Third-offense DUI offenses are charged as felonies in Virginia and are heard either in general district court or juvenile and domestic relations court, depending on the age of the person charged. After that, they may go up to circuit court for a trial or appeal. If you are facing a third DUI charge, consider reaching out to a Prince William County third-offense DUI lawyer for assistance.
Third-offense DUI charges are prosecuted more vigorously and are treated more seriously by judges in Prince William County and everywhere in Virginia. Prosecutors consider a third DUI offense to be indicative of a long-term substance abuse problem and may therefore categorize a defendant as a persistent danger to public safety. A DUI lawyer could help offset some of those prosecutors’ concerns.
A third-offense DUI within 10 years of a previous offense is a felony offense, and the penalties would be a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail for a conviction and a possibility of up to 5 years in prison. A third offense also carries at least a $1,000 fine, which may be elevated to $2,500.
If convicted, a defendant will likely have their license suspended and revoked indefinitely. They will then have to wait three years before they can apply for a restricted license. A Prince William County third-offense DUI lawyer could represent a defendant during a license suspension hearing and during any kind of post-conviction sentencing.
The time between DUI charges matters. If the third offense takes place within 10 years, then an individual is facing a felony. If it is outside of 10 years, however, then prosecutors will likely treat the DUI charge as if it is the person’s first offense, with corresponding lower penalties.
Virginia does not offer diversion programs for DUI. Probation is court-allowed free supervision, which is an alternative incarceration. The amount of probation time offered to a defendant depends on which particular judge they have, which particular prosecutor they have, and what type of offer they accept.
Courts treat DUI charges seriously, and judges may consider a third DUI offense to be an indication that the defendant has a substance abuse problem. As a result, they may be unwilling to grant probation. An experienced defense lawyer could negotiate with prosecutors to mitigate the penalties associated with a conviction, perhaps by having the defendant enroll in a rehabilitation program.
If you are facing a third DUI offense within ten years of previous offenses, consider retaining experienced legal representation. Prosecutors and judges alike take repeated DUI offenses very seriously, and the resulting penalties could be quite severe. Without a criminal defense attorney on your side, your future could be seriously derailed.
Reach out to a knowledgeable Prince William County third-offense DUI lawyer as soon as possible if you are facing charges. An attorney could negotiate with prosecutors, investigate the specific circumstances of your arrest, and work to build the most effective defense strategy possible.