The first and second time someone is arrested for drinking and driving it is a misdemeanor charge. When someone gets a third DUI, they are looking at a felony offense. Penalties for a felony charge include heavier fines and possible jail time. If you are facing felony DUI charges, contact a Fredericksburg felony DUI lawyer who has the experience handling DUI cases. A seasoned attorney could stand by your side and ensure that your rights are being protected throughout the legal process.
All DUI charges start in the General District Court and go through the preliminary hearing process. This is where the judge decides if there is enough evidence to send up to the circuit court or if it goes to a grand jury. If the court does not give the individual a preliminary hearing time period and bumps their case straight up to Circuit Court, it goes through a grand jury to decide if there is enough evidence of probable cause to continue with the case. The grand jury almost always decides there is probable cause. The actual trial will be heard in the Circuit Court, at which point an individual has the right to a jury trial.
Felony DUIs carry a much higher mandatory minimum than misdemeanor DUIs. The mandatory minimum is six months in jail for a third DUI charge in five years and a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail. If an individual has a third DUI charge in five years, they will lose their license for an indefinite period of time and it will be at least three years before the person can apply for a restricted license. A fourth offense DUI within a 10-year period carries a mandatory minimum of one year in jail and at least a $1,000 fine. A fourth and subsequent drinking and driving charge in 10 years would also mean the loss of their driver’s license for a longer period of time.
A local DUI lawyer could be very helpful when charged with felony DUI because they are going to know how the judges will:
The Fredericksburg felony DUI attorney will know how to proceed to obtain the evidence from the prosecutor and the police officers, how to maintain that evidence, and what challenges work in front of which judge.
When preparing a defense, the Fredericksburg felony DUI lawyer will go back to the individual’s prior DUI charges and try to figure out whether or not those charges qualify. Then the lawyer is going to fight the present DUI charge. It is essential to have a professional lawyer who can act in your best interests during your case. Due to the seriousness of a felony charge, it is vital that you contact an attorney as soon as possible if you are facing such a charge.