The police in Richmond take driving under the influence violations seriously. It can be a nerve-wracking event when you see those blue lights flash behind you, no matter what the circumstances are. In a tense situation that you do not know what to do, fear can set in. The police, state prosecutors and judges are not your friends. It may seem unfair, but it is very difficult to deal with those entities without proper training and knowledge.
If the government has accused you or a loved one of a DUI violation, it may be vital to reach out to a Richmond felony DUI lawyer. Typically, a court will not punish a DUI violation as a felony, but there are certain instances where the courts class a violation as a felony. When facing such serious charges, you may wish to enlist the help of an experienced DUI attorney who is familiar with the court systems, legal procedures and laws at issue.
The laws of Virginia are in the Code of Virginia. Section 18.2-270 lays out many of the penalties for DUI violations. The government upgrades any conviction of a DUI to a felony if the driver committed a felony while under the influence. The most serious felony may be manslaughter that occurred while the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol (Code Section 18.2-36.1). Another type of felony involves injuring a victim permanently while driving under the influence (Code Section 18.2-51.4).
If a driver had subsequently committed a felony DUI, the court will punish any subsequent DUI as a Class 6 felony. If the driver committed three or more acts of DUI within a ten-year period, on the third offense, the court will find that person guilty of a Class 6 felony (Code Section 18.2-270).
The government can punish someone who is convicted of a subsequent DUI if they had previously committed a felony DUI with at least one year in jail and a fine of at least $1000. If a driver committed a third DUI within a ten-year period, the government must put the driver in jail for at least 90 days. If the driver committed the third DUI within a five-year period, the court must put the driver in jail for at least six months and fine them $1000.
If a driver committed a felony while driving under the influence, the government may seize the driver’s vehicle.
The government may not impose any punishment greater than the maximum allowed for a Class 6 felony. The maximum penalty is jail for five years and a fine of $2,500 (Code Section 18.2-10). A Richmond felony DUI lawyer could help mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.
A felony conviction can follow a person their entire life. It may cost a person their job, their future, and may affect future legal proceedings. It may be possible to minimize or even avoid the possible side effects of a felony conviction. Speak with an attorney who understands the laws in Virginia and is familiar with the Richmond court system.
The best way to protect yourself if you are at risk from the government may be to mount a strong defense using the services of a legal representative. Contact a Richmond felony DUI lawyer. A lawyer may be able to advise you of your rights and what protections may be available to you. Call today.
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