There are differences in the way Virginia third offense DUI charges are heard and prosecuted more vigorously than first or second offenses. First offense DUIs are going to be heard in the district court to begin with but the difference is that the trial is going to be heard in the circuit court. Third offense DUIs are prosecuted as felonies if it is a third offense in 10 years, and they are going to be taken a lot more seriously. The potential consequences that can come with felony offenses are losing the right to vote if a person is convicted, losing the right to possess a weapon, and unemployment. There are also much more serious mandatory minimums and sentences available for a felony DUI and, in addition, the period of revocation for a driver’s license is much longer. A skilled, experienced lawyer can try to mitigate such repercussions.
The penalties for a third offense DUI are going to be a mandatory minimum sentence. Depending on when it is, there might be mandatory minimum term of 90 days if the offenses all occurred within 10 years and a term of six months in jail if they occurred within five years. There is also a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. For a standard DUI felony offense, the maximum jail term is up to five years in prison.
The time between DUIs matter because there are heightened restrictions and there are mandatory minimums when it is the third in five or the third in 10 DUI charge in Virginia.
Courts in Virginia tend to treat third offense DUI charges much more seriously not only because it is a felony, but also because it is a charge that they consider to be a heightened security risk to the community. Courts would want to lock the person up, so they are not a deterrent for everybody else and so that they do not do it again. At this point, they would not think that the person has self-control. The assumption would be that the person would do it again and they would be a threat to the community.
Somebody facing third offense DUI charges in Virginia should be looking for an attorney, specifically a local attorney who has experience because a local attorney is more likely to know the prosecutors, the judges, and know how to effectively negotiate during a case.
A Virginia third offense DUI lawyer is more likely to know when video evidence exists, when video evidence does not exist, how to find out if there are other officers on the scene, how to get the witnesses, how to preserve the video evidence that we need, what exactly the officers should have asked, what they generally do ask, and whether or not it conforms with law when it comes to a refusal of sobriety tests. They are equipped with the knowledge necessary for a third offense DUI case in Virginia.