Are you facing jail time or a loss of security clearance because of a DUI? Get the answers you need to protect your rights

Attorney Kyle G. Manikas has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions in response to the overwhelming number of people who face DUI and reckless driving charges and need help in Fairfax County. If you are one of these people, read on to learn how to protect your legal rights.
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  • After arresting me, did the police officer need to read my Miranda rights?

    When you're a suspect in a crime or have been arrested, you have important constitutional rights to protect you from illegal searches and seizures of property, illegal arrests, and much more. One important right you have is to be given your Miranda warnings in certain situations. Although this is a basic right you have by law, some police officers don't always follow it.

    When Is a Miranda Warning Required?

    Officers are required to give Miranda warnings when two specific conditions are met: 

    1. You are in "custody"
    2. There's an interrogation, or some form of questioning that one could reasonably expect to lead to an incriminating response 

    Both conditions must be present before Miranda warnings are required. Therefore, you can be questioned by the police before being taken into custody, and anything you say at that point can be used against you later in court.
    What's considered custody is much broader than formal arrest and is defined by hundreds of legal opinions from state and federal courts.  Those legal opinions also set forth a number of exceptions to the Miranda requirement.

    What Are Your Miranda Rights?

    If Miranda is required, you must be informed of certain constitutional rights before the interrogation begins. Those rights include being informed of the following:

    • That you have a right to remain silent
    • That anything you say can and will be used against you
    • That you have a right to speak to an attorney and to have an attorney present when you are questioned

    If Miranda warnings are required, but not read, your statement may be inadmissible if your attorney files and successfully argues the appropriate motion.  However, a Miranda violation normally doesn't invalidate the arrest. Rather, it deprives the prosecutors of the use of your statement in proving their case.

    Even if the police read you your Miranda rights, they can still violate your rights by not allowing you to enforce these important protections. For example, if the police continue to talk to you or ask you questions after you invoke your right to be quiet or to request an attorney, this could be a violation that may result in your statements being suppressed.

    Are you a suspect in a criminal investigation or been charged with a crime? Call our office today to schedule a free consultation to learn what you can expect in your criminal proceeding and how our experienced legal team can help you reach the best possible outcome.

  • Can I get an expungement of my criminal record once I complete my sentence?

    A criminal record can have long-term consequences on your life, including your ability to obtain a professional license, employment, and housing. So if possible, you'd like your criminal record expunged once you complete the terms of your sentence, especially if your crime was relatively minor. However, expungement isn't a right, and you can only obtain this outcome in limited circumstances in Virginia.

    What Is an Expungement?

    An expungement is the legal process of removing all records of your arrest and criminal charge from public access. When an expungement is granted, all public access requests to your records held by the Virginia State Courts, the Virginia Criminal Information Network, and the National Crime Information Network would be denied. In some instances, this is referred to as "sealing" the records.

    An expungement may also give you the right to treat the offense as if it didn't occur. However, doesn't necessarily mean your criminal record would be destroyed.

    When Can You Get an Expungement in Virginia?

    While some juvenile records might qualify for automatic eligibility of expungement in our state, and other conditions may allow people past a certain age of their offenses as a minor to petition the court for expungement.

    However, adult criminal records expungement is extremely limited in Virginia. Convictions can never be expunged. You may be eligible for expungement in these situations:

    • You pled not guilty and were acquitted of the charges by a judge or jury.
    • You were charged with contempt of court in a civil case but were acquitted.
    • You are the defendant in a criminal case where the prosecutor decides not to prosecute and abandons all charges—usually through a motion nolle prosecui.
    • Your name or identity was stolen and used in another crime.
    • You were convicted of a crime but received an absolute pardon.
    • You were charged with assault or battery or another misdemeanor where there is no civil remedy. In addition, the victim stated in writing that the issue has been satisfactorily resolved, and the case must have been dismissed.

    Based upon some recent case law, there is one other limited scenario where adult expungement is possible: before the conviction.  In other words, given that Virginia doesn't allow the expungement of any convictions for any reason at any time, the time to challenge the charge is now.  While it may not be possible for everyone to get their charges dismissed, the only opportunity you have is to fight the charge or have it reduced is now. 

    If you need to seek an expungement or have been charged with a crime, call our office today to schedule a free consultation to learn how our experienced criminal defense team can help you build your defense.

  • What Will Happen to My License if I am Convicted of DWI/DUI/Drunk Driving in Virginia?

    The answer to this question depends largely on the facts and circumstances of your individual case, including your blood alcohol level ("BAC"), whether it is a first or subsequent offense, and whether there are any aggravating circumstances present.  
    If the case is a standard DWI/DUI, with a BAC below .15, generally your license will be suspended for 12 months; however, the Fairfax County or Northern Virginia judge will most likely grant restricted driving privileges that cover driving to and from school, work, medical appointments, etc. Unfortunately, judges do not have complete discretion to grant any driving privileges you ask for.  The categories of driving that can be authorized under a restricted license are set by the Virginia Code and judges have no authority to go outside the bounds the legislature has established.  For higher BACs on a first offense, the judge may require that you start ASAP and receive a favorable evaluation before authoring the restricted license.  If you have a high BAC, you should speak to our office because there may be things you can do in advance of court to help assure your restricted license is granted immediately if you are convicted.  
    Second offenses require a 36 month license loss.  However, you are not eligible to receive a restricted license right away.  If it is a second offense within five years of the first offense, you must wait at least one year after your conviction date before you can apply for a restricted license.  If you are convicted of a second offense within 10 years of the first, you must wait four months after your conviction date to apply for a restricted license,.  
    Of course, these are all starting point for analysis.  If your case involved aggravating factors, such as an accident, the judge may decide that he will not grant a restricted license at all.  Restricted license applications are in the sole discretion of the judge.  Moreover, in Virginia if you are granted a restricted license, installation of an interlock device is a mandatory precondition to driving on the restricted license.  
    An experienced DWI lawyer can evaluate the specific facts of your case and better advise you concerning your situation.  Contact our office for a consultation.  

  • What Will Happen If I Get Caught Driving In Violation of The License Suspension I Received in My DWI Case In Virginia?

    If you are convicted of DUI or DWI in Fairfax Virginia, your license will be suspended for one year if the DUI or DWI is a first offense or three years if it is a second offense.  If you are not granted a restricted license or you drive outside the terms of your restricted license, two things will occur if you are caught driving:  (1) You will be charged with a violation of Virginia Code Section 18.2-272 and (2) ASAP will file a probation violation with the judge that heard your original DUI/DWI case.  What does this mean?
    With respect to the new charge under 18.2-272, you are facing up to one year in jail, a $2,500 fine, and an additional 12 month loss of license with no possibility of obtaining a restricted license (the law specifically provides that that are no restricted privileges for the 1 year loss of license on an 18.2-272 violation).  Driving in violation of a license that was revoked or restricted in a DWI or DUI case is an offense that is taken very seriously by Fairfax & Northern Virginia judges and prosecutors. In fact, you are facing more significant consequences then you were when you were initially facing only a DWI charge.  While the offense of driving on a revoked driver’s license is most commonly charged under Va. Code 18.2-272, it can also be charged as Va. Code 46.2-301 or 46.2-300. If certain other factors are present, the offense can be charged as a felony under 46.2-391. This offense is punishable, among other things, by up to 5 years in prison with a 1 year mandatory minimum jail sentence.
    With respect to the probation violation, you are facing the complete revocation of your restricted driving privileges for the remainder of the term of the original DUI/DWI suspension and imposition of all the jail time and fine that was suspended under the terms of your original DUI/DWI conviction.  Why? The reason is that when the judge convicted you of DUI/DWI, he suspended jail time and a fine conditioned on your good behavior and no further violations of law.  If you are convicted of the new charge, you will have violated that order and the judge will punish you by revoking (imposing) the suspended portion of your jail time, fine and license suspension.  Moreover, you will have violated a direct order of the original sentencing judge and, as you can imagine, that is not a good thing when you appear before that same judge to answer why. The consequences are significant and and can be much harsher than your original DUI/DWI.  
    Given the consequences of a conviction under 18.2-272, it is critical that any defenses or possible reductions be explored before a conviction occurs.  Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

  • What Happened In a Recent Case Where the Accused Driver Did Not Hire You?

    Mr. Manikas recently observed a case where the driver hired another lawyer whose fee is cheaper.  Now, while CASE RESULTS DO DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE and PAST CASE RESULTS DO NOT NECESSARILY GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN A FUTURE CASE, the driver was charged with a speed which Mr. Manikas has had a 100% successes rate of getting reduced from reckless driving to simple speeding or some other non-criminal/non-reckless charge.  This accused driver, however, ended up not only being convicted of criminal reckless driving, but was fined $2,000 plus court costs.

    Although lawyers may all seem to say the same things on the phone, lawyers are not an interchangeable commodity and do not all have the ability to handle your case the same way in court. Each attorney brings a different background, level of experience, and record of past success to the table. Mr. Manikas charges a reasonable flat fee that allows him to do the proper amount of work and devote the necessary amount of time to your case to get the best result.  If a fee sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Saving a few hundred dollars may not be a good bargain if the outcome is terrible.

  • What is Reckless Driving Speeding in Fairfax, Virginia?

    Many people are shocked to learn that Virginia has criminalized simple speeding.  What does that mean? In Virginia, if you are traveling at a speed 20 MPH over the limit or above 80, you can be charged with a criminal offense.  Not just any criminal offense, but a Class 1 misdemeanor.  In Virginia, that is the most serious of the 4 levels of misdemeanor offenses.  The next offense level up would be a felony. 

    Reckless driving is punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a $2,500 fine, and a 6 month license suspension.  Some people treat this as a glorified speeding ticket and that is a HUGE mistake. 
    If you are convicted, you will have a permanent criminal record with the FBI for the rest of your life.  This is different from a DMV record.  A reckless driving will drop off of you DMV record in Virginia after 11 years BUT it will never come off of your NCIC criminal record.  You will be a convicted criminal.  
    Learn more about what it means to be charged with Reckless Driving in Fairfax County, Virginia.
    Call to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Fairfax Reckless Driving attorney Kyle G. Manikas.  Mr. Manikas will analyze your Fairfax case from the perspective of a former Fairfax County prosecutor who has an inside understanding of the Fairfax system you will face.    

  • What Kind of Issues Can be Raised to Defend My Reckless Driving Case?

    The primary defense issues in Reckless Driving cases deal with the admissibility of the officer's calibrations. 
    Whether the officer determined your speed by radar, laser, or a PACE, the officer is going to have a calibration for the unit.  Whether that calibration is admissible is subject to many possible objections.  Judges vary on which of these arguments they agree with. 
    There are statutory compliance issues - does the calibration meet the recruitments in the code as to information on when it was done, who it was done by, and is it timely? Is it a true copy - this is a legal term of art in Virginia.  Does it meet VA notary requirements?
    This list goes on and on.  There is no comprehensive list of every defense or issue that can or should be raised in defending a reckless driving case.  Every case is different and has different facts.  Therefore each case is subject to different defenses.  What is important is that your Fairfax Reckless Driving Defense attorney have the knowledge and willingness to spend the time on your case.  To read more about defenses in Reckless Driving cases, read Critical Issues That Can Be Used to Defend Reckless Driving Cases .
    Call or email to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Fairfax Reckless Driving defense lawyer Kyle G. Manikas.  Mr. Manikas will analyze your Fairfax case from the perspective of a former Fairfax County prosecutor who has an inside understanding of the Fairfax system you will face.    

  • How Much Does it Cost to Fight My Case?

    What a lawyer charges is, in part, a product of four things: (1) his level of skill and experience, (2) his reputation in the legal community, (3) the time and effort he plans on putting into your case, and (4) the satisfaction of past clients.
    This is not to say that just because an attorney is the most expensive he is the best.  There are some attorneys that may try to price gouge.  This is dishonorable and shows from the outset the attorney intends on putting his interest above yours.  However, there are also those at the opposite end of the spectrum.  These attorneys blindly quote unusually low flat fees in mail marketing letters even though they know nothing about your case or what is required to resolve it successfully.  (READ more about this practice in an article explaining why you should NEVER hire one of these attorneys.)
    Generally, discount attorneys cost you significantly more in the long run.  If you are faced with a criminal charge, like Reckless Driving or DUI/DWI, there is a lot at stake.  You should hire the best attorney you can afford, while at the same time watching out for those that have unnecessarily high rates.  Kyle G. Manikas tries very hard to quote a reasonable rate.  His objective is to charge what is necessary to allow him to spend enough time on your case to get the best possible result.  Regardless of whether you retain the services of Mr. Manikas, you should never make a decision on what attorney to hire based on price alone.   Shop for an attorney, not the cheapest price, 
    Cheap attorneys are cheap for a reason (remember the four components noted above that make up the price?).  Moreover, cheap lawyers need to serve a very high volume of clients to make money. Serving a high number of clients means that the attorney will be extremely busy and have little or no time to spend on your case.  This is why they can blindly quote you a fixed fee - they are going to spend the same minimal amount of time on every case regardless of what is required and regardless of the result.  If the rate sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

    READ: TOP 5 Absolutely Critical Rules You Must Follow to See that Your Case is Handled Properly
    Contact Manikas Law LLC today for a free consultation on your Fairfax case.  Kyle G. Manikas provides a free consultation for anyone charged with DUI or Reckless Driving in Fairfax County.     

  • What should I do if I receive an unsolicited letter from an attorney in the mail offering to handle my case for a certain fee BEFORE they have ever spoken to me?

    You should be very suspicious.  After all, this person knows nothing about the facts or your case or your background.  How can they possibly quote you a fee when they have no idea what work is required to resolve your case? 
    This is why the Virginia rules of ethics strongly discourage the blind quoting of fees by attorneys before they have had a chance to speak to them about the case.
    If you call one of these lawyers and they increase their rate above what is stated in their letter, you should immediately report them to the Virginia Bar because this is unethical.
    If the attorney sticks to the blindly quoted fee, you should question what you are actually going to get from that attorney.   Every case is different.   Yet a fee that never changes says that the attorney is going to handle your case like every other case he has.   
    What a lawyer charges is, in part, a product of four things: (1) his level of skill and experience, (2) his reputation in the legal community, (3) the time and effort he plans on putting into your case, and (4) the satisfaction of past clients.  MOST IMPORTANTLY a fee is a reflection of the effort a lawyer is going to put into your case. 
    There are certainly those lawyers that abuse their ability to set fees by charging an overly inflated rate.  A lawyer should charge a rate that is fair and reasonable and allows for the appropriate amount of work to be done on the case - according to what is required on that specific case. 
    I speak to prospective clients about this issue every month.  I recently talked to a woman and while this all made sense to her, she decided to hire an attorney that blindly quoted a fee to her in a letter that was one of the lowest prices. 
    A month later I received a call from this woman and she was very upset.  She said that the attorney she hired showed up to court at the last minute and never did any real work on the case in court.  To make matters worse, this lawyer asked the woman to plead guilty to reckless driving at a speed that was not very high.  When the woman refused, the lawyer raised his voice and told the woman that she would have to sign off on a release.  The woman did, continued her case, and fired this lawyer.  The problem the woman faced is that many other lawyers, including me, will not enter a case after another lawyer that has mishandled the case.
    Contact Manikas Law LLC today for a free consultation on your Fairfax case.  Kyle G. Manikas provides a free consultation for anyone charged with DUI or Reckless Driving in Fairfax County.     

  • What Happens After I am Charged with DUI/DWI in Fairfax County?

    After you are charged with DUI/DWI (drunk driving) in Fairfax County you will be given a court date.  In Fairfax, this is a TRIAL date.  It is not an arraignment or some other form of preliminary date, it is a trial date.  This is different from other Northern Virginia counties.   Therefore, it is important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible.  

    After a client contacts me, I speak with them in detail about every fact and aspect they can recall about the incident and provide my preliminary thoughts.
    Sometimes certain information is not available at the time of the initial call from a prospective client; therefore in those instances I am unable provide a full analysis at that time.  However, my golden rule is that I am always honest with people about the case.  If it is a case that can be fought on the merits with an aggressive defense, I say that.  If it is a case where we the objective should be to manage the consequences, I say that.  If it is too early to tell, I say that.  However, what I do not do is promise specific unrealistic results just to gain a client's case.  I am honest with people because I want them to be honest with me.
    Once the client makes the decision to retain my services, I ask the client to provide specific information and documentation.   Once I have that information, I obtain additional information from the court file and by issuing subpoenas.

    My goal is to have as much information about the case as possible and to use that information to uncover issues to use as leverage to negotiate on behalf of my client and to prepare for trial in the event one is necessary. 
    Call or email to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Fairfax DUI lawyer Kyle G. Manikas.  Mr. Manikas will analyze your Fairfax case from the perspective of a former Fairfax County prosecutor who has an inside understanding of the Fairfax system you will face.