Scott C. Nolan devotes most of his practice to defending individuals who have been charged with DUI in Manassas, Prince William, Manassas Park, Gainesville, Haymarket, Woodbridge, Lake Ridge, Dumfries, Bristow, Warrenton, Centreville, Fairfax, Stafford, Chantilly, Leesburg, Ashburn, Sterling, Herndon, Reston, Alexandria, Annandale, and Arlington.
Scott has been practicing law in Northern Virginia since 2000. As a member of the National College for DUI Defense and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, he is committed to success through knowledge and works continuously to hone his knowledge of science and the law. He is well known to both courts and clients for his thorough preparation, his experience and his judgment. He has represented thousands of clients in criminal cases and is trained in the highly specialized fields of DUI/DWI Breath and Blood testing as well as forensic toxicology and the administration of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.
There are the 12 questions you must ask of every lawyer you speak with about your DUI case. Here is the eighth question:
8. What Will You Do to Prepare for My Case?
At its most basic, this is what really separates the “Dump Truck Lawyers” from the great DUI lawyers in Manassas, Prince William, Manassas Park, Gainesville, Haymarket, Woodbridge, Lake Ridge, Dumfries, Bristow, Warrenton, Centreville, Fairfax, Stafford, Chantilly, Leesburg, Ashburn, Sterling, Herndon, Reston, Alexandria, Annandale, and Arlington.
The best DUI lawyers actively prepare for trial from the very beginning. “Dump Truck Lawyers” just plan to appear at court and do their best, often urging you to plead guilty in exchange for whatever offer (usually no offer at all) the prosecutor feels like doling out. While many DUI cases do end in a plea agreement, an experienced DUI lawyer should approach the case with the mindset that this case must go to trial and prepare for that trial every time.
Most Virginians are shocked to learn that unlike the citizens of nearly every other state, they have no right to see their own Police Report. Virginia’s system of criminal discovery (the process by which lawyers learn information about the evidence against their clients in most other states) is so laughably inadequate and pro-prosecution that it rarely produces any meaningful information in a DUI case.(1) If a DUI attorney is going to learn anything that might actually help his client, he has to do more investigation than is necessary in most states.
Virginians are also shocked to find that local police forces rarely use their video cameras to record a DUI investigation.(2) Still, some police forces do use video, and any great DUI attorney is going to learn whether they did and view the video before going to court.
The best DUI lawyers are going to request the court to issue a subpoena to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. That’s the agency that owns, monitors and certifies the breath testing devices used in Virginia DUI cases. This agency maintains a vast database for each machine around the state, data that can show whether the machine was working properly, when it was calibrated, what mechanical problems it had and even if (gasp!) it was flat-out lying.
A great DUI lawyer is going to visit the location where the field sobriety tests were performed. Some locations are flat and level, while others are steeply angled and covered with rubble. More than once I have visited the scene of the stop and photographed the rubble-strewn location where my client was forced to perform a set of agility exercises as automobiles whizzed by. The picture showed the judge that just a few feet away there was a flat, level and easily-accessible sidewalk where those “tests” would have been more fair.
A great DUI lawyer will prepare your case to go to trial, regardless of whether he or she thinks it might ultimately go to trial or not. Not every case will go to trial, but an experienced lawyer will approach every case as if it will. The prosecutor handling your case will have to prepare for dozens of potential trials on any given day, whereas your lawyer will need to prepare for only one. That’s why your lawyer needs to know more about the case than everyone else in the room, including the prosecutor, the police and even the judge!
Thorough preparation for a trial is obviously essential in the event the case goes to trial, but it is also critical if the case doesn’t go to trial. Complete trial preparation is the only way to be effective in plea negotiations. A prosecutor who knows the lawyer is always prepared to go to trial and unafraid to do so is more likely to give a better offer than he or she would to a lawyer known to avoid trials… the “Dump Truck Lawyer”.
DUI lawyer Scott Nolan prepares for trial right from the beginning in every case.
(1) Write your state representatives about this denial of basic fairness, folks! You deserve a real system of criminal discovery comparable to that of most other states and the Federal government! In Virginia, police and prosecutors in a General District Court don’t have to tell you anything about what evidence they have against you beyond A) your criminal record; and B) statements you made. That’s it. They don’t have to tell you a thing about the officer’s observations or any other useful aspect of the evidence if they don’t want to. This is why Virginia is known as the Trial-by-Ambush state.
(2) No kidding, folks. All those DUI videos you see on “Cops”? You’ll almost never see one from Northern Virginia. Police routinely just turn off their video cameras when the case is DUI or take the suspect out of range of the vehicle’s cameras. If you think Virginia ought to require all traffic stops and field sobriety “tests” to be recorded on video, write your state representatives!
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you could be facing serious consequences that will impact your life (and family’s) for years to come. You need an experienced DUI lawyer NOW. Please call me at 703-361-0776 for a free and confidential conversation about your case.
I serve clients in:
Northern Virginia, including Manassas, Prince William, Manassas Park, Gainesville, Haymarket, Woodbridge, Lake Ridge, Dumfries, Bristow, Warrenton, Centreville, Fairfax, Stafford, Chantilly, Leesburg, Ashburn, Sterling, Herndon, Reston, Alexandria, Annandale, and Arlington.