DUI & Traffic Defense

If you need brain surgery, you don't ask the family physician. If you have been charged with a DUI, you need to consult with attorneys who have dedicated the majority of their practice to DUI and Criminal Defense. You need lawyers who stay up to date on DUI defense. You need a team to attack the standardized field sobriety testing and the findings of the breathalyzer. You need a legal team that has been published in state and national publications about drunk driving defense.

You need the DUI defense attorneys at Wolcott Rivers Gates: Stephen P. Pfeiffer, Mark A. Andrews and Katherine G. Coltrain.

Have you been charged with a crime in Virginia state or federal court? An experienced attorney can make all the difference.

A knowledgeable, battle-tested lawyer can mean the difference between a prison sentence and a dismissed charge. The success of our criminal defense team has helped us achieve the highest of merits including:

  • AV® Preeminent Rating. The highest rating available from Martindale-Hubbell, the leading independent attorney rating entity. An AV® Rating signifies the lawyer has reached the heights of professional excellence.

  • “Clients’ Choice” on Avvo.com. Our team is consistently recognized by clients and peers with the highest rating available in the areas of DUI defense, criminal defense and federal criminal defense.

  • 10 out of 10 rating on AVVO.com.

  • Our team has authored national publications in criminal defense.

We Know the Local Courts

Every county and courthouse has its own unique procedures. The criminal court process in the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, for example, differs significantly from the process in Virginia Beach Circuit Court.

We assign each of our Virginia state and federal criminal defense attorneys to a specific set of courthouses. By working day in and day out in the same places, we develop relationships with judges, prosecutors, probation officers and court staff. Moreover, we know "how things work" in particular courtrooms and with certain prosecuting agencies. We've learned whom to talk to, who has discretion and the most effective ways to get the job done.

The criminal law team at Wolcott Rivers Gates doesn’t pretend to be a firm that will represent you against criminal charges throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Instead we know that we are most effective as criminal defense attorneys right in our own backyard of Hampton Roads. We limit our federal and state criminal defense to Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Suffolk, Accomack, North Hampton and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

What Does Your Charge Mean?

If you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI, DWI), or with refusal to blow after an arrest for DUI (Refusal) in Virginia, you face harsh criminal and civil penalties. At Wolcott Rivers Gates, Stephen and Brian can protect your rights if you were arrested DUI or Refusal.

If you or your loved one has been charged with a DUI or refusal, you likely have questions. We can tell you what your arrest means and the consequences you might face.

Do You Live Out of State?

Our office is located in Virginia Beach, one of the top tourist destinations on the East Coast. We are well known for working with out-of-state drivers. Video consultations and remote meetings are available to save you the costs and hassles of coming back to Virginia more than necessary. Whether you were in Virginia on business or vacation, our firm can represent you. We will make it convenient and comfortable as you face difficult charges.



  • Up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $250 to $2,500. If the individual's BAC registers at between 0.15 to 0.20, a minimum of five days in jail becomes mandatory. If the individual’s BAC is .20 or higher, the penalty increases to a mandatory minimum of ten days in jail plus one-year license suspension, completion of Alcohol Safety Action Program and an ignition interlock device.


  • A second conviction within five years results in one month to one year in jail and a fine of $500 to $2,500 with an enhanced penalty of an additional mandatory minimum of 20-days in jail. A second condition within 10 years includes the same base penalty with an enhanced penalty of a mandatory minimum of ten days in jail. Those convicted of DUI twice within ten years and with a BAC that measures 0.15 to 0.19 percent face an additional penalty of 10 mandatory minimum days in jail. A BAC of .20 or higher can result in an additional penalty of 20 day mandatory, minimum sentence. In addition, you will have your license suspended for three years, need to complete an Alcohol Safety Action Program and need to use an ignition interlock device.


  • A third conviction within ten years results in a Class 6 felony, which carries a 90-day mandatory, minimum sentence. That means you may face one to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine. That is, unless the judge or jury trying the case choose a lesser penalty of 90 days to 12 months in jail and a fine of $1,000 to $2,500. Those convicted of DUI three times within five years face a mandatory, minimum term of six months in jail. You face one to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine unless the judge or jury opt for a lesser term of six to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 to $2,500 fine. Anyone with more than three prior DUI convictions runs the risk of a Class 6 felony with a one year mandatory minimum and $1,000 minimum fine. That means you may still face one to five years in prison, a fine of $1,000 and indefinite license suspension.


  • Can result in an additional five-day mandatory, minimum sentence and a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000.

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