Below, a Prince William DUI lawyer answers some of the most common questions those charged with DUI in Prince William County ask. If you have been charged for DUI or another driving offense, call and schedule a consultation today to discuss your case.
In a Prince William County DUI case, a prosecutor needs to prove two elements. The first is that an individual was operating a motor vehicle or engine or train. The second thing they must prove is that the individual was under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, or a combination of the two, while they were operating that motor vehicle.
There are a number of ways that second element can be met. The first is by showing that a person has a .08 or more blood alcohol concentration. Another is that they are under the influence of alcohol to an extent that it impairs their ability to safely operate the motor vehicle, regardless of BAC.
It is the same with drugs. The element can be proven by showing that there is a prohibited concentration of certain drugs in a person’s system, or it can be simply shown that they are under the influence of drugs to a degree which impairs their ability to safely operate the motor vehicle, regardless of the drug concentration in their blood.
Finally, this second element can be met by showing a combination of drugs or alcohol.
DUI cases in Prince William County are all heard at the Prince William County Court House in Manassas, VA. Most misdemeanors are heard in the Prince William County General District Court.
In cases where the accused is a minor, or if they have a minor in the vehicle as a passenger when they are charged, that case can be heard in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations General District Court. Felony charges begin with a preliminary hearing in the General District Court, but are ultimately tried in the Circuit Court.
A typical DUI case in Prince William County can take anywhere from three months up to six months or more. Under Virginia law, there are speedy trials statues which guarantee that a person must be tried within a certain period of time.
Under Virginia law, there is no probation before judgement. There are no pre-trial steps that a person can take to guarantee that they will be convicted of some other offense besides DUI or that they will be put into any particular program.
That having been said, it is not unusual in certain kinds of DUI cases where it is a first offense, where the blood alcohol is .08, or if there some other problematic aspect of the case for the prosecution, that they will reduce the charge to what is called a wet reckless or a DUI lite.
And this can, and typically does, involve the individual being convicted of reckless driving. But then having most of the same penalties that they would have received under DUI, with some variation. That certainly is not something that is guaranteed in any case. It does, however, happen in appropriate cases.
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