Prince William County DUI Cases in Court
Prince William County DUI cases are most often heard in the Prince William County General District Court due to the fact that most DUIs are misdemeanors. DUI first offense, DUI second within five years, or DUI second within ten years are all misdemeanors where the court that has jurisdiction to try them is General District Court. If the charge is DUI third or subsequent, then it is a felony under Virginia law and while the case will begin in a General District Court for preliminary hearing, ultimately it will be tried in the Circuit Court.
If a case is a misdemeanor, it will be tried before a judge which is sometimes referred to as a bench trial. If a case is a felony, then the individual charged will have the option of whether to ask for a bench trial or a jury trial. Similarly, the Commonwealth can ask for a jury trial if it wishs to have one. If you are unsure of where your case will be heard or how to properly prepare, consult with a Prince William DUI lawyer today.
How Long Do Prince William County DUI Cases Take?
A typical misdemeanor Prince William County DUI case can take anywhere from two months to six months depending on how quickly the matter is placed on the docket and whether any continuances are asked for. Sometimes there are tactical advantages in bringing the matter to trial quickly and having it resolved quickly. In other cases there are tactical advantages to having a matter be continued once or more. These are determinations that an experienced lawyer makes with the benefit of all of the facts and circumstances of the individual case.
Prince William County Prosecutors in DUI Cases
Prince William County DUI cases are prosecuted vigorously. DUI is a very serious problem in Prince William County and it causes a great deal of injury, loss of life, and property damage. It also has very serious consequences for individuals who are charged with DUI. For this reason there are a large number of resources dedicated to detecting and prosecuting DUIs, including everything from more officers on patrol to DUI check points.
What Do Prosecutors Need to Prove in a Prince William DUI Case?
In order to prove a DUI case the prosecution has to prove two basic things. The first is that the individual was actually operating the vehicle and the second is that the person was under the influence or alcohol, drugs, or both at the time. There are a few different ways that a person can be shown to be under the influence.
- They have a blood alcohol content of .08 or more.
- They have more than the legal amount of certain drugs in their bloodstream.
- They can be found to be under the influence if they have consumed alcohol to a degree which impairs their ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle (regardless of actual blood alcohol content).
- They have consumed any drug or self-administered intoxicant to a degree which impairs their ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle.
- They have consumed a combination of alcohol or drugs to a degree which impairs their ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle.
The kinds of evidence that are typically brought forward to support this finding includes all of the behavior of the accused from the time that the officer encounters them all the way up through arrest. It will include any statements that the accused has made, how they spoke, how they looked, and especially it will include the field sobriety tests performed by the accused, any preliminary breath test that was administered at the time of the stop but before arrest, as well as a certificate of analysis that shows what their breath or blood alcohol content was when they were tested at the police station after they are arrested.