Facing your first DUI charge in Virginia can be an intimidating process.However, a Fairfax DUI lawyer is available to advocate on your behalf and make sure that your rights are protected throughout the judicial process. Read on to learn more about first time DUI charges before calling today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.
First time DUI cases in Fairfax are heard first in the General District Court. This is a court not of record, meaning that there is not a transcript of what is happening unless somebody brings a stenographer. This court has no jury trials, so if you have a trial in General District Court it will be a judge-only trial. The General District Court is located on the first and second floors of the Fairfax County Court House.
Fairfax prosecutors take DUIs very seriously. It’s one of the most serious misdemeanor cases they face. The community is obviously concerned about it and because prosecutors are responsive to the community they too become concerned. It is a unique offense in that it is dangerous in that it has the potential to do great harm. For this reason, prosecutors tend to try to send a message that DUIs are not acceptable by punishing them severely and not breaking them down to lesser offenses.
You can expect that if you are charged with a DUI in Fairfax that the prosecutors and courts will take it seriously and will try to hold you accountable if they believe you committed the offense.
A first offense DUI is punishable by a minimum fine of $250 and a maximum fine of $2,500. Additionally, it is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and any conviction for DUI will result in a loss of license for a period of 1 year.
Additionally, if you are convicted of a DUI, you will have to do the ASAP Program which is an alcohol program that costs money and takes time. If your blood alcohol content was between a .15 to a .20 there is a mandatory minimum of 5 days in jail and if it is a .21 or above that jumps to a 10 day mandatory minimum in jail. And those penalties hold forth even if you’ve never received even so much as a traffic ticket in your life. If there is an accident involved, prosecutors often look for jail time, even if your blood alcohol concentration is below a .14.
Fairfax prosecutors do not ever offer diversion programs or probation to first-time offenders on DUI charges. It’s very rare that a DUI charge is not handled as a DUI charge and almost never do they offer a diversion program for a first offense DUI.
There is very little leniency from judges and juries for even first offense DUIs. The community is impacted by DUI drivers and they want to deter other people from driving while under the influence in the future and to accomplish that goal they punish even first offenders very seriously. Additionally, judges are no different. Judges have to live in the community in which they preside, and they too want to deter future drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. Because of that they punish harshly when they find that a person has committed the offense of DUI.