Getting charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in another state is usually more expensive and stressful than getting charged in your home state. You will have to hire a lawyer licensed to practice in the state where you got arrested, and you will probably have to travel there to appear in court. If a Virginia court convicts you of DUI, you may face serious repercussions as an out-of-state driver.
If you’ve been charged with or arrested for a DUI in Virginia, you need an experienced Roanoke DUI / DWI defense lawyers on your side. Call our team of lawyers at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico today at (540) 343-9349.
Your Driver’s License May Get Suspended
According to Virginia Code section 46.2-398, Virginia can suspend your right to drive in Virginia. However, Virginia is part of the interstate driver’s license compact, which means that if you receive a DUI out of state, your home state may find out about your DUI and suspend your license.
All but 4 states have signed the interstate driver’s license compact or an equivalent –Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Tennessee. States that have signed the interstate compact must:
- Report a traffic violation to the driver’s home state’s government
- Treat an out-of-state offense as if it had occurred in the home state
- Penalize you for an out-of-state offense if the home state has a similar offense on its books
You Will Need to Appear in a Virginia Court
A DUI is generally a misdemeanor in Virginia, although under some aggravating circumstances it may be treated as a felony. In either case, the court may require you to appear in person for your arraignment, which is the hearing during which the court will explain the charges against you and ask you if you can afford to hire an attorney or if you need one appointed.
If you fail to attend your arraignment, the judge may issue a bench warrant against you. This doesn’t necessarily mean law enforcement is going to hunt you down. However, if you get pulled over–even outside of Virginia–the warrant will be visible to the officer and they may arrest you on the spot and hold you for extradition.
Virginia has exceptionally harsh penalties for DUI. In addition to possible jail time and the certainty of heavy fines, even first time offenders must install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) if they want to keep driving after their DUI.
What’s the Best Course of Action to Take for an Out-of-State DUI?
Each State has its own laws and court procedures. For this reason, you should hire a criminal defense lawyer who is licensed to practice in Virginia if that’s where you’ve been charged with DUI. It’s even best to find a lawyer who frequently handles DUI cases in the court where your case is being processed because they will be familiar with the prosecutor and the judge.
At Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, we have extensive experience obtaining positive case resolutions for clients accused of driving under the influence. Depending on your circumstances, we may be able to have the case dismissed before trial by challenging the prosecutor’s evidence. Even if you think your case is helpless, there is a strong possibility that we can negotiate a beneficial plea agreement with the prosecutor. To find out more about how we can help, call us today at (540) 343-9349 for a free and confidential consultation of your Roanoke DUI case.