Some of the first steps that an attorney will take when building a defense for a felony DUI offense in Fairfax are asking a series of questions regarding the specific charges of the offense Do the other DUI offenses count toward number three? Does evidence show a third felony? They are going to pull statutes from the other states. They are going to and apply them to Virginia law and try to decide if the other statutes are going to be counted as DUIs here in Fairfax.
These are the details that every experienced Fairfax felony DUI attorney needs if they have a person who is facing a third offense DUI as part of the plan because that is the crux of the DUI argument. There can be a heightened six-month mandatory minimum sentence and that is why it dumps to a felony. If they cannot show the other two DUIs, then they need to be charging the offense as a first offense or they need to be charging the case as a second offense, not a third.
Gathering information generally occurs closer to the preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing is the defense attorney’s chance to see some of the evidence that is going to be brought against the person but they are not necessarily entitled to that evidence before the case goes up to circuit court and there is a trial date set, which can put a person at a disadvantage.
In the general district court for misdemeanor DUIs in Virginia, however, a person does not find out the evidence until the first court date, depending on the jurisdiction. For the felony process, finding information out at the preliminary hearing and then being able to use that to ask for more specific evidence is an advantage. The process after the preliminary hearing includes getting up to circuit court, which is when all the motions need to begin. It is when the official discovery order is entered by the judge that the judge allows evidence to be delivered.
A person will not file motions before the preliminary hearing, they are going to be gathering evidence and waiting until the case goes up to circuit court unless they can find evidence that there three DUIs were not charged, which a person would bring to the court’s attention during the preliminary hearing.
Defending a Fairfax felony DUI charge is more difficult to because there is a lot at stake. Because it is a high stake issue, because there is a felony on the line, because a person could face mandatory minimums, there is a lot of pressure on the attorney to get a good plea deal for a person as opposed to defending the case.
An attorney will have to balance getting all the defense in as early as possible, there is enough time to still negotiate. That way, if they fail, if the motions do not work, if the evidence is strong against the person and there is a good chance that they are going to lose at trial, then the attorney will realize that and try to plea for mitigating actions like community services, classes, inpatient treatment, et cetera.