Loudoun County First DUI Charges
Unlike in certain neighboring jurisdictions and neighboring states, first time DUI charges are handled very strictly in Loudoun County. Depending on the specific facts and circumstances of your case, including the recorded BAC, the first offense could carry a period of incarceration.
Additionally, first offenses in Loudoun County are not subject to a first offender diversion, meaning it is in your best interest to consult with a Loudoun County first DUI lawyer as soon as you are charged.
A DUI lawyer in Loudoun County will be able to look at the facts of your case and help you build the strongest possible defense to help minmize the harm of your charge. Call today to schedule a consultation.
DUI Charges in Loudoun County
A DUI (1st offense) is a Class 1 Misdemeanor according to Virginia Code Sections 18.2-266 and 18.2-270, which means there are certain mandatory penalties if you are convicted of a DUI first offense in Loudoun County. The mandatory minimum penalties for a first offense DUI include a mandatory minimum $250 fine and 12 months loss of license or loss of Virginia driving privileges. Depending on the BAC, you could also face mandatory minimum incarceration in the county jail even for a first offense.
Additionally, there is not typically a diversion program or a first offender program available to those charged with a first offense DUI. However, most sentences do include a period of probation with certain conditions such as the completion of the VASAP program and completion of the VIP program.
First offender programs are strictly constructed by statute in Virginia Code Sections 18.2-266 and 18.2-270 do not have a first offense first offender provision by which you can avoid conviction, as you would find in limited other circumstances such as simple drug possession.
Where First Offense DUI Charges Are Heard in Loudoun County
If you are charged with a DUI first offense in Loudoun County your charges will originate in the Loudoun County General District Court. By statute, the General District Courts are bench trials only. However, should you choose to appeal the adverse findings of the General District Court to the Circuit Court of Loudoun County you can then request a jury trial.
Depending on the specific facts and circumstances of your case it may be more prudent to present your case and your legal defenses to a judge rather than a jury. In other scenarios a jury is the best option. This depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your case.
The Loudoun County General District Court is located at 18 East Market Street in Leesburg, Virginia.
Building a Defense For First Time DUI Charges
There are three main factors that are considered in evaluating first time DUI charges. The 3 factors are:
- Whether there was a reasonable, articulable suspicion for the stop in the first place. This means did the law enforcement officer have an accepted means of encountering you or was the stop in violation of your constitutional rights.
- Was there probable cause for the arrest? At the probable cause phase a Loudoun County first DUI lawyer wants to examine what physical characteristics the officer observed? What was your performance, if any, on the Field Sobriety Tests and/or preliminary breath test?
- Finally the third stage for the defense is the guilt beyond reasonable doubt phase. At that phase a first DUI lawyer in Loudoun County should have an in-depth look at the Certificate of Analysis which you received from the station and view what sort of defenses it may present. This includes requesting further information from DFS, the Division of Forensic Science.
Hiring a Loudoun County First DUI Lawyer
The biggest mistakes for someone charged with a DUI offense for the first time is to simply walk into court without representation and request leniency from the judge. Now there may be some scenarios where a person is not facing jail time for a first offense, however, you should never take that for granted.
An experienced Loudoun County first DUI defense lawyer can help someone charged with first offense in Virginia understand the nature of their charges, search through the evidence for defenses and come up with the best possible scenarios for the case.