Richmond DUI Courts
The Virginia court system takes DUIs serious and tries to ensure that any criminal decisions are made quickly and efficiently. This may mean that when the government accuses someone of committing a DUI, the defendant must act quickly to build their defense against any potential negative consequences associated with a conviction.
If the government has accused you or a loved one of a DUI, be wary of acting too slowly. Typically, the faster you take action, the better. It can be disastrous to fail to show up for any hearings, trial or proceedings in Richmond DUI courts. A determined DUI lawyer may be able to help you build a strong defense against any potential charges and may be to have to charges reduced or even dropped, depending on the unique characteristics of your case.
General District Court
The government classifies most DUIs as misdemeanors if there are no aggravating circumstances, such as harm to a victim or subsequent convictions (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270). If your case involves a misdemeanor, it is almost certain that the General District Court will decide your matter. The court will also handle any preliminary hearings if the government charges you with a felony DUI.
Even though judges understand that people make mistakes, judges must uphold the law. Judges have a duty to make sure that everyone receives a fair trial and that convictions are properly obtained, but they tend to be strict about punishing DUIs in order to strongly dissuade the public from engaging in those activities.
In Virginia, the Legislature chooses the General District Court judges. The Legislature elects judges for six-year terms.
The Circuit Court is a higher court than the General District Court. The Circuit Court deals with felony charges and will also hear appeals from misdemeanor convictions. Appeals from the General District Court are uncommon, but a Richmond lawyer may be able to offer advice on whether that is an option for you.
If the government charges a person with a felony DUI, the General District Court will hold a preliminary hearing to decide if there is probable cause to subject the defendant to a trial. If the General District Court finds that probable cause exists, then the court will certify the case to the Circuit Court and the court will set the case for trial.
Just as the General District Court will treat a DUI case carefully, so will the Circuit Court judge. The judge has a duty to ensure that the judicial system respects all of the defendant’s constitutional rights and that the government carries its burden of proof to show the defendant committed each element of the accused crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Help During a Richmond DUI Court Trial
If an individual believes that they will have to appear before a local court, a representative may be vital. A DUI defense attorney could provide invaluable services such as:
- Arguing legal defenses to DUI charges
- Requesting that the government dismiss the charges
- Negotiating with the prosecutor for a reduced sentence or charge
- Asking for an alternative to prison time, such as probation or community service, and
- Requesting a lesser sentence after conviction
Reaching Out to a Richmond DUI Attorney
The court system is no laughing matter and court rules are complex. The state prosecutor went to law school and has years of experience prosecuting people in the local courts. A DUI lawyer could be useful in helping defend you and protect you, from the pitfalls of the court rules. Reach out to a capable DUI attorney to find out how they can aid you in the Richmond DUI courts.