A third-offense DUI is a severe charge, which requires a carefully constructed defense that can defeat the prosecution’s case. Since it is a third offense, a judge or jury may not be as amenable to your case as they had been in the past. If you are facing your third DUI charge, you should seek the services of a dedicated third-offense DUI lawyer as soon as possible. A seasoned attorney could help you with building a Leesburg third-offense DUI defense.
Leesburg DUI lawyers build a defense for third-offense DUI charges the same as a first or second charge. An attorney will determine if the underlying cause is substantial and determining if the case is legally compliant. However, there is the additional concern of the prior offenses being constitutionally sound, as well as if the case has an aggravating circumstance at trial in addition to being a repeat offense.
The evidence that is looked at in a third-offense DUI case is statements of the officer, statements of the accused, third-party statements, any audio or video that is available, as well as the standards of conduct expected.
For example, an attorney is going to look at the performance during a field sobriety test versus what the standardized guidelines say they should be. They will also hear the observations made by the officer in addition to other factors regarding the case-at-large including whether or not the prior convictions are constitutionally sound. After reviewing the evidence and understanding the facts of the case, an attorney could start building a Leesburg third-offense DUI defense.
In many instances, defending a third-offense DUI is similar to a first-time DUI. However, there are two main ways they differ. First, the stakes are higher, meaning the punishment for a conviction for a third offense is exponentially worse than a first offense. Second, a third-offense DUI is a felony. General district courts in Virginia may not try someone for felony offenses. They may only certify if there is probable cause that a felony has been committed.
If someone goes to trial on a third-offense DUI, they are likely going to trial in the local circuit court. That means that the trial could be a bench trial with a judge or a jury trial. Jury trials are very different than bench trials in terms of preparation, argument, and presentation of evidence. While a first-offense DUI could be tried in district court before a judge and may take an hour or so to put on evidence and try the case, a jury trial for a DUI could take a day or more and involve multiple witnesses, experts, jury selection, and motions.
A person facing third-offense DUI charges in Leesburg should look for a lawyer with local experience as DUI third offenses are serious cases. They bring about the possibility of jail or prison time, an indefinite loss of license, and other long-term consequences.
Knowing what the Commonwealth’s strategies are for these cases, how certain judges view factual issues, how judges sentence individuals, and other factors make a local counsel an invaluable resource to someone charged with a third-offense DUI in Leesburg. Contact a local attorney today to begin building a Leesburg third-offense DUI defense.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law