Third DUI Charges in Culpeper County

If charged with a third offense DUI in Virginia you are likely facing very serious charges including increased fines, jail time, and license suspension. As a result it is important you consult with a Culpeper County DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.

Read on to learn more about third time DUI charges, before calling and scheduling a consultation to begin building your defense.

How Are Third Offense DUI Charges Treated in Culpeper County?

A third offense DUI in Virginia is considered a felony. Because of this, the General District Court will have a preliminary hearing on the matter to determine whether there is probable cause for the case to proceed to the Circuit Court for trial. It is a much more serious offense and is prosecuted much more vigorously because it is a Class 6 felony in Virginia punishable by up to five years in jail, with 90 days to 6 months being a mandatory minimum, depending on whether the previous two offenses were within 5 years or 10 years.

There is also an indefinite revocation of driving privileges with reinstatement only being possible by order of a Circuit Court judge after many years have passed. Because it is a third offense prosecutors and judges are much more inclined to impose or ask for severe penalties and to treat the defendant as if they’re dangerous.

Penalties For a Third Offense DUI Charge

The penalties for a third offense DUI depends upon whether it is a third offense within five years or third offense within ten years. For a third offense within ten years there is a $1000 minimum mandatory fine, a one year to five year prison sentence with 90 days of that being mandatory. Their drivers’ license is then indefinitely revoked and can only be restored after a separate proceeding where there’s a petition made for restoration of driving privileges.

If it is a third within five there is $1000 mandatory minimum fine, a one to five year prison sentence, or up to a year in jail, but in any event at least six months of the jail is a mandatory minimum. There is also an indefinite revocation of the individual’s driving privileges.

What Happens To Your Driver’s License?

If a person is charged with a 3rd DUI offense, there license with be administratively suspended by DMV, without a hearing, until the time of trial.  This can be overturned by a judge if it can be shown that there was no probably cause for the arrest.

If a person is convicted of a third offense DUI then their driving privileges are indefinitely revoked.  In such a case, the person convicted will have to petition of Circuit Court for restoration at a later date.

Do Prosecutors Offer Diversion Program For a Third Offense?

There are no diversion programs available within Culpeper County for a felony DUI charge, nor is probation something that is offered in lieu of conviction. If a person is convicted of a felony DUI they will find themselves on state probation for at least 12 months.

How Are Third Offense DUI Charges Treated By Judges?

Third offense DUIs are treated much more seriously simply by virtue of the fact that they are in the Circuit Court rather than the General District Court. In the Circuit Court, because the charge is a felony, the potential penalties are much more severe and include up to five years in prison. The judges and the prosecutors universally treat these much more seriously and these are the kinds of DUIs that can result in significant periods of incarceration depending on the individual facts of the case.

How Are Third Offense Charges Treated Compared to Second or First Offense Charges?

Third offense DUIs are treated much more seriously simply by virtue of the fact that they are in the Circuit Court rather than the General District Court. In the Circuit Court, because the charge is a felony, the potential penalties are much more severe and include up to five years in prison. The judges and the prosecutors universally treat these much more seriously and these are the kinds of DUIs that can result in significant periods of incarceration depending on the individual facts of the case.

Building a Defense For Third Time DUI Charges

In defending a third offense DUI, a Culpeper County DUI lawyer is looking for constitutional issues, evidentiary issues, and technical issues, all of which can form the basis of a successful defense. In addition there is a burden of proof on the government to show that there are two previous offenses which were either committed in Virginia or that were committed under a substantially similar statute in a sister state. Many sister states have DUI laws which are sufficiently different that they do not qualify, so in every case there has to be a full analysis of the differences between the statutes. However, in every DUI third case there has to be a higher than normal level of attention and effort on the part of the lawyer, given the severity of the penalties.

Hiring An Attorney For a Third Offense DUI Charge

A person should look for an experienced DUI lawyer who has local experience. They should be looking for an individual who has been practicing law for a significant amount of time, who has experience specifically in criminal defense and DUI law, an individual who has significant respect of their peers and of their clients as reflected by online reviews.

In the end there is no substitute for localized, specialized experience including knowledge of local police officers, the local practices, the prosecutors as well as the judges.