In Virginia, third offense DUI charges are treated very seriously and in some cases may even be a felony offense. For this reason, if you have been charged it is important you consult with a Loudoun County third DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and begin building a defense.
A DUI lawyer in Loudoun County can review the penalties you may be facing and help guide you through the legal system. Call today to learn more.
Typically, a third offense DUI charge will initially be brought to the Loudoun County General District Court located at 18 East Market Street in Leesburg, Virginia. However, third offense DUI cases are felonies and the General District Court only decides probable cause for felony matters. So with that in mind, the Loudoun County General District Court cannot find you guilty of a felony offense as it does not have the jurisdiction.
So unlike first or second offenses, a third offense can originate in either the General District Court or the Circuit Court depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, a third DUI lawyer in Loudoun County can give you more information.
Courts and prosecutors treat third offenders very seriously. They see a person coming before the court for the third time for a similar offense. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, the court may sentence a person above the mandatory minimum which is 6 months in jail for an offense within 5 years, 90 days in jail if all three offenses within 10 years and a minimum fine of $1000. Therefore if charged with a third offense it is imperative a Loudoun County third DUI lawyer is contacted as soon as possible.
If you are convicted of a third offense DUI within a 10 year period, it it punishable as a class 6 felony pursuant to Virginia Code Section 18.2 – 270 meaning you are facing up to five years in prison. There are certain mandatory minimum punishments for third offense DUIs. If that third offense convicted is within a 10 year period of the prior two, the mandatory minimum sentence is 90 days. If they occur within a five year period, the mandatory minimum sentence is six months.
In addition, regardless of the amount of time between the offenses the mandatory minimum fine for a third offense DUI in Virginia is $1000.
There is no diversion program for a DUI offense in Virginia. However if you are convicted of a third offense DUI you should expect an extended period of probation, an extended period of classes or other requirements and a potential minimum 90 day jail sentence. A Loudoun County third DUI lawyer can tell you more about the specific penalties you may be facing.
In addition to making sure that prior convictions are constitutionally firm, the largest difference between a third offense DUI and a first or a second offense in terms of the preparation of the defense is the initial stages of how best the defense is prepared by a Loudoun County third DUI lawyer.
For a DUI third offense, you typically have a preliminary hearing in the General District Court and to determine probable cause to certify the case. It is not a hearing to find your guilt or innocence. Often the hearing can be used to gather important information for a potential trial at the circuit court level as well as potential motions at the circuit court level.
At the circuit court level for a DUI third or subsequent offense, the defendant can request bench trial or a jury trial. So preparing for a bench or a jury trial is a major difference between the first and second offenses and subsequent offenses.
If you are convicted of a third offense DUI here in Loudoun County, your license is suspended indefinitely. If you are an out-of-state driver, then your privilege to operate a vehicle in Virginia is suspended indefinitely.
If you are charged with third offense DUI in Loudoun County local experience does matter. What also matters is contacting an attorney comfortable with all areas of DUI defense, who has handled third or subsequent offenses before, and who has experience in presenting the unique issues that maybe present in a third or subsequent offense.
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