suspension of your driver's license.
The penalties for DUI in Virginia are too severe to permit courts to ‘look the other way' when police officers make errors. However, there is one certainty at a DUI trial: the DUI defendant cannot prevail on an issue his lawyer fails to recognize and raise!
If you have been arrested for DUI in Virginia, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney with experience in cases that are similar to yours. But before you make that call, there are ways to increase the strength of your Virginia DUI defense. And it all starts the moment you are pulled over by a police officer.
The Importance of a Police Report in a VA DUI Case
From the moment the police officer turns on his lights, they can start collecting evidence to be used against you in a Virginia court. All of this evidence is recorded in the police report, which serves as the officer's account of what occurred throughout the entire incident.
When you see lights flashing in your rear view mirror, don't make any sudden or suspicious moves with your vehicle. Simply pull over to the side of the road as quickly and safely as you possibly can.
Reasonable Suspicion During a DUI Stop
One of the integral components of the police report for your DUI charge is known as reasonable suspicion. This is the reason that the officer chose to target you for a traffic stop.
It is important to note that police officers cannot pull you over simply because they think you are intoxicated. However, if they do think you are driving under the influence, they can point to a minor traffic violation as reasonable suspicion. Reasons that police can pull you over include:
- drifting onto the shoulder or lane divider
- making a wide or otherwise illegal turn
- swerving or weaving (even within your lane)
- failing to use turn signals or using them inappropriately (such as leaving them on after you have completed the turn or lane change)
- driving too fast
- driving too slowly (at least 10mph below the speed limit)
- speeding up or slowing down too quickly or erratically
- braking frequently or stopping for no reason
- driving at night without your headlights
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