Richmond Felony DUI Charges
While a typical first or second offense DUI may only be a misdemeanor, a third or subsequent offense will often rise to the level of felony leading to much more serious charges if convicted. Below, a Richmond DUI lawyer discusses what you should know about felony DUI cases and why an experienced attorney is so imperative to your case. To find out more and begin discussing your case, call today.
When a DUI Becomes a Felony Offense
A DUI can be a felony offense and in fact very often is, especially if it’s a third of subsequent DUI offense. In addition to that, a DUI can evolve into a felony if there are serious injuries or deaths involved as the city of Richmond now typically tries to enhance the charges to be a manslaughter charge or vehicular homicide case.
First Steps To Take In a Felony DUI Case
The first step to take in a DUI felony case is to consult with an attorney. You need to understand what your rights are and understand what penalties you may be facing both of which an attorney will be able to help you with. In addition, you need to understand what the prosecutors have to prove since prosecutors in this situation not only do they have to prove the current DUI, they also have to show and prove prior subsequent offenses as well.
There are a number of issues that make a felony DUI different from a normal misdemeanor DUI making it more important to have an attorney in a felony DUI.
Process of a Felony DUI Case
The process of a felony DUI case differs substantially from a misdemeanor DUI case. First and foremost, the felony DUI case is finalized in circuit court where as a DUI misdemeanor case is finalized in General District Court. A DUI felony case can be tried before a judge and/or a jury. More importantly than that, the penalties involved in a DUI felony case are significantly more severe than a DUI misdemeanor case.
Importance of Experienced Legal Counsel
Felony DUI cases are harder to defend in court, which is the main reason why you need experienced counsel. Since a felony DUI charge often means that a person has been charged with driving under the influence multiple times before, the courts will no longer give a person the benefit of doubt. You need an attorney who knows how to challenge a felony DUI, and who also knows how to negotiate with the prosecutors on a case like this. In many felony cases, there are issues regarding the prior offenses that an attorney can research to determine if they could be used against you to enhance your current charge.
In addition, with the DUI felony case, the prosecutors are going to be looking for a conviction with a severe penalty. You need an attorney who can challenge the state’s evidence but again, can also negotiate with the prosecutors to try and get you the best result possible.