Third-Offense DUI Case in Richmond
In Virginia, when someone is charged for a third DUI, it becomes a felony charge. Court officials and prosecutors see that an individual seemingly has not learned the lesson from their previous offenses and continues to exhibit problematic behavior. Third offense DUI charges are heard in the John Marshall Courts building for a preliminary hearing. It will be held in either courtroom 208 or 210.
Once the case moves into trial on, it will be heard in Circuit Court because it a third-offense DUI is a felony charge. Speak with a Richmond DUI lawyer as soon as possible to start discussing your defense.
Building a Defense for a Third Offense DUI Charge
With a third-offense DUI charge, how a Richmond DUI lawyer analyzes the defense options is very similar to first and second offenses. The main focus is to try to determine if there was probable cause for the stop. Following that, the lawyer will look to see if the officer had probable cause to arrest you for DUI. In other words, looking at how you performed on your tests and if the tests used by the officer were correct.
After that a Richmond DUI lawyer will follow up with how the final testing was done. He or she will ask questions will ask, “Did the officer properly test you for drugs and/or alcohol? Were they qualified to use the machine on which they conducted the test?”
What makes a third-offense case different from a first-offense case is that the defense will also look at prior convictions. A major defense for a Richmond DUI lawyer would be to question whether the previous convictions were legal.
Court Treatment of Third v. Second Offense DUI
The courts in Richmond are very tough on third-offense DUI charges. They will routinely seek to impose sentences above and beyond the mandatory minimum. In addition, because these are felony convictions, they have a long-lasting effect. Compared to a second offense or even a first offense, courts will not offer leniency on a third offense. With a third offense, courts view the underlying issue as a person that cannot solve their substance abuse issues on their own. The court will see it as their job to step in and impose the maximum penalties in order to send a message and get an individual some help.
Penalties for Third-Offense DUI in Richmond
A third-offense DUI is a felony in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is a Class 6 felony and carries up to five years in prison. With a third-offense DUI, it is very important when the prior offenses occurred. If it is a third offense within five years, there is a six-month minimum-mandatory jail sentence applied.
If it is a third offense within 10 years it is still a felony, however, it comes with a 90-day, minimum-mandatory jail sentence. With these offenses, there is a $1000 fine and an indefinite revocation of your driver’s license.
Impact on Driver’s License
After a third-offense DUI charge in Rockville, your license will be administratively suspended for a minimum of 60 days. At that point you cannot drive. If you are convicted, there is an indefinite revocation of your driver’s license. There won’t be an opportunity to get a restricted license at all. You can attempt to petition for some reinstatement after three years, however, it is rare to get that right away.
Diversion Programs in Richmond
Richmond prosecutors do not offer any sort of diversionary programs on a third offense. In addition to that, the courts and prosecutors will not offer any sort of leniency on a third-offense DUI and will routinely seek sentences above and beyond the mandatory minimums.
Hiring a Richmond DUI Lawyer for Your Defense
When facing a third-offense DUI charge in Richmond you should look for a lawyer with experience handling these sorts of cases. You will want an attorney with knowledge of the laws and intricacies of DUI prosecution, particularly for felony DUI charges.
In addition, you want an attorney who knows how to negotiate with the prosecutors but also how to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence. Hiring a Richmond DUI lawyer with experience means that the lawyer will be familiar with the prosecutors in the area, and know how to approach negotiating with them.