Trial Process for Fredericksburg DUI

In the case of a DUI, a case may go to trial if the prosecution has sufficient evidence to force a plea deal, the client does not wish to accept any offers that are given by the prosecutor, or the prosecutor declined to give any offers of a plea deal to the defendant.

An experienced DUI attorney could walk a defendant through the Fredericksburg trial process and prepare them for the stresses of a jury or bench trial.

General District Court and Circuit Court

Any DUI that is charged as a misdemeanor offense would be held in General District Court. Also, any misdemeanor cases in general that do not involve juveniles or domestic violence would be held in General District Court.

Circuit Court is reserved for all cases that are felonies and for any appeals from either General District Court misdemeanors or juvenile domestic relations court misdemeanors.

In Virginia, Circuit Court judges are selected by a judicial selection committee for the relevant jurisdiction. The recommendations from the judicial selection committee are sent to the legislature in Richmond, which vets and appoints judges based on rigorous internal standards.

The Day of Trial

What happens on the day of the trial depends on whether a case goes to a jury trial or a bench trial. A bench trial is heard only by a judge with no jury present. In contrast, a jury trial takes place before a panel of twelve citizens.

The first thing a person should do when they arrive at the courthouse on the day of their trial is talk to their defense attorney. Different trials require different actions, and an attorney could best explain what the defendant should do in each moment and how they should conduct themselves.

Opening Statements

DUI trials have two opening statements. All opening statements include an opportunity for each side, the prosecution and the defense, to say something to the judge or jury before the case starts.

In Fredericksburg and throughout the state of Virginia, the prosecution always presents their case first.

Evidence for the Prosecution

The evidence the government presents in DUI cases must be enough to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual was intoxicated while driving the vehicle on a highway in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and they were intoxicated to a point that it significantly impaired their ability to control the vehicle. The general types of evidence that come up in DUI cases are blood alcohol levels, breath tests, and blood tests, depending on the case.

While the government is presenting its case, the defense listens closely to the government’s evidence so they can ask effective cross-examination questions.

The defense rarely presents evidence in DUI cases in an attempt to prove their case. The burden is completely on the prosecution or the Commonwealth of Virginia. An exception would be if the defense attorney is attempting to present an affirmative defense, in which they offer some kind of alternative explanation for the evidence that the Commonwealth presented.

Closing Statements

Closing statements are almost always presented by both the prosecution and the defense, which has the opportunity to explain their case and emphasize any point that they want the judge to consider when deciding guilt or innocence.

Duration of a Fredericksburg DUI Trial

The length of a Fredericksburg DUI trial varies. There is not a typical time period for DUI trials in Virginia. Duration depends on the facts, on the seriousness of the DUI, and on the numbers of witnesses. It could be anywhere from hours to a few days.

Discuss the Trial Process with a Fredericksburg DUI Attorney

Defendants are often nervous before their Fredericksburg DUI trials, but an attorney can ease their concerns by providing support at every step of the trial process. Experienced legal representation is often the best way to fight back against the charges and seek a positive resolution. For help with your case, call today.

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