In Henrico County, third offense DUI charges are prosecuted much more vigorously than a first or second offense. Prosecutors and the state often believe that this type of situation warrants sever punishment meaning that a strong legal argument is necessary to get charges reduced or mitigated.
This also means prosecutors are reluctant to reduce third offense charges without the discovery of some kind of significant issue regarding the stop, test, or procedure used by the arresting officer. Without an issue present prosecutors are likely to pursue the harshest sentence possible which in many cases means going above the mandatory jail requirements.
As a result of the severity with which prosecutors treat these cases, a Henrico third DUI lawyer is necessary in order to make sure you are building the strongest possible defense and therefore minimizing the harm of your charges as much as possible.
A third offense DUI is a felony in the state of Virginia, however the time between the DUIs matters for sentencing and punishment. If it is a third offense within five years then there is a six-month minimum mandatory jail sentence, which means no matter what those convicted are serving six months in jail. If it is a third offense within 10 years, then there is a 90-day minimum mandatory requirement of jail.
In addition to that, both of these charges would come with $1000 fine and both the third offense within five years and a third offense within 10 years comes with a license revocation. The license revocations typically last for a minimum of three years after which you can petition for reinstatement.
A prosecutor will not offer any diversionary or probation programs on a third offense.
In building a defense it is important to consider the factors regarding the stop, regarding the timeline that the officer can provide during the stop, showing when you are operating the vehicle, when the stop occurred, and when the arrest occurred. Following this, the next step is looking at the tests that were conducted and if they were properly administered.
The last step to building a defense is looking to see how the blood alcohol tests were conducted ensuring that they were conducted correctly. The machine must have been operating correctly and/or if it was a blood test, they must properly administer the test and must be able to follow the chain of custody of the blood.
Courts are very harsh on a third offense DUI charges. The judges and prosecutors will seek to impose penalties above and beyond the minimum mandatory jail sentence. In third offense DUI cases an individual has shown an inability to control substance abuse problems and the Court will view it as a habitual issue. The courts will view it as in the public’s best interest to seek a severe punishment.
With a third offense DUI judges and prosecutors will almost ignore mitigating factors like substance abuse issues or family issues or anything else of that nature. When it rises to the level of a third offense, however, the individual has clearly shown an inability to take care of these issues on their own.
The court will still consider legal arguments but you will have to have a very strong legal argument to get a prosecutor to negotiate or possibly amend the third offense DUI to a lower charge. That is where an experience DUI attorney can be of the most assistance to a client.
After a third offense charge, there’s an administrative suspension for a minimum of 60 days. If you are convicted there is an indefinite revocation of your privilege to drive in the state of Virginia.
If you’re not convicted, or if your charge is dismissed, then you are free to drive throughout the state and you would get your privilege to drive back.
In order to challenge the administrative suspension of a license you have to show that the stop was improper, the testing was improper, or the prior offenses were improper or in error. Once again this is difficult to do on such short notice and judges are reluctant to release an administrative suspension.
A restricted license is not available on a third offense charge.
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