A first DUI offense, regardless of how high the BAC, is going to be a misdemeanor under Virginia law. Misdemeanors charged to adults are heard in the General District Court.
If you are facing first time DUI charges in Fredericksburg, an experienced DUI lawyer can help you create an appropriate defense based on the facts of your case. A Fredericksburg driving under the influence lawyer can assess how local laws may apply to your case.
Prosecutors handle first time DUI charges very seriously. If a person is charged with DUI, the prosecutor in the vast majority of cases is going to attempt to get a conviction. It is not a situation where the charge is routinely broken down to lesser charges or voluntarily dismissed by the government. If a charge is to be dismissed or reduced, it only happens because a prosecutor is fearful of losing a trial. That is where an experienced attorney who has developed good defenses for first-time impaired driving cases can make a difference in the case.
On a first time DUI charge, because of the way that Virginia law is written, judges do not have a lot of latitude in what they can do. There are a number of penalties that are prescribed by law, which upon conviction a judge must order as part of the sentence. This includes a license suspension, VASAP classes, and a minimum fine.
In most cases, the judge will also impose some suspended jail time. Making that number larger or smaller is one place that a court has discretion. Making a fine larger or smaller is another place that the court has discretion. However, most of the things a person gets in connection with the DUI are mandatory.
If a person is convicted for a first time DUI charges and it is not a case where there is mandatory jail time because the blood alcohol level is 0.15 or above, the person is going to be looking at suspended jail time. This means some amount of jail time, which the court does not impose, but hangs over a person’s head to ensure compliance with all of the other terms of the sentence as well as to prevent him or her from committing a new crime during the good behavior period.
There will usually be a minimum fine of $250 as a penalty for first time DUI charges. There will be VASAP classes, 20 hours of alcohol education, and a 12-month license suspension. During that period of suspension, a person can apply for and receive a restricted license. They will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle the individual drives for a minimum of six months.
Anyone convicted of a first time DUI charge is going to be on probation with the VASAP office. This is the alcohol education office, which will not only administer the class that the person is required to take but will monitor the person’s restricted license and any ignition interlock device installed on the person’s vehicle.
There are a number of ways in which lawyers build a first time DUI offense. The first thing that they are going to do is look at all of the evidence. This is going to include police reports, video in many cases, as well as the version of events that is given to them by the client.
They are looking for any way in which they can challenge the evidence that the government has to bring forward. The first time DUI lawyer can try creating any doubt about whether the defendant was operating a motor vehicle and whether the defendant was not under the influence.
The lawyer can question any violations of the person’s rights that may have occurred, for example, whether there was an illegal stop, whether there was an illegal search, and whether the blood or breath test submitted was legally obtained.
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