Fredericksburg First Offense DUI Lawyer
First offense drinking and driving charges are categorized as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which means the offender could be facing at least a $250 fine and up to a year in jail. Another consequence for a DUI is a driver’s license suspension. To combat drinking and driving, law enforcement treats DUI cases very seriously. This is why if you are facing your first DUI charge, you should call a Fredericksburg first offense DUI lawyer. An experienced attorney could advocate on your behalf to make sure you get a fair case.
Court Location for First Time DUI Charges
First time DUI charges in Fairfax are usually heard in the General District Court. In Virginia, there are two levels of trial courts, the General District Court which is where most trials begin and most misdemeanor trials are heard, and the Circuit Court where misdemeanor appeals can be heard and felony trials are heard.
This means for most cases of DUI, there will not be a jury on the first go around. However, any time someone has a trial in the General District Court and are not happy with the outcome, they have a right to appeal it to the Circuit Court. Each criminal case in Virginia allows a person the right to a jury trial, but the only way to have a jury trial on a misdemeanor is if a person appeals the decision from the General District Court.
Building a Defense
When building a defense for a DUI charge, one of the most important things to do is gather all the evidence available. In Fairfax County, there may be recordings of the field sobriety tests because of the dash cam on the patrol car. A first offense DUI attorney in Fredericksburg will want to review those tapes with the defendant if possible.
The defendant has more information about their case than many other sources because they were the one involved in the field sobriety test. Therefore, the defendant may be a good resource for finding out what happened.
The defense attorney will speak with the officer and prosecutor to understand their side of the story. Also, an experienced attorney will review all of the records from any breathalyzer machine that was involved and the technician that completed the breathalyzer machine. If possible, the defendant’s lawyer will have an expert to review the documents of the breathalyzer machine to see if there were any difficulties associated with it.
Mistakes to Avoid
The two biggest mistakes to avoid for a DUI defendant is to trying to go through the process without the help of an accomplished DUI attorney or hiring an attorney who is inexperienced and will simply help somebody plead guilty. There are many attorneys who are happy to walk someone through the process of entering a guilty plea and pleading guilty to DUI, but that is not always in the defendant’s best interest. It is better to have an attorney who is willing to look into all the facts of the case and to fight the case at every level to protect the rights of the client.
Prosecutors Treatment of First Time DUI Charges
Many Prosecutors handle first time DUI charges in a very routine way. The prosecutors have set punishment for everyone who is charged for the first time and they want them to complete the same requirements. This means they are very reluctant to amend a DUI charge to even a reckless or a lesser offense. This is why it is crucial to have a Fredericksburg first offense DUI lawyer who has experience dealing with the prosecutors in the area. If you are facing DUI charges, call today to schedule a consultation.