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Chantilly DUI Arraignment

The immediate period of time after you have been charged with a DUI can be both confusing and overwhelming. With many unknowns suddenly looming, it is important to make sure you have someone there to guide you every step of the way. The arraignment for a DUI in Chantilly is a crucial moment in time in the scope of your case process. Only a knowledgeable attorney, with years of experience handling DUI cases in Chantilly, should be approached to represent you during such a sensitive time. The right lawyer can assist in reducing any penalties associated with your charge, and help to eliminate any and all burdens associated with your DUI case.

The Arraignment Process

An arraignment for a Chantilly DUI is an individual’s first appearance in court. At the arraignment, the judge will explain the charges against an individual and ask if they want an attorney. The accused needs to appear at an arraignment because the court has instructed them to do so, and the judge has important information to convey, specifically, what the charges are and what the individual’s next court date will be. A court will also ask if the person needs an attorney.  A person doesn’t have to appear at an arraignment if they have an attorney, as the attorney waives the arraignment for them.

In the time between an individual’s arrest and their Chantilly DUI arraignment, a person should be looking for an experienced and trustworthy DUI attorney.

Companion Felony Charge

If there is a companion felony charge, the case will be held at the Fairfax County Courthouse in the General District Court. The first court date after the advisement will be a preliminary hearing, where the prosecutor has to present enough evidence to certify the case against an individual at the circuit court. The prosecution will present just enough evidence to find that there is probable cause to certify the case over to the circuit court.

DUI Discovery Process

The discovery process in relation to DUIs in Chantilly is the same as the discovery process for any misdemeanor case in Virginia. The defense attorney will request discovery, in writing, which they are entitled to under the law of Virginia prior to trial. Discoverable materials include statements that the prosecution intends to use against an individual, including but not limited to any statements or video recorded statements that the prosecution may have of that person.

That being said, Fairfax County prosecutors are not assigned to the specific case until the day of court. Therefore, there is no prosecutor who can contact an individual in advance to get information about their case. An individual will need to submit a general discovery request to the prosecutor’s office, to the clerk, and to the court to have an order entered by the judge entitling an individual to discovery. The prosecutor is then assigned to the discovery and will make a determination as to whether or not a video of the arrest exists. If a video does exist, it will be handed off to the individual.

For example, if a video account of the field sobriety tests exists, an attorney will aim to get it before the court date. However, an attorney is not entitled to it before trial. This could mean that the evidence does not surface until a minute or two before trial. As part of the discovery process, an individual is also entitled to any statements they may have made on the day of the arrest that the prosecution could use against them. The case will need to be continued in order to have a trial date.

The many steps of a DUI case can be complicated. Throughout the arraignment and trial for your Chantilly DUI, it is of the utmost importance to hire a strong attorney to help minimize any complications that may result from your charge.