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Dale City Third Offense DUI Lawyer

A third-offense DUI charge in Dale City is treated incredibly severely in the state of Virginia. Since it is a felony offense, there are certain penalties involved which can inflict long-term complications on behalf of the individual convicted. Due to the severity of such a charge, it is important that any individual involved enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to gather all the relevant evidence, and build a strong defense to either reduce or dismiss any penalties on behalf of their client.

Prosecution of the Charge

Certain DUI charges are prosecuted more seriously because they are felony offenses, or there is significant property damage or personal injury involved.   The implications of a felony conviction are much more serious than that of misdemeanor convictions.

A third-offense Dale City DUI charge will be heard first in the General District Court. However, if it is a felony offense, it will then be heard after the preliminary hearing when it goes to trial in the Circuit Court of Prince William County.

Potential Penalties

The penalties for a third-offense DUI in Dale City are going to be time in jail or in prison. There are also going to be heavy fines, probation and indefinite revocation of driving privileges. Further, diversion programs or probation on a third offense will never be offered in Prince William County for a DUI.

Enhanced Penalties

Minors in the vehicle will be considered an aggravating factor for a DUI in Dale City. The prosecutors will look thoroughly at that, but more importantly, they could add extra charges. In the hearing for a father of a child, for example, if there is a heightened sense that the child is endangered, certainly, other charges could be brought as well.

A person’s blood alcohol content will determine any penalty issues in Virginia. Under the law, if a person is between 0.15 and 0.20, there is a mandatory minimum of five days in addition to any other crimes that the judge is going to give. It is not under their discretion to reduce that. If a person is 0.20 or higher, a person has a 10-day mandatory minimum that the judge must give on top of whatever alternate sentence it is going to be.

Defense Strategies

A third-offense Dale City DUI charge, depending on the circumstances of the case, is dealt with similarly to a first or second-offense charge. Attorneys are going to look at all the cracks in the evidence that the prosecutor has, including:

  • The interaction with the stop
  • The arrest
  • Anything leading up to the arrest
  • Any observations the officer made
  • Whether or not a preliminary breath test was done
  • The results of the test
  • Whether or not there was a breathalyzer test taken at the police station that can be used as evidence in court
  • If the breathalyzer machine was properly calibrated
  • Any mental health issues that may be in play
  • Any potential witnesses.

Anything that a defense attorney can bring into question, they will attempt to attack. Defending a third-offense DUI charge in Dale City is much more serious than previous charges, because it is going to be heard in Circuit Court if it goes to trial. That means a person does have the option to a trial by jury the first time around and they do not have the opportunity to have a de novo appeal, which means that they will only have one shot at a felony DUI trial.

License Proceedings

A person’s driver’s license will be suspended indefinitely if they are convicted of a third-offense DUI. After a person is convicted, there is no way to challenge this suspension.

Usually, there is a minimum time period that the judge will impose before someone can apply for a restricted license.  It is likely to be denied if a person is within five years after they have been convicted for the third time.

If an individual is not convicted of a DUI, a person should get their driver’s license back. However, this depends on the administration of things and what law enforcement has on the person.

Contacting a Lawyer

A person should look for local experience when determining who should represent them in trial. It is important to know the prosecutors and the judges involved in such a case. A third-offense DUI charge is extremely serious, so usually a person is not going to want somebody who does not have any experience with DUIs or who primarily handles other types of criminal offenses. A person wants someone who has had experience in DUIs, and is able to look for the problems in the person’s case.

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