It is not uncommon to hear about appealing a conviction when it comes to criminal charges. A DUI charge is a criminal charge, and convictions can have serious criminal consequences. However, as with other criminal charges, if you are convicted of a Fairfax DUI then you have the right to pursue an appeal in the Virginia judicial system.
Fairfax DUI appeals can be complicated, but an experienced DUI lawyer understands the process and can help you navigate your options if you have been convicted of a DUI.
The appeals process is not for everyone, but a review of your case can shed light on what the appeals process may mean for you. Understanding the Fairfax DUI appeals process is an important step in working with a criminal defense attorney on appealing your DUI conviction.
The appeals process can be initiated after a criminal conviction, such as a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In Virginia, if someone is convicted of DUI in the General District Court (GDC), they can appeal to the Circuit Court for any reason. There, they will have a brand new trial as if the one in the GDC never happened. Appeals from the Circuit Court are heard by the Court of Appeals. If a petition is granted by the Court of Appeals, then there is not a new trial. Instead of litigating every aspect of the initial trial over again, the court reads and hears arguments on specific issues that are appealed.
While the state’s DUI statutes only require the state to prove that an individual was operating a vehicle while under the influence, there are still many possibilities for Fairfax DUI appeals. For more information about the appeals process, contact a well-established attorney.
Evidence used in a DUI case is one of the most common reasons for an appeal. That is because the state must adhere to rigorous standards in collecting evidence for a DUI conviction and in using that evidence in trial. If the evidence does not meet the required standards, then the evidence may be thrown out and result in the conviction being overturned.
For instance, the equipment used in measuring blood alcohol concentration must meet strict standards and failure to demonstrate that such standards have been met could result in evidence being deemed inadmissible.
In addition to meeting strict evidence standards, law enforcement must also prove that they had a valid reason to suspect that an individual was driving under the influence. Failure to provide details about the probable cause for effectuating the traffic stop that led to DUI charges could mean that the state has failed to make its case.
In addition to being required to provide sound reasoning as to why an individual was stopped in the first place, the state must demonstrate that the initial arrest was warranted. That means that law enforcement officials must have probable cause to effectuate an arrest. Generally, this includes field sobriety testing and/or roadside breathalyzer testing.
Unlike mandatory blood alcohol testing after an arrest has been made, individuals have a right to refuse to submit to roadside sobriety testing. If a person has participated in such testing, the results cannot be used against them in the trial though they can help the state establish probable cause for the arrest. Likewise, refusing to take such tests can be used to establish probable cause in some circumstances.
The aspects above are not the only grounds for appeal in a DUI case, though they are some of the most common. You may also be able to appeal the terms of a conviction based on the admissibility of prior offenses or even certain aspects of the state’s implied consent laws.
A dedicated DUI lawyer could help you understand more about the appeals process and what it might mean for you depending on the circumstances of your charges and conviction.
If you have questions about the Fairfax DUI appeals process, contact a seasoned criminal defense attorney to learn more about exploring your options when it comes to appealing a Fairfax DUI conviction.
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