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There are two big days each year for criminal defense attorneys. The Fourth of July and Christmas.
What do I mean? Well, statistically when you mix a holiday with family and alcohol, you likely will be visited by more than just St. Nick this time of the year. Statisically, the "big" offenses for Christmas are DUI and Domestic Violence. There is just something about the season that makes spouses want to fight. Here is some advice that will hopefully keep you from doing the perp walk from the police officers car to the jail hoping for bail. First, moderate drinking. Almost always, alcohol enhances violence. Alcohol causes people to get extra confrontational. Second, DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. Often when I speak to people charged with DUI, they tell me "I was not drunk" when I was stopped. The limit in Virginia for a DUI is .08. A general rule of thumb, is each shot of alcohol will raise your blood alcohol level .02 per hour. It then takes your body about 1 hour to eliminate .02 of alcohol. So if you drink 6 mixed drinks with two shots each over 3 hours, your blood alochol level will rise to .24. Then as you are leaving the bar, your body may only have time to knock out .06-.08 of the level. Point being, you are likely unable to legally drive if you drink more than one alcoholic beverage per hour. Best rule of thumb is to not drink at all. However, please know that .08 is a very low level. Many experienced drinkers will unlikely even feel buzzed at that level. Its not DRUNK DRIVING.. Its driving under the influence, and the state says that under the influence is quite a low standard. Also, be careful for the speed traps. Troopers are in full force this time of the year. Traveling more than 20 miles per hour over the limit will get you a reckless driving ticket. In Virginia, Reckless Driving carries a maximum punishment of 1 year in jail and a $2500 fine. Watch your speed. Despite the words of wisdom, if you find yourself dealing with the police... I am going to give you the very best advice that any attorney can possibly give you.. REMAIN SILENT How many of my clients would NOT be convicted of crimes had they kept their mouths shut.. well it would be a lot. The police are not your friend. Their jobs are to investigate criminal activity and arrest perps. When the blue lights are behind you, guess what? You are the perp. So SHUT YOUR MOUTH. Do not try to talk your way out of things. Do not submit to field sobriety tests. Hand the officer your drivers license, but dont say a word and do not do anything to cooperate with the officer who is probably going to arrest you. Even if its a speeding ticket, the likely scenario is you are getting a ticket. And more oftern than not, routine minor traffic violations end up in misdemeanor or felony charges. Our founding fathers gave us a right to remain silent. Use it. Happy Holidays -
Attorney Timothy V. Anderson