Fighting a DUI charge is not easy especially if you live in Fredericksburg, where DUI cases are taken quite seriously. Losing a DUI case is an equally stressful experience. Appealing to circuit court means an individual’s case starts over. The judgment is wiped out and any evidence that was considered must be reconsidered. Essentially, the trial begins again as if it never happened before. During Fredericksburg DUI case appeals, an individual has the ability to request a jury trial at the next level.
If you wish to appeal your DUI ruling and want to know more about Fredericksburg DUI case appeals, get in touch with a local DUI attorney who can answer your questions.
DUI cases are aggressively prosecuted in Fredericksburg. A person charged should know that there are many opportunities for officers to enforce the traffic laws and the procurement of DUIs in Fredericksburg including the use of checkpoints, traffic stops, and other methods. Local judges who sentence DUIs in Fredericksburg take their duties very seriously and are known to sentence within the confines of the law rather than making creative outcomes or exceptions for individual cases.
When an individual is arrested and charged with a DUI in Fredericksburg, their case is heard at the Fredericksburg General District Court located downtown in the City of Fredericksburg on Princess Anne Street. All general district court cases in Virginia are bench trials. When a case is heard in the general district court, the individual does not have the right to a jury trial. However, a person can always appeal the case and, may request a jury trial in circuit court.
When an individual is sentenced for DUI in general district court, they should know that sentencing occurs right after the trial. There are two ways that someone is sentenced for a DUI in Fredericksburg. The first way is when someone has a plea agreement; the judge ratifies the agreement of the party. That is, the Commonwealth makes an offer and the party accepts and agrees that should be the offer. Specifically, that would include some recommended sentence that is fair to the person in exchange for their plea of guilty or no contest.
The second way is when someone goes to trial before a judge and is found guilty. When someone is found guilty, they are sentenced right after the trial. The Commonwealth and the person are encouraged to introduce additional relevant evidence such as work history, driving records, and any actions the person took to positively address underlying issues like the completion of drug or alcohol counseling, and attendance at AA meetings. The judge duly considers that and makes a ruling.
Unless an individual waives their right to appeal, they can always appeal the finding of the general district court. The general district court is a court not of record and any finding on a general district court is subject to appeal to the circuit court. The case is new again and the judgment is wiped out.
For example, if an individual’s case goes to trial in the Fredericksburg General District Court, and they are found guilty; they could receive a jail sentence of 90 days with 80 days suspended. Rather than immediately going to jail and having to serve that 90-day sentence or paying the fines and court costs, the person can appeal by filing a notice of appeal in the clerk’s office and the lower court’s judgment is wiped out.
Because DUIs are so aggressively prosecuted, Fredericksburg DUI case appeals are one way of attempting to mitigate potential penalties that a driver might face. Having a tenacious attorney on your team ensures that you have someone fighting for you.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law