When someone is facing first time DUI charges in Virginia, the courts handle the case depending on the severity of the DUI. Attorneys can build strong driving under the influence defense cases for their clients. Since penalties are based on the severity of the offense, having a local Virginia first offense DUI lawyer can prove to be beneficial because they understand the local policies and know the prosecutors and judges.
If you are facing driving under the influence charges for the first time, contact a DUI attorney. When the legal team is building a defense case, they can evaluate the evidence provided. It is crucial to hire a first offense DUI lawyer who can help and clarify the best approach for your case. An experienced Virginia DUI lawyer has the experience and knowledge to assist you during this process.
First-time charges in Virginia for DUI offenses are typically heard in General District Court. General District Court is the place where the misdemeanor charges are heard. Usually, they are going to be in general district court unless there is a more serious offense attached to it.
The way that prosecutors handle first-time DUI charges depends on the severity of the DUI. Was there an accident involved? Did anybody get hurt? Was there heightened blood alcohol level or BAC attached to the incident? Any of those can increase the severity but, generally, they treat them pretty severely. They are not inclined to break them down into other charges and they are not inclined people to give people a second chance.
For first time offenders, prosecutors take these charges seriously. The courts are going to be taking these charges seriously and treating this pretty severely. For first offense DUIs, a person does not get a second chance. Judges are not going to be lenient just because there were mitigating circumstances. Prosecutors are going to want some jail time, either active or suspended, and they are going to need the person to understand not only that their punishment is going to deter them but also that there is going to be a deterrent for other people to be driving around while they are under the influence.
If it is someone’s first DUI, they can accidentally make mistakes that could harm their case. The biggest mistakes to avoid usually occur at the scene so maybe before the person is a defendant, is that if they are pulled over for a DUI, absolutely, they should not admit to a single thing, they should not do any field sobriety test, they should not blow into the PBT, the preliminary breath test, at the scene, and they should not make any statements either before or afterwards about driving behavior, about what they were doing earlier, nothing like that. They should never admit it. They should never do anything. They should ask for a Virginia first offense DUI lawyer. They should not cooperate, basically.
Diversion programs do not exist in the state of Virginia. Maryland has diversion programs for first-time DUI convictions. When people hear about probation before judgment or the first offender DUI program, that is definitely in Maryland. Here in the state of Virginia, people are not offered that. There are mandatory DUI education and alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and education regardless of whether or not it is a person’s first time.
When a person is trying to build a defense for a first time DUI, there are a lot of different ways they can attack a DUI prosecutions. It happens in three parts. The first part is the stop. Did the officer have what is called reasonable articulable suspicion to stop the vehicle? Is there some indicator that the person was either driving under the influence or that they were committing some other crime, like a traffic infraction?
Then, the second thing is that a person would build their defense on what is called the arrest stage or the probable cause stage, between the time that the person was stopped and the time that they were actually put under arrest for the offense of DUI. Is there enough that amounts to probable cause in the objective analysis of a reasonable officer that would allow them to arrest the person for a DUI?
Then the phase after that is the post-arrest stage, which involves things like any statements that the person made that they were not correctly Mirandized when they blew into the breathalyzer or did not blow into the breathalyzer at the station because here in the state of Virginia, if a person is driving then they must blow into a breathalyzer if there is probable cause to arrest them.
The third phase after being arrested is critical because people can make mistakes and impacts their case. It is everything that happens post-arrest and then attacking those elements. Did the person who gave the person the breathalyzer correctly operate the breathalyzer? Were any statements that the person made knowing and voluntary and knowingly waiving their Miranda rights? Did the officers actually arrest the person within a certain period as required under Virginia law for refusal to test? There are a lot of different ways to attack it. It is going to be generally in three parts but then more specific depending on the facts of the case.
When someone is facing their first driving under the influence charge, they might not understand how the process works, or what they should do to benefit their case. A local DUI attorney has the resources, knowledge, and skills to get the best outcome for their client. They can do everything in their power to support the individual.
Even if you have extensive knowledge of the law, it is important to consult with a legal team if you are facing first offense driving under the influence charges. A Virginia first offense DUI lawyer can represent you in court and ensure that you receive appropriate legal counsel. DUI charges are serious in Virginia, and without legal representation, you could potentially harm your case from a common mistake.