In Fredericksburg, DUI cases are prosecuted very vigorously. The courts intent is to make sure offenders get jail time and/or pay heavy fines to discourage driving intoxicated on the streets. Fredericksburg DUI cases are typically heard in general district court at the Fredericksburg Courthouse. The exception to this is a felony DUI case. Felony cases are heard first in general district court and then moved up to circuit court for the trial.
If you have been arrested for a DUI, reach out to a seasoned lawyer who is knowledgeable about Fredericksburg DUI trials. A dedicated DUI attorney could advocate on your behalf throughout the legal process.
What the prosecutor must prove in DUI cases depends on the facts of the case and how it was charged. For a simple DUI case, the prosecutor needs to prove that the defendant was driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or some other type of drug that impaired their ability to drive. There is a presumption that if an individual’s blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent or above, they are impaired. If the DUI is charged under heightened blood alcohol content or any other statutes, then there is more the prosecutor must prove.
Fredericksburg DUI trials involve the process of presenting evidence. The prosecution and defense have the opportunity to present evidence in order to tell their side of the story. The types of evidence presented in DUI cases include:
If a DUI case is argued before a judge, the judge will handle the sentencing. If it was tried before a jury, the jury does the sentencing because Virginia has a bifurcated jury system in criminal trials. In this case, the jury decides guilt or innocence and will decide the sentence in a separate hearing. When a court or jury determines sentencing, they base it on the facts of the case and the criminal background of the defendant. If a judge is hearing the case, they are supposed to be bound by the sentencing guidelines. They can always depart from those guidelines if they have a reason for departing, however, the sentencing guidelines were created by the Sentencing Commission in Virginia. The guidelines give someone a general sentence based on the factors in the case and someone’s criminal background and the time they are going to be recommended to serve in prison or on probation.
If a DUI case is a misdemeanor offense, the defendant has the right to appeal it. If it is a felony case, the defendant can appeal the decision of the court if there was an illegal error or under certain specific circumstances to the Court of Appeals. The ability to appeal depends on the specific facts of the case.
Under an appeal, the defendant will face another Fredericksburg DUI trial where evidence will be presented in front of a different judge or jury. Then the judge or jury will decide guilt or innocence.
The most important thing a person should know about Fredericksburg DUI trials is to take them seriously. This means that the defendant should obtain an attorney to help with their defense. It does not matter how innocent an individual thinks they are, it is very easy to be convicted of a DUI. However, after hiring a lawyer, a defendant could have an experienced legal professional on their side advocating on their behalf.