The first thing that an individual should know about DUIs in Alexandria is that they are taken seriously. They carry significant consequences and are not the kind of thing that an individual should navigate without the assistance of someone well acquainted with the details and nuances of the law. An individual should also be fully aware that they have a number of rights in these situations. The most important of these is the right to not to cooperate with the police during traffic stops, including refusing to answer any questions they pose as well as to complete the field sobriety tests.
The counsel for the state carries the burden of proof in a DUI case. In order to convince the judge that the plaintiff was in fact impaired at the time of the stop, the prosecution will typically call the police officer who executed the traffic stop as a witness in court. They will also seek to admit the results of the blood alcohol test that was performed in the case. These are two of the most common types of evidence in this type of case.
There are number of constitutional issues that come up in DUI cases. For instance, there is the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures—regardless of whether an individual was stopped for a legal reason or whether they were arrested based on probable cause.
There is also the right to not incriminate oneself, which relates directly to the question of whether there were any statements made before the defendant was read their Miranda Rights and which may, therefore, be inadmissible in court. Another key constitutional element to examine is whether an individual may have been coerced into providing evidence or cooperating with tests. In addition to the aforementioned, there is also the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, which exists to guarantee that a person has the right to the assistance of an attorney in every phase during the case. If any of these rights are violated, it can lead to the exclusion of evidence which may make it difficult or impossible for the government to prove their case.
If an individual is convicted of a misdemeanor DUI, then the person has a right to appeal to the circuit court and get a brand new trial. If an individual is convicted of a felony DUI, he or she does have the ability to appeal to the Virginia Court of Appeals. However, rather than automatically receive the opportunity for a new trial, the accused will need to make the case to court that there was something unfair or illegal in the proceedings of the original trial. Proving so would nullify the first conviction and lead to a new trial being granted.
While the process of building a defense can be overwhelming, it is important to keep in mind that just because an individual is charged, it does not necessarily mean he or she is going to be convicted. If you find yourself in this situation, the help of an experienced attorney often makes a significant difference in the final outcome. A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to guide and advise you every step of the way, working toward the reduction of the charges as well as, wherever possible, their dismissal.
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