Lawyer Mark Matney of Matney Law PLLC - Newport News Virginia - DUI and Traffic Court Lawyer

5 Steps to Succeed

Lawyer Mark Matney of Matney Law PLLC - Newport News Virginia - DUI and Traffic Court Lawyer

Mark Matney

DUI - DWI Lawyer

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5 Steps to Succeed With Your New Year's Resolutions

Posted by Mark Matney of Matney Law PLLC Newport News VA
www.matneylawpllc.com
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Did you set financial goals for the New Year? As we approach the end of the first quarter of 2020 are you on track? Many people use the change of year to start something new. Unfortunately, few follow through. Think of all the new gym memberships and budgets that end up unused as January rolls into February. Here are 5 steps to success:
1. Choose Reasonable Goals: The best first step to accomplishing a new goal is to set a target you can reach within a reasonable period of time. If you are in debt, tackle the smallest one first. If you are starting or building your retirement savings, then set a monthly goal. Setting up an automatic investment plan is a worry-free way to keep you on track.

2. Write Your Goals Down: When you write down what you want to accomplish, you are 200% more likely to achieve it. When it is just a thought, then it is only a wish. Working with a financial coach will help you identify how much money is needed to reach your goals. A good coach will make sure you account for inflation and estimated rates of return.

3. Don’t Judge Yourself Too Severely. There will be ups and downs as you work toward your goal, don’t be discouraged. Maybe you had to use all of your emergency fund savings. Be excited that you had the money available and recommit to your original plan.

4. Focus On How You Will Feel When You Succeed. How will you feel when you become debt free, fully fund your emergency savings, or save enough to have the option to stop working? Imagine crossing the finish line! It will be 100 times better than you think!

5. Reward Yourself Along The Way. Did you pay off your first debt, finish building your emergency account, achieve a milestone in your retirement savings? Congratulate yourself and share with others what you achieved. You will be amazed how you can encourage others.

Mark Matney is a financial and legal services professional who helps families and businesses throughout Hampton Roads to get their money working for them so they can worry less about money and enjoy their lives more. Call him for a free consultation at 757-784-3507.

Matney Law PLLC - DUI Attorney - Newport News VA

Matney Law – DUI Case Results

Matney Law - DUI Case Results

Matney Law PLLC with offices in Williamsburg & Newport News are providing some sample DUI cases results for your review.  You may read all of the case results for 2015 through 2018 in the tabs on this website.  Mark Matney has defended hundreds of people in traffic court.  If you are looking for a experienced DUI defense team, then call Matney Law.  We focus on the cities and counties between Virginia Beach and New Kent.

Call 757-784-3507

DUI Not Guilty and DUI Dismissed

During the past month, I achieved dismissals for two of my DUI clients. During this time I also helped other clients by negotiating the amendment of a DUI to reckless driving, the dismissal of other charges, the avoidance or reduction of jail, and other positive sentencing outcomes.

The dismissal by nolle pros was exciting for my client, but it was not extraordinary. By showing up ready for trial, I was able to take advantage of a difficulty with the prosecution’s evidence. This resulted in the prosecutor asking the judge to dismiss the case with the hope that he can possibly obtain the necessary evidence in the future.

The not guilty decision was exhilarating. DUI trials are hard fought, with most of my clients presumed to be under the influence as soon as we walk into the courtroom. In this case, I argued a legal issue to challenge the admissibility of the breath certificate and the judge agreed to exclude the breath certificate with my client’s blood alcohol level. This decision removed the presumption that my client was under the influence and left both sides to argue about the field sobriety tests. After the officer described what he remembered happening, I asked him clarifying questions and gave him the opportunity to explain how poorly he thought my client performed on the tests. The problem for the prosecution was that I then played the officer’s video of my client’s field sobriety tests and the judge was able to see that my client did not make the errors that the officer described. With the breath certificate excluded and the video demonstrating that my client did well on the field tests, the judge disregarded the officer’s testimony and found my client not guilty of driving under the influence (DUI).

Matney Law

Advocate

Mark Matney - DUI - Reckless Driving - Matney Law PLLC - Newport News VirginiaAdvocate committed to challenging drunk driving charges

I understand that good people can make mistakes. I strive to protect you by zealously representing your interests at every turn. I am knowledgeable about complex Virginia DUI laws and will analyze every aspect of your case — from the initial traffic stop to Breathalyzer or blood tests — to build your defense. I know what the prosecution needs to prove to obtain a conviction and I will challenge the evidence against you with the skill I have developed through more than 20 years of practicing law. I will work diligently to help you avoid or minimize the charges against you.

After your arrest:

1. Make sure you have copies of all of the papers you signed / received. You should have the following documents:

a. Summons or warrant for each charge
b. Recognizance form demonstrating terms of your release from custody.
c. Certificate of Blood Alcohol Analysis if you took a breath test.

2. Preserve your memory of the day of your arrest by immediately writing a summary of all you can remember about the events leading up to the time of your arrest and the circumstances of the arrest itself. Be sure to include the following information:

a. Location(s) where you were drinking along with times and the number and type of drinks.
b. Witness names and contact information.
c. Statements you made to police and statements by the police.
d. List of field sobriety tests with descriptions of the instructions and results.
e. Any medical issues you were experiencing at the time of the arrest.

Contact me today for a consultation.

If you have been arrested for DUI, you need a qualified defense attorney who has the knowledge and experience to help you. Call Mark Matney at Matney Law, PLLC, today at 757-784-3507 or contact me online to schedule a phone conference or a meeting at my Newport News, Virginia office.

Charged with a DUI call Matney Law PLLC 757-784-3507

DUI FAQs

DUI FAQs

DUI Defense Attorney Mark Matney of Matney Law, PLLC, is one of the top DUI and traffic law attorneys in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. His experience defending clients charge with DUI and his training with the National College for DUI Defense enable Mr. Matney to identify the legal, factual, technical, and medical defenses in your DUI case. He spends the time necessary to review every document and watch every video related to your case. He will share his findings with you and discuss the best strategy for your specific situation.

Call 757-784-3507 or Click Here to email Matney Law for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation!

1.  How do you prepare for a DUI case?

At the beginning of a case, I must assume that my client and I are preparing for a trial. My staff and I prepare for court by obtaining and reviewing all of the available information. We analyze police reports, accident reports, questionnaires that help our clients share all that they remember about their particular situations, breath and blood test results from the Department of Forensic Science, and videos if available. I examine all of this information to look for every possible legal, factual, medical, or scientific defense. I then discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the case and the possible defenses with my clients. Being prepared for trial places us in the best position to point out any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case or to take advantage of any problems the prosecution may face on the day of court. Sometimes discussing these issues with the prosecutor generates favorable offers that avoid the uncertainties of trial.

2.  What are the Penalties for a DUI conviction in Virginia? 

Virginia Code Section 18.2-270 provides mandatory minimum sentencing requirements for people who are convicted of DUI and imposes enhanced penalties for cases that involve a high BAC and/or a subsequent offense. A judge must sentence someone who is convicted of a first offense DUI whose BAC is below 0.15 as follows: fine between $250 and $2,500, one year license suspension, completion of the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP), and installation of an ignition interlock system for 6–12 months. Although there is no mandatory jail sentence for a first offense DUI with a BAC under 0.15, judges typically order a suspended jail sentence that could be imposed if the person fails to complete VASAP or does not remain of good behavior. In most cases, a first offender does not go to jail other than at the time of the arrest, receives a restricted license to drive for work, school, and certain other defined purposes on the day of court, and receives a fine close to the $250 minimum.

With respect to the alcohol level, even for a first offense, jail will be imposed for a BAC of 0.15 or above. In Virginia, a BAC of 0.15 to 0.20 will result in a five-day mandatory minimum jail sentence and if the BAC is above 0.20 the jail sentence will increase to a mandatory minimum of 10 days.

The penalties for a DUI conviction increase dramatically for a second offense. The judge must order the defendant’s license to be suspended for three years and the minimum fine increases to $500. If the second offense occurs within five years of the first offense, there is a mandatory minimum 20-day jail sentence and the defendant will not be eligible to apply for a restricted license until one year after the date of the conviction. If the second offense occurs within five to ten years of the first offense, then the mandatory minimum jail sentence is ten days and a restricted license may be obtained after four months. In both cases the judge may impose the ignition interlock machine for as long as the person has a restricted license.

The BAC is a significant factor in a second offense. The mandatory minimum jail sentence for a high BAC doubles when attached to a second offense. Thus, a person who is convicted of a second offense DUI with an elevated BAC will receive 10 mandatory days of jail with a BAC of 0.15 to 0.20 or a minimum of 20 days of jail if the BAC is over 0.20. Significantly, the mandatory jail for a high BAC is in addition to the mandatory jail for the second offense itself. This means that if a person is convicted of a second offense DUI within five years of a first offense and has a BAC over 0.20, then he would receive a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 20 days for the second offense, plus at least 20 days of jail for the high BAC, for a total of at least 40 days in jail.

A third offense DUI conviction is a Class 6 felony. This means the loss of certain rights (such as voting, serving as a notary, and possessing a firearm) in addition to the penalties imposed by the court. Being found guilty of a third DUI results in an indefinite license suspension and no opportunity to apply for a restricted license until three years after the conviction. The minimum fine for a third DUI is $1,000. The sentencing range for a third DUI conviction is one to five years with a mandatory minimum time in jail of six months for a third offense within five years and at least three months in jail if the third offense is within five to ten years of the priors.

In addition to the mandatory sentencing requirements of the Virginia Code, judges evaluate several other factors to determine whether a DUI sentence should include enhanced penalties. These factors include: blood alcohol level, refusal to submit to blood alcohol testing, whether or not the driver caused an accident, degree of cooperation with law enforcement, any additional charges against the defendant, and any prior criminal history. Moreover, many judges consider personal injuries to others as an aggravating factor that justifies imposing or increasing time in jail. In one of my first-offense DUI cases, the driver injured his passenger and received a six-month jail sentence (three months to serve after good time credit) and in another first-offense DUI case the driver injured a couple who was driving another vehicle and received a twelve-month jail sentence, which he appealed to the next level court. Most first-offense DUI cases do not involve any active jail time, but the extent of the injuries in these two cases provoked the judges to deal more harshly with the defendants.

It is important to note that judges consider lack of cooperation with the police when they make their sentencing determinations. Two reckless driving cases that I handled demonstrate how judges react adversely to conflict between the client and the police. The two clients were in similar situations with comparable speeds and the same judge. The first driver saw his charge amended from the misdemeanor of reckless driving to a traffic infraction. However, the second driver was found guilty of reckless driving. The driver who was convicted of reckless driving had ranted and cursed at the police officer. The judge was simply unwilling to give that driver a break after he had been so discourteous and uncooperative with the officer.

One situation that sometimes affects sentencing is a client’s past criminal history. If a client had a DUI conviction more than ten years before the new charge, then the prior offense cannot be used to elevate the new charge to a second offense. However, the prosecutor or the judge may argue that the person should not be treated the same as someone who is truly a first offender. This argument is sometimes successful in obtaining a more severe sentence than would be typical for someone without the prior record.

3.  Should I go to trial or accept a plea bargain?

For most people, their first concern is to find a lawyer who will fight for them and not just plea bargain their case away. Some prospective clients tell me that they are concerned about lawyers who promise to “get them a deal” and others confide that they have experienced negative situations where they felt their prior lawyer pushed them into a plea agreement instead of helping with their cases. In other words, the idea of plea bargaining has a very bad connotation for many people. They believe that if their attorney enters into a plea bargain, he is not adequately representing his client. As a lawyer, I feel that my job is to obtain the best possible result for my client and that I need to explore all of the options, including both going to trial and negotiating with the prosecution.

When I accept a case, I become responsible for the zealous representation of my client. My staff and I research the facts and the legal issues and I inform my clients of our findings. My counsel includes discussing the risks of accepting an offer from the prosecution versus the risks of going to trial. I advise my clients that there is a risk involved regardless of whether they choose to negotiate a result with the prosecutor (a plea bargain) or to present the case to the judge. Going to trial means giving up the best offer from the prosecutor and risking a worse result from the judge. On the other hand, accepting the prosecutor’s best offer means losing the possibility of a better result at trial.

Sometimes the focus of a case must be on avoiding a worse result as compared to “winning” or achieving a lesser charge. For example, one of my clients was charged with DUI because he fell asleep in the drive-thru lane at a fast food restaurant. When the police officer approached him, he saw that my client had vomited on himself and that he had receipts in his car for a large quantity of alcohol. There were numerous complicating factors in this case, including being assigned to a judge who was known for dealing harshly with DUI cases. I spoke with the officer to explore option of going to trial and then discussed the situation with my client. The officer agreed that if we pled guilty to the DUI, he would not inform the judge of the aggravating factors: vomiting on himself, waking up with difficulty, performing poorly on field tests, and possessing receipts in his vehicle for large quantities of alcohol. When I explained the situation to my client he approved accepting the agreement instead of risking a trial. The end result that morning was a DUI without any of the enhanced penalties that would have been likely if the police officer had described the details of what he observed during the arrest. Although it is not as exciting as a trial, an agreement that avoids the risk of a more severe outcome may be the best result that can be accomplished in a particular case.

Another example of the challenge of deciding whether to negotiate a resolution or to go to trial can be seen in a case that involved an unusual medical defense. My client was charged with a first offense DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15, which is almost twice the legal limit of 0.08. The 0.15 BAC triggers a five-day mandatory minimum jail sentence when someone is found guilty. As we prepared for trial, we received an offer from the prosecutor to amend the BAC so that my client would avoid any jail time. Although the offer of avoiding a jail sentence without the risk of a trial was tempting, my client chose to proceed to trial instead of accepting the prosecutor’s offer. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge expressed his agreement with our medical expert and ruled that my client was not guilty of DUI. In hindsight, it is clear that the client made the best decision for his case. However, when the decision to reject the offer was made, there was no guarantee that we would prevail at trial. In fact, another client with a similar medical defense lost her case with a different judge, despite a lower BAC.

It is not always easy to decide whether the plea bargain or the trial is the best option. The plea agreement can sometimes sound very inviting. The prosecutor may offer to dismiss additional charges or to agree to a favorable sentence. As attorneys, we use all of the information available to us to provide the best counsel to our clients. Ultimately, however, clients must decide whether to risk the unknown result of a trial or accept the certainty of an agreement with the prosecution.

4. Can a prior DUI in another state be used against me?

The Virginia Code provides that in order for a person to be found guilty of a subsequent offense based on an out-of-state prior conviction, the law of the other state must be substantially similar to Virginia’s law for the particular charge. It can be challenging for the prosecution to prove the validity of the out-of-state order and that the law in effect at the time of the out-of-state conviction is substantially similar to Virginia’s law. It is sometimes possible, therefore, to exclude those prior convictions and reduce the severity of the new DUI charge, such as amending a charge of second offense DUI to first offense DUI.

5. What if my DUI case involves an accident?

DUI cases that involve accidents require the prosecution to prove certain additional elements in order to introduce the defendant’s BAC (blood alcohol content). These factors include showing that the defendant did not have access to alcohol after the accident and that he was arrested within three hours of the accident. The prosecution also has an additional burden when the defendant’s BAC is determined by a blood test instead of a breath test. In order to introduce a blood test result in court, the prosecution must produce the person who drew the blood and the person who analyzed the blood sample.

6. How Should I Plead at Court?

When my client and I appear in court, the judge will ask us how we plead. We have three options. My client can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Each plea communicates something different to the judge and to the prosecutor.

By pleading guilty, my client declares that he is responsible for the offense he is charged with. Sometimes a guilty plea to one charge is part of an agreement for the dismissal or amendment of other charges. At other times, a guilty plea may be the result of negotiations for a concession on sentencing. There are also situations where the strength of the prosecution’s case is so great that entering a guilty plea before the judge may help to avoid a more severe sentence.

A no contest plea indicates that we believe that the prosecution’s evidence is sufficient for a judge to find my client guilty. We may take issue with certain parts of the prosecution’s case but conclude that we are unlikely to prevail at trial. The no contest plea allows my client to avoid pleading guilty while also having an opportunity to explain the circumstances or other mitigating factors to the judge.

A plea of not guilty requires the prosecution to prove the case against my client. Pleading not guilty does not necessarily mean that we are pleading innocent. We may not dispute the fact that my client committed the act he is charged with, but a not guilty plea places the burden of proof on the prosecution. The prosecutor must prove each element of the offense that the defendant is charged with. In a DUI case, the prosecutor must prove that the police had a reasonable suspicion that justified stopping the defendant, that they had probable cause for arresting the defendant, and that the evidence as a whole demonstrates guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

My responsibility as a defense lawyer is to obtain the best possible outcome for people who have been charged with criminal and traffic offenses. Since my work lies on the defense side, my goal is to present my clients and their cases in a manner that will result in the court erring on the side of mercy. The famous William Blackstone stated in his Commentaries on the Laws of England that, “… it is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer,”[1]while Benjamin Franklin went as far as commenting in a letter he wrote in 1785 that “… it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer.”[2]

Based on that time-honored reasoning, I believe that everyone deserves a fighting chance to plead his case and have his day in court. Although there are times when I believe that a trial will not be in my client’s best interest, the client is the final decision maker about whether to present the case to the judge at a trial or as an agreement with the prosecution. I counsel my clients about the relative strengths and weaknesses of both sides of the case and the possible outcomes at trial and then permit them to decide how to proceed.

Sometimes clients choose to pursue a trial even when it is the riskier option for their case. For some, the idea of accepting an offer from a prosecutor would be worse than losing at trial. One morning, I handled DUI cases for two men who were both facing several other charges in addition to their DUIs, such as open container, refusal, and reckless driving. In each case, I was able to negotiate with the prosecutor that, in exchange for a guilty plea to the DUI, the prosecutor would dismiss all of the other charges. This was a generous offer based on the facts of these two cases. The first client liked the idea of ending up with only one conviction and avoiding the consequences of the other charges. He also appreciated the fact that the agreement would assure him of the minimum sentence for the DUI. The second client decided that he wanted to go to trial because he wished to tell the judge his side of what happened. He was convicted of every single charge. We appealed and eventually negotiated a better result, but he had to incur the additional time and costs involved in the appeal process. However, he was glad with the outcome because he placed greater value on “having a fighting chance” and “going down swinging.” For him, the trial was preferable because he received his day in court.

DUI Attorney Mark Matney - Matney Law PLLC - Newport News - Williamsburg

Community Involvement

Community Involvement

The Lawyers at Matney Law PLLC defend people against driving related charges, including DUI, DWI, reckless driving, speeding, driving with a suspended license, driving without a license, running a red light or stop sign, hit-and-run accidents, and passing a stopped school bus.  Our attorneys serve the Virginia Peninsula and the surrounding areas, including Newport News, Hampton, York County, Williamsburg, James City County, Gloucester, New Kent, Surry, Isle of Wight, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk.

Community Involvement

Mark Matney of Matney Law PLLC community involvement includes Americans for Prosperity, Hosted three community outreach events to teach people financial skills for becoming more self-reliant, Lobby Day activities, Grass Roots Academy

Denbigh Warwick Business Association

Virginia Peninsula Food Bank, Legal Frenzy participant, Participated with other lawyers to raise support for the Food Bank in 2015 & 2016

Legal Clinics for Community of Faith Mission, 2014 & 2015

Peninsula YMCA, fundraiser 2016

Mr. Matney attends Relevant Church in Williamsburg.

Volunteering

Alliance Defending Freedom, 2008 National Litigation Academy, Allied Attorney.  Mr. Matney has donated more than 700 hours of legal services through Alliance Defending Freedom. Upon reaching 450 hours he became part of their Honor Guard. His volunteer work has included providing legal clinics, serving on the boards of nonprofit organizations, and advising churches and ministry leaders.

Cameroon Mission Trip – Joint project of Hope Outreach International Ministry and Evangel Theological Seminary, August 2013, 2 weeks instructing School of Practical Ministry for pastors and other ministry leaders

Classical Conversations, 9th grade Tutor/Instructor for homeschool community, Fall, 2012

Operation Mobilization – One year mission trip to Montreal, Quebec, Fall 1992 to Fall 1993, Outreach to young people living on the city’s streets

Law School at William & Mary: Christian Legal Society, Honor Council, Peninsula Legal Aid

Boards

Mark Matney, of Matney Law, PLLC, has served on the following boards:

New Town United Methodist Church, Leadership Board, January, 2014 to December, 2016. Served on the following subcommittees: Finance, Staff-Parish relations, Nominations, Communications.

Care Net Pregnancy Resource Centers, Previous board member, 2 years.

Evangel Theological Seminary, Previous board member, 3 years.

Newport News Bar Association, Board of Directors, Community Service Committee, July 2017 to Present

Newport News Bar Association, Board of Directors, Community Service Committee, July 2017 to Present

Republican Nominee

Mark Matney was the 2015 Republican nominee for Virginia’s 1st District State Senate race.

Matney Law

DUI DWI Attorney

DUI Attorney

DUI law can be complex and frustrating. With any other offense, you are innocent until proven guilty. But when you are facing a DUI, DWI, or a drunk driving charge, the results of a blood or breath test render you presumed to be under the influence and in violation of the law. This means that if you are facing DUI charges, you need to be represented by an experienced lawyer who knows DUI defense, please consider attorneys at Matney Law PLLC.  Our focus coverage area is with a focus on the cities of Newport News, Hampton,  Williamsburg, and the counties of York, James City, New Kent, Isle of Wight, and Surry. 

Call 757-784-3507 or Click Here to email Matney Law for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation!

Need A DUI Attorney?

If you need a DUI attorney, you can count on Lawyer Mark Matney. Mr. Matney will take the time to explain the DUI law and answer all your questions. He and his staff will support you as you prepare for your day in court. Mr. Matney will be your advocate on your trial date to help ensure that you obtain the best possible outcome.

We Prepare You!

Mark Matney will thoroughly prepare for your case by accessing records from the police officer and prosecutor, reviewing any videos, analyzing reports from the Department of Forensic Science, and obtaining your side of what happened through a detailed client questionnaire.

Greensville Court HouseDUI Conviction

A conviction of driving under the influence results in many serious penalties. You may face consequences such as:

• Fine and court costs
• Jail sentence
• Suspended license
• Ignition interlock machine
• Assignment to Alcohol Safety Action Program
• Insurance cancellation or rate increase
• Assignment of DMV demerit points

Handle Your Own DUI - Call Mark Matney at Matney Law PLLC - Newport News Virginia

Try and Handle On Your Own

If you try to handle a DUI charge on your own, you may miss legal, factual, medical, or technical defenses that may be available to you in your case. Let an experienced DUI defense lawyer assist you so that you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you explored every possible avenue to defend against your charge.

Mark Matney - DUI - Reckless Driving - Matney Law PLLC - Newport News VirginiaFree Initial Consultation

At Matney Law, PLLC, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your pending DUI case and assess your options. We have flexible appointment availability to accommodate your busy schedule. We also work with you on your fee through payment plans and early payment discounts.