Prosecutors handle second offense DUI charges very seriously. When someone is charged with a second offense DUI, prosecutors draw the conclusion that the defendant is a severe danger to the community and was unable to learn their lesson from the previous conviction. For that reason, they typically try to deter future DUIs by the same person by imposing heavy jail sentences and fines and also try to limit the danger to the community by revoking the defendant’s license for longer periods of time. There are mandatory minimum jail sentences, fines and license suspensions that the court has to impose, and prosecutors are likely to try to add to those minimum sentences because they take these cases so seriously. For this reason, if you are charged with a second offense DUI charge it is in your best interest to consult with an Alexandria DUI lawyer.
Second DUIs in Alexandria are heard in the General District Court and are considered misdemeanors in Virginia, just like first offense DUIs. In General District Court your case will either be resolved by plea, dismissal or by trial.
Trial in General District Court can only be heard by a judge—there are no juries in that court. If you are unhappy with the outcome in General District Court, you have an automatic right to appeal that decision to the Circuit Court, and in that Court, you have an automatic right to a jury trial.
Courts treat second offense DUI charges very seriously. In their eyes, the accused has endangered the community on at least two occasions and did not learn their lesson from the first conviction. Courts are also concerned that if they go easy on a person accused of a second offense DUI, they risk that person going back out into the community and driving under the influence again. If that person gets into an accident and hurts or kills someone, everyone will be looking to the Court to scrutinize the judge’s actions.. The courts take it very seriously and they punish very seriously. just like prosecutors do and just like police do. If you are charged with a second offense DUI, you should take it seriously too.
There are numerous ways to try to attack a DUI charge. An attorney will want to collect all the facts surrounding the case, including the details of what happened before the stop, during the stop, during the test, and more.
An attorney can challenge various aspects of a DUI case. First of all, an attorney can demonstrate that the DUI stop itself lacked the probable cause required by the Constitution. Alternatively, an attorney may be able to demonstrate that the intoximeter breath alcohol test machine was not calibrated properly, or that the test was administered incorrectly.
Additionally, in a second offense DUI, your attorney should be looking at the prior conviction to make sure it’s legally valid and that it really should be counted as a prior conviction. For example, if it’s from another state, that state’s laws have to be very similar to Virginia in order to be counted as a prior conviction. That is something your attorney should be analyzing and hopefully helps build the defense for your case.