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If you are facing Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges in Fairfax County, Virginia, you may be wondering how DUIs are handled by Fairfax prosecutors and courts.
Below, Fairfax DUI lawyer Karin Riley Porter answers questions about how DUIs are treated by the government and legal system in this part of Northern Virginia.
There is the initial court date which is the first court date. That is the court date in which the attorney is able to receive what we call discovery meaning what the police know in this case. So, we’re able to speak to the police officer and read the report if we ask. We’re not entitled to get the police report, however. If there’s video and we make a request ahead of time, then we can get the copy of the video to review.
Before that first court date, my client and I will have met at least one time if not more to discuss everything in the case that we know thus far to develop what our strategies are going to be and prioritize the strength of each. We will also consider what if any plea offers would be acceptable and reasonable in a particular case.
When we go to court, I engage in those negotiations with the prosecutor. I make sure my client is ready and understands his choices and the risks if he rejects an offer and proceeds to trial. So, all the defense work, the majority of it should be done by the time we go to court.
When we go to court, we get the government’s evidence at that point and both sides are put together on that first court date. Generally, on the first court date, the case is either resolved by a plea or the case is continued out for trial. So, after I received the video and the information from the officer, then I can put everything together and be prepared for a trial when we go back to court.
Prosecutors in Fairfax treat DUI cases very, very seriously. They are accountable to their supervisors on these types of cases because they are serious. People can get injured or killed by drunk drivers. So, they take them very seriously and even get their own special training on how to prosecute them.
DUIs are absolutely a priority for law enforcement officers. It’s a very high priority in all the neighboring jurisdictions. In fact, sometimes the local police stations get specific funding to do what they call roving DUI patrol and also for DUI checkpoints. So, it absolutely is a top priority for Fairfax police and state troopers to patrol the highways and the roadways for drunk drivers.
Most of the time, the majority of the cases are through traffic stops or accidents. DUI roadblocks are not common. Actually, DUI checkpoints are not particularly common in my experience.
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