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Fauquier County First Time DUI Charges

In the following page, a DUI attorney in Fauquier County discusses the charges and penalties that are associated with a first time DUI offense. First offense DUIs can carry serious penalties.

In Fauquier County, prosecutors handle first time DUI charges very seriously. Pursuant to Virginia statute, there are no pre-trial diversion programs or “probation before judgment” alternatives when charged with DUI.

What Fauquier County Court Hears First Time DUI Cases?

If you are charged with a DUI offense in Fauquier County, your case will be typically heard in the Fauquier General District Court located in the Town of Warrenton at 6 Court Street, Warrenton, Virginia 20186.

In the Fauquier County General District Court, you do not have the right to a jury trial. In all of Virginia’s general district courts there are bench trials, meaning the judge hears the facts of the case, decides guilt or innocence and then offers sentencing after making a guilty decision.

Penalties for First Time DUIs in Fauquier County

If you are convicted of a DUI offense pursuant to the Virginia Code Section 18.2-266, you face the following possible penalties:

  • 12 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $2500
  • Or a combination thereof

In addition, you lose your privilege to operate a motor vehicle in Virginia for a period of 12 months by statute and you will be required to complete several mandatory programs such as:

While your conviction may include probation in lieu of active incarceration, there are no diversionary programs or probation before judgment for first time DUI offense, as may be offered in some of Virginia’s neighboring states such as West Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Building a Strong Defense for First Time DUIs

For those charged with DUI whether it is the first, third, or fifth offense in Fauquier County, I approach the DUI cases in very much the same way. I want to find out whether or not the law enforcement officer had reasonable, articulable suspicion to stop your vehicle, after that I want to determine whether or not there was probable cause to place you under arrest for suspicion of DUI.

After that I want to find out whether they have sufficient information and sufficient evidence to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. These three areas will trigger many more questions including applicable case law and more analysis into constitutional defenses.

Important Evidence in First Time DUI Cases

In a DUI case lawyers consider a variety of factors. These include how the officer came to encounter your vehicle, which may include your driving behavior, or being involved with an accident or other non-driving, non-accident operation issues, such as being asleep behind the wheel or sitting in a vehicle parked in private property.

In addition, I want to consider factors such as:

  • Performance on the Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)
  • Taking or not taking of the preliminary breath test or PBT
  • Your performance on the EC/IR II machine at the station for specific analysis

Don’t Plead Guilty Without Speaking to an Attorney

The biggest mistakes to avoid for first time DUI defendants is simply walking into the court waiving your right to an attorney and pleading guilty. Without an experienced Fauquier County DUI counsel on your side, you run the risk of serious penalties including loss of liberty, high fines and extended loss of license, without permission for restricted license.

An experienced Fauquier County DUI attorney can help you understand the facts of your case, minimize your exposure to harsh penalties and help you put your facts on the right side of the case.