Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
DUI cases in Vienna are extremely serious and are treated as such by both prosecutors and judges. You are not just going to get a probationary period where the charge is thrown out, and there is not going to be an opportunity to just walk away. Instead, there is likely going to be accompanying consequences if you are found guilty, making it important that you have a Vienna DUI lawyer who can guide you through the legal process and prepare you for what to expect.
Vienna DUI cases are typically heard in the General District Court in Vienna. In the town of Vienna that is going to be at the small city hall on the second floor in the actual city hall roof.
As long as your DUI is a misdemeanor charge, it is going to be a bench trial the first time around, which means that it is going to be heard by a judge. Only for an appeal do you have a right to a jury for a DUI that is a misdemeanor charge. Depending on access to the evidence and the different factors that come into play in each case, a Vienna DUI case could takes months, but not more than six months to resolve.
Vienna is a very small jurisdiction that prosecutes DUI charges extremely vigorously because they are entrusted in keeping people off the street and keeping the citizens of Vienna safe. It is a situation where the court and the prosecutors really take into consideration the protection of the community and what makes the community safe.
A prosecutor needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual was driving on a highway in Virginia and was intoxicated at the time that they were driving. In order to prove this the prosecution will typically use a few different types of evidence including the breathalyzer test results, any observation that the officer makes through the DUI field sobriety tests, how many statements the individual made, and anything that is recorded on video from the police vehicle.
If someone is found guilty in Vienna, they can appeal their Vienna DUI case. The appeal will go up to the circuit court and the case will be heard by a judge or a jury, depending on what the defendant or what the prosecution wants to do.
On appeal, it will be what is called a de novo appeal in Virginia, which means that the defendant gets a brand new trial to have a new shot at the case, so none of the evidence and none of the statements that came out before will be known to the judge prior to the second trial. It will be as though the defendant is trying their case for the first time and all the evidence has to be properly admitted and properly argued a second time.
Appealing to circuit court in Vienna means that another judge or jury at a more formal level will hear the case. The defendant is appealing it de novo, which means that they are going to have another trial where the case is tried all over again in front of a different judge or in front of a jury. The trial will probably have the same the prosecutors. However, they will have to reintroduce all of the evidence that they introduced and allowed, and the defendant has another opportunity to argue the evidence and to be found not guilty.
Sentencing for DUI cases in Vienna is typically handled seriously. It is going to be on a case by case basis, but if convicted, you should expect to lose your license. Futhermore, if you had some kind of heightened BAC level, you can expect mandatory minimum jail time.
If it is your first offense, depending on the facts of your case, you might be able to get all of the time that you are given beyond the mandatory time suspended, which means that you would not have to serve it and you would be on probation for a certain period of time. However, it is going to depend on the facts of your case.
The factors that the court and jury consider in sentencing are the person’s BAC level as established by the breathalyzer results and the factors related to the person’s observable driving behavior. Some questions that will be asked at trial with the potential to impact sentencing include:
Also extremely important is how intoxicated the individual is. Was the person slurring their words? How did they do in the field sobriety tests? Was the person agitated? And, the criminal background and whether the individual has been convicted before, either of DUI or of other offenses, is certainly going to play a huge role in sentencing in Vienna.