Below Fairfax DUI lawyer Karin Riley Porter discusses what to expect if you are charged with driving under the influence in Fairfax.
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After a DUI arrest, the driver is taken to booking and that’s where the breathalyzer machine is housed—or it could be the hospital depending on the facts of the case. If they are taken to booking, then they are given the breath test. In some circumstances a blood test is needed and that can be done by any type of phlebotomist who’s certified to take blood. If the person is transported to the hospital, then it can be taken by a nurse at the hospital.
DUI first and second offenses, which are misdemeanor DUIs, are first heard by a judge in the General District Court. If the driver is convicted, then he or she has the right to appeal to the Circuit Court.
If it’s a DUI felony, then the person is arrested. Usually, it is on a warrant which means they’re entitled to a preliminary hearing which is heard in the General District Court. There, the court determines probable cause for the arrest and decides what makes it a felony. Generally, that would be for a person who has two prior convictions. The case is then bound over the Circuit Court for a trial on a felony offense.
If we are talking about your standard misdemeanor DUI case, then generally the case would more than likely be resolved maybe within ninety days. It could go longer or it could be shorter, but on average I would say about ninety days—but that does not include the appeal.
The prosecutors take these cases very seriously and treat people consistently across the board. The way they handle plea offers for these types of cases is generally the same in each case.
An attorney has to understand what the specific repercussions could be in order to warn the clients about what the judges tend to do on certain types of cases. In other words, do they face jail time for a first offense DUI? They have to understand how prosecutors would treat the cases as well. Having a routine presence there and that local knowledge is essential to clients because then an attorney can adeptly advise their clients on the expectations for each particular case specifically to Fairfax County.
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