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Disclaimer and legal notice
This book is copyright 2010 © Vienna Law Group. You may freely distribute this book through email, your website, or other means, as long as it remains intact. In fact, we believe the information in this book is so important, we ask you to share it with those you feel may benefit from it. Although this book provides a wealth of information about dealing with lawsuits, debt collection and bankruptcy, it is intended to provide education only. No portion of this book constitutes legal advice. Reading this book does not establish client-attorney relationship. To receive legal advice, you must hire an attorney. Vienna Law Group 10615 Judicial Drive Suite 101 Fairfax, VA 22030 877-891-4520 info@viennalawgroup.com

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About this book
It’s a Saturday night and you’ve been out with your friends having a few drinks and catching up. You feel fine and walk confidently to your car, sure that you haven’t had too much to drink and that you’ll be able to operate your vehicle safely. A lot of you have probably been in this situation. In the state of Virginia, you are taking a big risk when you get into a car after drinking. A DUI is a very serious offense that will have lasting repercussions on both your personal and professional lives. You begin to feel the negative effects of being pulled over for a DUI through stuff administrative penalties before the judge’s gavel even drops with a verdict. These penalties will only get worse upon conviction and will ultimately result in a loss of freedom in many aspects of your life. A famous ad campaign once said that “A Diamond is Forever.” Well, you could also say that a DUI conviction is forever. Once convicted, you will have a permanent record that will not disappear or diminish with the passage of time. In fact, DUIs are the only motor vehicle offenses included in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database kept by the FBI. The absence of a youthful offender statute means that the consequences of a DUI will not be lessened if you are young. There is no first time offender status either, so be prepared to face harsh penalties even if this is your first arrest. Obviously, when it comes to DUIs, prevention is the best strategy. You can avoid this situation by using public transportation to get to the bar, by not drinking, or by always having a designated driver. For the purposes of prevention, it’s also important to note that you can get a DUI even with a blood alcohol content of zero. A police officer has a sole discretion for arresting you for DUI if you appear to be under the influence of any sort of drug including legally prescribed and legally taken pharmaceutical medications. You can actually get a DUI for taking legal drugs and end up with a permanent record as a result of it. This talk of prevention is all well and good but what if you’ve already been pulled over and arrested? If this is the case, your biggest assets are Vienna Law Group, P.C. 877-891-4520

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information and representation. This book will provide you with valuable information on the various consequences of a DUI conviction and on the terminology that you will encounter as you make your way through the legal system. Once armed with this information, you can seek the representation of a qualified attorney who is experienced in navigating the system and who can help you minimize the detrimental effects of a DUI arrest. Yes, you can represent yourself but why not leave it to a trained professional who will advocate for you? As you will see, dealing with the aftermath of a DUI is usually very stressful. Why would you add an extra burden?

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This guide condenses volumes of information on these subjects into something that’s easy to understand for every reader. Every attempt has been made to provide you with the most accurate information about the US and Virginia legal system as they relate to the common issues of lawsuits, debt collection and bankruptcy. This guide is not, and cannot be, an exhaustive guide to every nuance of the legal system, civil procedure and every possible eventuality you might experience when being sued or when trying to sue someone. For that level of guidance, you should hire an attorney. However, after reading this guide, you should find that guidance more productive and useful than if you didn’t have a basic understanding of the processes involved. Information isn’t advice so use this guide to gain a better understanding of how bankruptcy might help you in your situation and then seek out advice from a qualified attorney who can help. Read on and if you feel that you’re ready to pursue filing chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, call us to set up a free consultation with one of our bankruptcy specialists. Vienna Law Group, P.C. 10615 Judicial Drive Suite 101 Fairfax, VA 22030 877-891-4520 info@viennalawgroup.com

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What are the consequences of a DUI conviction in Virginia?
If you’re facing a DUI conviction, it’s very important to understand the possible ramifications. You need to know what you’re facing and then do something about it. A DUI conviction can have numerous financial repercussions including:  Negative effect on your credit score.  Mandatory SR22 assigned risk insurance for three years to maintain driving privileges which will raise rates.  Your car may be uninsured while your license is suspended and then your rates will be raised once you can drive again.  Life and health insurance companies may deny policies or raise rates.  Interest rates for loans including home loans may be higher.  Civil judgments can be brought against you including punitive damages if an accident is related to the DUI.  Alcohol and drug dependency screening may indicate that treatment is needed and you will be financially responsible.  You can be ordered to pay DUI related property damages or medical bills and those debts won’t be discharged by bankruptcy.  The Virginia Alcohol Safety Awareness Program (VASAP) charges a minimum of $400 for education and probation services and they may require additional counseling at their discretion for which you’ll be financially responsible.  Financial responsibility for the installation and monthly costs of the ignition interlock device.  Inability to buy a brand new car.  If you’re a repeat offender you may have to post a bond.

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A DUI conviction will hamper your ability to do your current job or to find new employment. The Employee manual for a job may require disclosure to the Human Resources department. Some industries or employers will even terminate you immediately upon conviction. This includes companies with a preferred group rate with major insurance that is conditional upon the company having no employees with a DUI conviction. When filling out a job application you’ll have to check the “yes” box when asked if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime because you will now have a permanent criminal record. Some other professional consequences are:  If you’re in an accident that would have been covered by worker’s compensation laws but there is shown to be a connection between the DUI and your accident, you could be denied compensation.  Automotive franchisees have morals clause in their agreements with manufacturers so DUIs can cause a loss of contract for a dealership.  You can lose the ability to be a stock broker.  Professional license applications can be impeded including those to a State Bar or medical board.  Possible loss of your company vehicle and of company insurance. If your company has an account with Avis or Hertz and the license check shows your DUI, the company may deny access to the vehicles.  Denial or revocation of security clearances at military bases or similar businesses that contract with the U.S. government for high security clearance.  Your military career may be over or future advancement denied based on a DUI conviction. Military superior officers may sanction any service member by denying privileges on the base or impose other restrictions on duties. Personnel in the military who are about to be deployed to combat duty can be pulled out of deployment and may be discharged from military service with either a general or dishonorable discharge.  All branches of the military will delay enlistment until all probation is terminated. Vienna Law Group, P.C. 877-891-4520

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 A denial of admission to many professional schools such as law school or medical school, nursing, or physical therapy certification.  A pilot’s license can be revoked or withheld for any administrative driver’s license suspension. Failure to make a timely report to the FAA can result in a license being revoked.  Employees at pharmaceutical companies will lose their jobs.  State Farm Insurance employees will be terminated.  A teacher can lose his job at certain schools, both private and public.  DEA permit to dispense meditation such as anesthesia can be withdrawn permanently.  A pouring license to serve alcohol can be denied if you have a DUI or are on probation for a DUI. This will obviously affect bartenders.  Union contracts often call for or require reporting for any DUI convictions. Failure to report can cause loss of union membership.  Doctors and dentists can be suspended from practice until rehabilitation for alcohol dependency (VASAP) is completed.  CPAs with larger firms are required to report a DUI conviction under the full financial disclosure rules of Sarbanes-Oxley.  A cosmetology license can be suspended.  You can be sanctioned by your college or university. College sports athletes can lose scholarships for repeated alcohol related offenses. Other types of scholarships will also be in jeopardy.  Professional athletes can be banned from their leagues for repeated alcohol related offenses.

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You will also face decreased choices about where to live and increased difficulty with travel. Some of these include:  Some apartments will do background checks and they won’t rent to you if you have a DUI conviction.  You’ll deal with a mandatory probation for at least one year and major car rental companies will not rent to you.  There will be a denial of the ability to immigrate into some countries such as Canada and personal trips can be blocked or difficult to obtain.  You won’t be able to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen until five years after the DUI case is closed out.  You may be deported from the U.S. back to your country of origin.  Your Green Card could be revoked. Your work visa renewal can be denied or delayed.  Travel from the U.S. and back can be delayed at Customs or even denied. Traveling through airports will be even more difficult. Here are some other miscellaneous long term and far reaching consequences of a DUI:  Child custody could be put at risk.  Concealed weapons permit may be denied or there may be a refusal to renew an existing permit.  There are restrictions on being able to ship a hunting rifle to some countries.  With a felony DUI you can’t possess any firearms or ammunition.  Internet access to your criminal arrests is available from several websites which means that people can find out about your conviction. People can Google you and find out that you have a criminal record.  If your license is suspended, you’ll have to use a U.S. passport if you want to cash a check.  Some churches will prevent you from being able to volunteer.

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Punishments and Consequences of a DUI
If it is your first offense and you are convicted, it is a class one misdemeanor. Here are some of the consequences you will face:  A minimum $250 fine and a maximum $2,500 fine.  Jail sentence of up to one year.  Mandatory incarceration of five days if your blood alcohol content is higher than 0.15% and a mandatory incarceration of ten days if your blood alcohol content is over 0.2%.  License suspended for one year with the possibility of a restricted license.  Mandatory participation in the Virginia Alcohol Safety Awareness Program (VASAP).  Mandatory ignitioninterlock if your blood alcohol content is over 0.2%. The ignition interlock is a device installed in your car and you have to pass an automated Breathalyzer test before you can start your car. If your blood alcohol content is lower than 0.2%, the judge can still order you to install it on your vehicle. If it’s your second offense and it’s within five years of your first one, then it’s a class one misdemeanor again. Here are the consequences you will face:  A minimum $500 fine and $2,500 maximum fine. The mandatory fine is $2,000 if your blood alcohol content is over 0.15%.  Minimum jail sentence of one month and a maximum sentence of one year.  Mandatory incarceration of 20 days or 30 days if your blood alcohol content is over 0.15% and 40 days if it’s over 0.2%.  License suspended for three years with the possibility of a restricted license after one year.  Mandatory ignition interlock.  Persons convicted of a second or subsequent offense must pay an additional $50 fee to the Trauma Center Fund.

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If it’s your second offense and it’s within five to ten years of your first one, it’s again a class one misdemeanor. Here are the consequences:  A minimum $500 fine and a maximum $2,500 fine. The mandatory fine is $1,000 if your blood alcohol content is over 0.15%.  Minimum jail sentence of one month and maximum sentence of one year.  Mandatory incarceration of ten days, 20 days if your blood alcohol content is over 0.15% and 30 days if it’s over 0.20%.  License suspended for three years with the possibility of a restricted license after four months.  Mandatory ignition interlock.  Additional $50 fee to the Trauma Center Fund. If you have a third offense within five years, you’re going to be convicted of a class six felony. Here are the consequences:     A minimum $1,000 fine and a maximum $2,500 fine. One to five years in prison or up to twelve months in jail. Mandatory incarceration of six months. License suspended indefinitely.

The third offense within five to ten years is again a class six felony. Here are the consequences:     A mandatory minimum $1,000 fine and a maximum $2,500 fine. One to five years in prison or up to twelve months in jail. Mandatory incarceration of 90 days. License suspended indefinitely.

If you get your license back and you have a fourth or subsequent offense within ten years, that’s a class six felony. Here are the consequences:     A mandatory minimum $1,000 fine and a maximum $2,500 fine. One to five years in prison or up to twelve months in jail. Mandatory incarceration of one year. Indefinite revocation of your license. Vienna Law Group, P.C. 877-891-4520

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Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

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What happens if you refuse the Breathalyzer test when a police officer pulls you over? Although this is not a criminal violation, your license will be suspended for one year with no options for a restricted license. Your license is granted to you by the state as a privilege. In exchange for the license and the ability to drive a vehicle, you’ve agreed to abide by all traffic laws. Even without giving you a criminal offense, the state which operates the DMV can simply revoke your license. Criminal charges are not required because the license is granted in such a way that you had obligated yourself to follow all laws. If you’re pulled over and refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, your license will be automatically suspended for 7 days. If it’s your second offense, the license will be suspended for 2 months or until your trial, whichever is shorter. For the third offense, your license is suspended until the trial. If you’re pulled over within ten years of being convicted of a DUI and you refuse a Breathalyzer test, it’s now a class two misdemeanor. The consequences are:  Fine of up to $1,000.  Up to six months in jail with no mandatory incarceration.  License suspended for three years with no options for a restricted license.

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Refusal of a Breathalyzer test within ten years of two or more qualifying offenses is a class one misdemeanor. The consequences are:  $2,500 fine  A jail sentence of up to twelve months with no mandatory incarceration.  License suspended for up to three years with no restricted license option available. If you’re convicted of both a DUI and of refusing a Breathalyzer test, your suspensions will run consecutively.
Ignition Interlock

An ignition interlock is a device that prevents a vehicle from starting until a BAC breathalyzer test is passed with the device. The cost for one is about $100 a month with an installation fee that runs about $250. If required, an ignition interlock device must be installed on every vehicle owned by or registered to the offender. For a first offence, it’s optional whether or not an ignition interlock is required. It’s not your option though. It’s the judge’s option. For a second and third offence, the ignition interlock is mandatory. It’s also mandatory if had a blood alcohol content of 0.15% or more at the time of your arrest.
Restricted Licenses

What will a restricted license allow you to do? The court decides this on a case by case basis. It’s worth noting that restricted licenses may not be issued to operate commercial vehicles. A commercial driver’s license will be suspended for one year. If you’re caught driving on a suspended license your car will be impounded and you’ll face a new criminal case with mandatory jail time. Here are some examples of places you may be permitted to drive to under a restricted license:     Work Work-related appointments if necessary for employment VASAP or alcohol rehabilitation program School

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 Medically necessary health services  Transportation of minor children to and from school, daycare, or healthcare appointments  Transportation of elderly patients to necessary healthcare  Court ordered visitation with a minor child  Drug screening program  Court appearances when subpoenaed as a witness or a party  Appointments with a probation officer or other court ordered probationary programs.
Restoration of License

How do you get your license restored after it’s been indefinitely revoked? Persons convicted of a third or subsequent DUI offense may petition for a restricted license three years after their conviction. An evaluation must be conducted by a VASAP administrator. After five years, a person may petition for a full license restoration with a VASAP evaluation. The ignition interlock is required for a period of six months after either circumstance. You would be responsible for the cost of the ignition interlock.

Other Useful Information
There is zero tolerance for offenders under the age of 21. If you’re under 21 and pulled over with a blood alcohol level of 0.02% or more, you’ll have your license suspended for six months and may receive a fine of up to $500. A restricted license may be issued at the discretion of the court if the offender attends VASAP. If you are convicted of a DUI while transporting a juvenile of 17 years of age or younger you’ll receive an additional fine of $500 to $1,000 and a mandatory minimum period of confinement of five days.

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Should I use a lawyer for my Virginia DUI defense?
A DUI is a serious offence. If convicted the consequences are very significant and will stick with you permanently. That’s why it’s important to have a qualified attorney provide you with the best defense possible. Sometimes it’s possible to get charges reduced, or dropped. In other cases, it may not be possible to avoid a conviction but reducing the penalties may still be an option. A good legal defense requires knowledge of the system. That’s what an attorney is for. We have the training and experience to understand the ins and outs of the courts and of the laws impacting your case. We recommend a qualified attorney to help you with your case, and not just because we earn a fee by providing the service. The issues leading to bankruptcy are very stressful for anyone. With the complexity of the new laws it’s simply too easy to get lost in the emotion and make a mistake. That’s what legal representation is for. Let us help you. Contact us and schedule a meeting with one of our bankruptcy specialists. We’ll look at your case and make the recommendation that we feel is in your best interests. Vienna Law Group 10615 Judicial Drive Suite 101 Fairfax, VA 22030 877-891-4520 info@viennalawgroup.com

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About The Author
Jad Sarsour, Esq. has experience in a wide variety of fields and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge with others both in interactions with clients and through writing books available to the general public on diverse legal topics of concern to common citizens. He used to work in the commodity industry, handling financial instruments such as Medium Term Notes (MTNS), Bank Guarantees (BG), and Treasury Notes. He has used his legal expertise to successfully navigate and close business transactions in the sugar, oil, and natural gas industries. His knowledge of international issues in business law proved invaluable in helping several American companies to set up operations in the Middle East. In addition to working with established companies, Jad has advised budding entrepreneurs, helping one client raise 350 million dollars in startup capital for a new venture. Jad has also worked on many Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy cases.
EDUCATION

 George Mason University  Georgetown University- 2000  Michigan State College of Law – East Lansing J.D.
BAR ADMISSIONS

      

Virginia State Bar Virginia Supreme Court 4th Circuit Court of Appeals U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Virginia U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Virginia

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