Under Virginia law third offense DUI charges are felonies which means there is a two-part process by which they are heard. The first is in the General District Court, which will hold a preliminary hearing to determine whether there was good cause for the arrest. If that court finds that there was good cause for the arrest, the case will be transferred to the circuit court of Fredericksburg for trial. When this occurs, it is imperative to consult with a competent local Fredericksburg DUI lawyer as the stakes can be much higher then first or second offenses and carry a number of severe penalties.
Courts treat third offense DUI charges very seriously. There are mandatory sentences, that the court must give if a person is convicted that include significant amounts of jail time.
The judge may give much more than the mandatory amount of time, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. These are treated very seriously and prosecuted very vigorously. It is among the most serious charges that a court routinely sees.
Third offense DUIs are prosecuted more vigorously in a number of ways. The first is that because they are felony offenses, the charges come with much more severe penalties. Once someone has a third DUI, most prosecutors are going to have in mind that the defendant has committed many, many DUIs in their life and have simply not been caught. It is going to be their focus and determination to keep this person from ever committing another similar crime.
The two broad categories of defense for third offense DUIs are going to be challenging the government’s evidence, making sure that any holes in their evidence are exploited, and looking for any constitutional rights violations that occurred, which may allow Fredericksburg third offense DUI lawyers to suppress evidence.
A third category would be making sure that the prior offenses that the government is relying upon in charging a third DUI are valid and that the government has proof of them. If they are coming from another state, it needs to be verified that it is a state that has a DUI statute substantially similar to Virginia’s.
Every DUI defense is similar in the sense that the government’s proof is going to include showing that the person was operating a motor vehicle and if the person was under the influence. In that sense, it is similar.
The distinctions or differences include that on a third DUI offense, there are two prior offenses that the government has to prove and there are more serious penalties, which can be imposed. The government is going to treat it more seriously and it is going to be more serious for the defendant, as well.
Third offenses DUIs are felonies so if someone is convicted, they become a felon for the rest of their life. There is no expungement process for convicts; the person will carry the problem of a felony for as long as the person lives. In addition, there are mandatory jail sentences, which are measured in months rather than days or weeks.
If convicted, the person’s driver’s license is permanently revoked. That does not mean a person can never get their license back. There is a process in place for a convicted DUI offense defendant to get their license back. However, the person is going to have to petition a circuit court and it is normally going to be years before they receive that license back.
There is no diversion or probation available in lieu of conviction on a third offense DUI. If a person is convicted of a third offense DUI, the person is going to find themselves on probation with the state probation office. That is the office that supervises convicted felons for a number of years. There is no alternative in lieu of conviction on a third DUI.
Being convicted of a third offense DUI can have life-altering implications. Besides jail time, a third offense conviction can result in losing your license and having a felony charge on your record. Get in touch with a Fredericksburg third offense DUI attorney who understands what is at stake and will do their best to help you.
Do not send us confidential information related to you or your company until you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us.