If you are charged with a third offense DUI your case will likely take place in the Fauquier General District Court located in 6 Court Street, Warrenton, Virginia. Third offenses in Virginia are felony offenses, therefore, your case will originate in the General District Court, but only the Fauquier Circuit Court can make a final adjudication of a felony.
Your case will be set for preliminary hearing after your arrest and arraignment. The preliminary hearing is a special hearing in the Fauquier General District Court. It does not decide your guilt or innocence, but rather decides whether or not there is a probable cause to charge you with a felony offense.
If that preliminary hearing is certified by a judge, or if it is waived, your case would be transferred to the Fauquier County Circuit Court located at 40 Culpeper Street in Warrenton, Virginia. Only the Fauquier Circuit Court can decide guilt or innocence for a felony DUI case. At the circuit court level you have the right to request a bench trial or a jury trial, or in some instances you may simply answer a plea.
Prosecutors handle third offenses very seriously. Being charged with a third offense likely indicates that the person has returned with the same behavior that had caused him two prior convictions, therefore there is very little leniency shown for a person charged with a third offense.
Third offense charges, because they are now coming back in front of the court for the third time and because it is now a felony, are taken much more seriously than first or second offense.
Penalties for third offense DUI depend on how much time has passed since the other two offenses. If you are convicted of all three offenses within a 10 year period, the third offense is a Class 6 felony. The Class 6 felony comes with:
If the three offenses occur within a five-year period the mandatory minimum sentence is increased to six months, however the mandatory minimum fine remains $1000. These are just minimums and the court is free to set any penalties consistent with that on a class 6 felony, which could include one to five years in prison owing the court’s discretion and a suspension of up to 12 months in jail and or fine.
If you are convicted of a third offense DUI charges in Virginia you lose your privilege to operating in Virginia indefinitely and your Virginia driver’s license is suspended indefinitely. Pursuant to Virginia statute you may later petition for the restoration of your driver’s license.
Typically a period of 10 years must pass and you must have no violations of law during that time period, no problems with alcohol and/or drugs and you must have completed your probation requirements in a timely manner.
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