Why you can’t find the Best DUI Lawyer in Virginia on the internet

When you or a loved one are charged with the serious offense of DUI or DWI in Virginia, you want the best legal advice possible.  Much is at risk: A loss of license, high fines, a permanent criminal record, and possible sentence of jail time for a First Offense DUI in Virginia.

However, when you are searching for the best DUI lawyer in Virginia to handle your case, be aware that the Virginia State Bar prevents any attorney to claim that he or she is the best DUI lawyer.

It is unethical and wrong for a lawyer to claim that status because it is misleading and cannot be substantiated.  You do not want a lawyer who is willing to put such claims in their advertising material online, in direct mail, or in the yellow pages.  In 2005, the Virginia Supreme Court approved a legal ethics opinion on the topic.  The opinion directed attorneys to follow the following:

Rule 7.1(a)(3) prohibits communications that compare a lawyer’s services with other lawyers, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated.  This provision is intended to prohibit misleading, unsubstantiated claims by lawyers that they are “the greatest” or “the best,” or that their firm is the “premier” firm in Virginia.  Any advertisement which makes statements or claims beyond the fact that the lawyer is listed in such a publication must comply with Rule 7.1. 

The Virginia State Bar directed “lawyers who choose to communicate information to the public concerning their services are not merely permitted, but indeed are encouraged, to base their communications upon accurate, factual information describing legitimate credentials.  This type of information is likely to assist consumers in making decisions with regard to available legal services.  Descriptive characterizations of objective credentials are permissible, so long as the characterizations are accurate and truthful.”

Rule 7.1(a)(3):

Rule 7.1 Communications And Advertising Concerning A Lawyer’s Services

               (a) A lawyer shall not, on behalf of the lawyer or any other lawyer affiliated with the lawyer or the firm, use or participate in the use of any form of public        communication if such communication contains a false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive statement or claim. For example, a communication violates this Rule if it:           (3) compares the lawyer’s services with other lawyers’ services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated;

The Virginia State Bar added that “Attorneys must take care that an otherwise permissible communication is not rendered unethical due to mis-characterization.  Finally, although qualitative statements are permissible within a context that demonstrates their factual basis, the same types of qualitative statements when made in the absence of such context, may be prohibited as unsubstantiated comparisons of one lawyer’s services with the services provided by other lawyers”

The Gordon Law Firm practices criminal defense, reckless driving and DUI law in Virginia.  Our lawyers Alex Gordon and Carlos Wall have been recognized by several organizations for our work and reputation as DUI lawyers in Virginia.  These organizations include Avvo.com, the National Trial Lawyers, and NorthernVirginia Magazine.  Many former clients have posted positive reviews on Google and Yahoo.com.

However, we will never claim that we are “SuperLawyers” or are the “Best Lawyers in Virginia”

A person looking for help is looking for the best DUI attorney for their own personal needs.  We recommend contacting experienced DUI attorneys near your local jurisdiction and have a lengthy conversation about the circumstances of your DUI arrest.  Ask as many questions as you want of the DUI lawyer and if you get the feeling that he or she is being honest and forthright, and that lawyer has the skills and knowledge that you feel comfortable with, then that person may be the “best DUI lawyer” for you.

The Gordon Law Firm have helped more than 400 people charged with DUI in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William County who decided to place their trust in our skill and abilities.  If you are in need of help for a DUI charge in Virginia, we offer a free consultation.  Contact us at 703.218.8416 or send an email to thegordonlawfirm@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 


Dealing with a DUI Checkpoint in Virginia

Fairfax DUI CheckpointEven if you haven’t been drinking, seeing a DUI checkpoint ahead can make you apprehensive and nervous. Agencies are required to announce the location of DUI checkpoints.  You should look in local newspapers and government websites for announcements. Checkpoints are often located on major roadways connecting entertainment areas or on the way out of town.  They are often scheduled for weekends or around major holidays.

Here are a few things to consider as you approach a DUI checkpoint  in Fairfax County or Northern Virginia.

Follow these suggestions and the encounter may go much easier than you anticipated.  Of course if you have been drinking heavily and decided to drive, you may not remember these instructions… so … if you plan to drink to the point where you are really concerned about getting arrested at a DUI checkpoint, call a taxi.

1. First  – Don’t panic.

Slow down and proceed normally until you are actually stopped by an law enforcement officer.Don’t make a U-turn and drive away. Even if you haven’t been drinking and just want to avoid a delay, any evasion of the checkpoint draws the attention of the police to your car.  In my experience, the Fairfax or Prince William County police officers conducting the DUI checkpoint will likely radio other officers to pull you over.   The DUI plans in Virginia designate this car the “chase vehicle.”

2. Proceed slowly
There is a very good chance you be stopped. It is not legal for the police to detain every car at a Virginia DUI checkpoint.   Most DUI checkpoint plans use a mathematical formula to determine which cars to pull over.  The Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William County Police must maintain a copy of the plan and the mathematical formula in case the checkpoint is challenged in court.

3. Just do what they tell you.
If your car is directed to be detained, it’s just like being pulled over.  Have your license and registration ready to hand to the officer.  They will most likely ask for these documents, so just pull them out while you’re waiting in line.

4. Don’t say much to the officer. 
Federal law states that law enforcement officers must minimize the amount of time they detain your vehicle. This means they can only ask you to step out of your vehicle and take a field sobriety test if the officer feels you exhibit obvious signs of intoxication: glassy eyes, slurred speech, smell of alcohol in the car, etc. Remember, even saying something to the effect of “I’ve only had one drink,”  can be interpreted as a confession and lead to further questioning.  Your best bet if asked this question is to politely ask if you are free to leave without answering any further questions.

5. Be cooperative with the police but firm.
If the police officer orders you out of the car, do so.  If the officer merely asks to step out, ask him or her if you are required to do so, because you would rather be on your way.

In Virginia, you are not required to perform any Field Sobriety Tests.  These tests are difficult for healthy and fit people to pass. The tests are meant to divide a person’s attention, so when you are nervous, cold and under pressure on the side of a road. these tests are extremely difficult. You may choose to decline the tests, but be aware you may be placed under arrest.  However, if you attempt to do the tests and fail, you may be arrested anyway and you provided evidence to the police that can be used for conviction.

6. You are not required to blow into any handheld device
This machine is called a preliminary breath test.  It is voluntary under Virginia law.  The officers often say they are required to offer the test to you, but it is still voluntary.  The officer may even say that the test can’t be used in court (Untrue!).  If your breath registers above a .07 BAC, you may be arrested.  You may choose to decline the tests, but be aware you may be placed under arrest.  However, if you attempt to do the tests and fail, you may be arrested anyway and you provided evidence to the police that can be used to justify your arrest.  If you are in doubt as to your Breath Alcohol Level, you must use your judgment based upon this information.

7.  Virginia Implied Consent applies to the breath test that is hooked up to a computer or a blood test.

The machine used in Virginia is the EC/IR 2.  If you have never been convicted of a DUI before, the maximum punishment for declining to blow into the machine is a 12 month loss of your driving privileges in Virginia and a civil penalty.  You may not  drive at all in Virginia for 12 months.  However, if you blow into the machine and you register above a .07 BAC, you have provided the police the best evidence of your intoxication and may lead to a permanent criminal conviction for DUI.  Again, use your judgment.


Sober man Charged with DUI even after he has a .000 BAC

A sober man was arrested for a DUI in Arizona even though he had 0.000 blood-alcohol content, it was reported by ABC News 15 in Arizona.

Jessie Thornton, 64, of Surprise, Ariz., was pulled over by police said that the cops told him that he was drunk just by looking at him.

“’An officer walked up and he said ‘I can tell you’re driving DUI by looking in your eyes.’ I take my glasses off and he says, ‘You’ve got bloodshot eyes,’”

When other police arrived, Thornton blew a 0.000.  The police said he needed to be evaluated for drug use.

“Yes, I do the breathalyzer and it comes back zero, zero, zero,” Mr. Thornton added

Thornton said that he was placed in handcuffs and was told to sit on the curb.  The police did not appear to notice that the 64 year old had hip and knee problems.

“I couldn’t even sit on the ground like that and they knew it and I was like laying on the ground, then they put me in the back of an SUV and when I asked the officer to move her seat up ’cause my hip hurt she told me to stop whining,” said Thornton.

Mr. Thornton then told ABC news that  “I then get this message that my license is being suspended and I have to take some sort of drinking class or something.”

Police then informed him that his car was impounded and a DUI charge was filed against him.

Thornton told the station that a late-night swim at LA Fitness might have the reason why he was arrested.

However, he believes the DUI arrest and the ten other times he has been stopped were motivated by racial profiling.

“It was driving while black,” he said, adding: “I just don’t want any of this to happen to somebody else,” he said.

 


Lowered Limit Being Pushed for by NTSB

Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all 50 US States lower the legal limit of alcohol in the blood to .05 from .08. The NTSB says that in the last 30 years over 440,000 people have died from alcohol related traffic accidents; drunk driving accounts for more than 1/3rd of all road deaths in the US. If the limit were lowered to .05 about 500 to 800 lives would be saved every year.

Right now, if a 180 pound male imbibed in 4 drinks over the span of an hour his BAC would reach .08%. A .05 BAC would be reached within an hour and two to three drinks. Ones BAC is determined by body weight and mass. Most drivers start feeling the effects of alcohol when their blood reaches .05%. The American Beverage Institute, however, says that the average woman holds a .05 BAC after just one drink. The ABI plans on examining the NTSB’s recommendation to lower the limit.

In the 1980s the BAC was as high as .15%. Due to groups pushing for the lowering of the limit, groups like MADD, many states lowered it from .15 to .08%, with the last state following suit in 2004. The number of traffic related deaths due to alcohol dropped from 20,000 in 1980 to 9,878 in 2011. Still, 31% of highway fatalities are alcohol related. More than 100 countries have a BAC limit of .05 or lower; the NTSB would like the US to have the same limit.

There is also push to confiscate an intoxicated driver’s license immediately upon arrest or if they refuse to take BAC tests. The NTSB would also like police to use passive alcohol sensors which can smell alcohol on a driver’s breath even if that driver is chewing gum or eating mints. Last, they would like to see ignition interlock devices for every DUI offender and that states should improve compliance with the interlock.

A DWI in Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor. If you or a loved one are being accused of Driving While Intoxicated, call The Gordon Law Firm today for your free consultation at 703-218-8416 or toll free at 866-591NOVA (6682).


SCOTUS Rules Cops Must Obtain Warrant Before Blood Test

Recently, the US Supreme Court ruled that police officers must get a warrant before they subject a suspected drunk driver to a blood test. Their decision came as an 8-to-1 win; Justice Clarence Thomas was the only neigh in the bunch.

This comes as a big win for drivers such as Missourian Tyler McNeely, who was stopped one night after a state trooper saw him driving erratically. McNeely refused a Breathlyzer test; the trooper then took him to a local hospital where his blood was drawn, without a warrant. The state of Missouri argued that because the rate alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream, every minute passed is wasting valuable evidence, therefore a warrant should not be required to draw blood. SCOTUS, however, disagreed, saying that there is, in most circumstances, enough time for the police to obtain a warrant. Justice Sonia Sotomayor says that in today’s technology a police officer can easily obtain a warrant through their cellphone; because a magistrate is available 24 hours a day, this makes it even more possible and easy for police.

However, if there is an emergency case then police can draw without a warrant and this will be hashed out later in court, but it is solely on a case-by-case basis with the blood draw warrant being practically mandatory. Justice Thomas, the lone dissenter, sided with Missouri, stating that the alcohol dissipation rate in the blood stream justifies the police drawing blood without a warrant.

If you or a loved one is facing a DWI charge, with or without a refusal charge, give us a call today for your free consultation. You can reach The Gordon Law Firm at 703-218-8416 or toll-free at 866-591-NOVA.


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