Alexandria Third Offense DUI Charges
A third offense DUI charge in Alexandria is going to be prosecuted more vigorously than the first or second offense and will be handled more seriously. Third offenses under Virginia law are considered felonies, which means that if an individual is convicted, they are looking at lengthy minimum mandatory sentences as well as other serious consequences including the loss of their civil rights, such as the right to vote, the right to hold elected office, even the right to own or possess a firearm.
Because of the serious potential penalties for a third offense DUI in Alexandria, an experienced DUI attorney will be essential in determining the best course of action for anyone facing charges, and will be able to begin their defense as soon as possible.
Courts in Alexandria are going to treat third offense DUI charges seriously. By the time someone is on their third DUI, the court is going to have serious concerns that the penalties imposed in the previous two cases were not sufficient to deter the person from committing DUIs in the future. That means, that the court is going to impose harsher penalties, this is going to include potentially lengthy jail sentences, permanent revocation of driving privileges, and fines.
Third offense DUI charges in Alexandria are handled in two different courts. Because third offense DUIs are felonies, they begin in the general local district court where a preliminary hearing is had. Ultimately, if probable cause is found for the arrest of the DUI, then the case will advance to Circuit Court for a trial, which may be either in front of a judge or a jury.
Once the person is convicted of a third offense, their license is permanently revoked. What that means is that they will not have any driving privileges at all or the ability to apply for a restricted license, unless and until they make a separate application to a circuit court asking that those privileges be restored. Typically, that is not going to be a request that will be granted until a person has at least three years behind them after conviction.
Challenging a Suspension
There really is no difference in how someone challenges the suspension of a license on a third felony DUI as opposed to other DUIs. Once a conviction has occurred, then the revocation is permanent and will remain that way unless and until a judge restores those privileges after a separate petition has been approved.
The option to apply for a restricted license is not available after a third DUI. A third DUI simply results to the revocation driving privileges and there is no restricted operator’s license available. If a person is not convicted of the DUI, then their license will be unaffected and they will have their full privileges restored at the end of that process.
If a person is convicted of a third offense DUI, then they are looking at a significant minimum mandatory jail sentence, which can be anywhere from six months to a year. In addition to that, a third offense DUI will result in a permanent revocation of driving privileges. There are not going to be any types of diversion programs or probation available on a third offense DUI in lieu of a conviction. If a person is convicted on a third offense felony DUI, then they will almost certainly be ordered to complete probation as part of their sentence.
There are a number of enhanced penalties or aggravating factors on a third DUI offense. If an individual’s blood alcohol is higher than 0.15 or if it is higher than 0.21, that will trigger additional minimum mandatory penalties, which will have to be served if a person is convicted. Whenever a minor is in a vehicle and a person is convicted of a DUI, there is a minimum mandatory five-day sentence, which is going to apply in addition to any other penalties because of that DUI.
Building a Defense
There are a number of things that skilled attorneys are looking for in terms of defenses on third offense DUIs in Alexandria. They are always looking to challenge the government’s proof on both the issue that the person was operating the motor vehicle, as well as that they were actually under the influence. They also are looking for any violations of their constitutional rights, which may cause the evidence to be excluded at trial.
Finally, because the third offense dui charges require that the government prove there were two prior convictions either under Virginia law or under the statute of another state, which is substantially similar to Virginia, sometimes, the prior offense the government is trying to use can be challenged and not count as a prior offense for purposes of the felony charge. An attorney will be essential in mitigating or challenging any charges.
Local experience matters in a third offense DUI case, someone who has significant experience handling and trying DUI cases, particularly handling and trying DUI cases in Alexandria. There are always particularities or wrinkles that apply in any local jurisdiction, which can have a significant outcome or impact on the case. An attorney’s knowledge or understanding of local procedure and practice as well as the personalities involved can be the difference in the case for many clients.