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Second DUI Offense Reduced For Man Asleep Behind The Wheel

In Virginia, DUI charges are very serious and the consequences can impact your life for a long time. If you find yourself charged with a DUI, it is important to reach out to a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who will know how to handle the case based on your unique circumstances. Not long ago, police came upon a car that was stopped in the left passing lane of interstate 581. When they approached the car, the occupant appeared to be asleep. Once they began speaking with the man, he was apparently very groggy and attempted to drive away, but became stuck in a nearby embankment. The man admitted to having a small amount to drink, and officers conducted field sobriety tests. However, he refused a breath test to determine his Blood Alcohol content (BAC). Subsequently, they charged the man with reckless driving and his second DUI offense; therefore, he was now faced with very harsh repercussions, including mandatory jail time, significantly higher fines, and a longer license suspension period than if it was his first infraction. Because he did not want to face such drastic penalties or be incarcerated, he reached out to the experienced Virginia DUI attorney, Rick Derrico of Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico.

During a consultation, Mr. Derrico asked his client how much he had to drink, and other questions relating to his overall health. Although the man’s official BAC was not available due to his test refusal, it became clear that the amount he imbibed should not have caused such an extreme reaction. When the man indicated that he often felt tired, Mr. Derrico arranged for him to participate in a sleep study, which concluded that he suffered from a severe case of sleep apnea. This condition often causes someone to feel perpetually tired and the symptoms can include impaired balance, the inability to concentrate, and falling asleep at inopportune times. Once his client received an accurate medical diagnosis, Mr. Derrico used these findings to negotiate with the prosecution. With the man’s sobriety tests effectively shown to be at most, highly questionable, he eventually arranged for his client to plea to a first offense DUI. This saved him from the increased consequences of a second offense which most importantly spared him from a mandatory jail sentence. This greatly relieved the client because, without attorney Derrico’s concern for the man’s health and his meticulous attention to detail, this outcome may not have been possible.

The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.