The penalties that can result from a first time DUI charge in Dumfries are serious and can ultimately alter a person’s life and negatively affect their future. For this reason, it is so important that a person facing these charges in Dumfries contacts a Dumfries DUI attorney right away to ensure they have a fair opportunity to prepare a strong defense in order to combat the consequences that can result from a DUI conviction.
First time DUI charges which arise in Dumfries are heard at the Prince William County Courthouse and the General District Court for misdemeanors and in the Circuit Court for felonies.
Even first time DUI charges are handled seriously by prosecutors. There are no first-offender programs that exist in this area, or really anywhere in Virginia, and they are prosecuted very vigorously just as any other DUI charge would be.
Since diversion programs and a first-offender status are not things that are typically offered on DUI cases in Dumfries, it is crucial that a person facing first time DUI charges in Dumfries has an excellent defense in their case which can then be leveraged into an agreement which provides for those things.
While most cases involving first time DUI charges in Dumfries will not result in active jail time, they do involve very serious penalties which can include suspended jail time, some fines as well as suspended fines, driver’s license suspension of one year, completion of VASAP classes, and ignition interlock on the defendant’s vehicle for at least six months.
In first time DUI cases, a trial will only be heard by a judge, unless the defendant appeals an adverse ruling to the Circuit Court. In general, however, juries are tougher on these kinds of cases than judges are.
A DUI, even a first DUI, is a Class 1 misdemeanor which means that there is up to one year in jail available as well as a $2,500 fine. In addition, there are specific penalties which are required in DUI cases and those include completion of the VASAP program as well as a 12-month loss of license.
A restricted license can be granted by the court, but will be conditioned on an ignition interlock being placed on the vehicle that the defendant drives for at least six months. In a typical case, there will be no active jail time on a first time DUI, however, there will be some suspended jail time.
There are a few different ways a defense is built for a first time DUI case. Some of them relate to the sufficiency of the government’s evidence, for example, if they can prove the defendant was actually operating the vehicle or whether they can actually prove that a person had a certain blood alcohol content. There are other defenses which relate to a person’s constitutional rights and if an attorney finds that those have been violated, sometimes they can exclude the government’s evidence from coming in at trial.
The factors that an attorney considers in a DUI case are a person’s record, along with any other circumstances surrounding the case such as Field Sobriety Tests, driving behavior, statements which are made to police, as well as the results of preliminary breath test in the field and blood alcohol testing administered at the station.
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