Prosecutions of Loudoun County DUI
Loudoun County DUI cases are prosecuted vigorously. Perhaps more so than any other misdemeanor offense, DUI cases generate a lot of headlines and there are statistics that follow DUI arrests and DUI conviction rates. The Loudoun County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office is under enormous pressure to gain convictions for DUI offenses. Therefore, they’re prosecuting cases there vigorously; they take all DUI-related cases very seriously making it imperative that you contact a DUI lawyer in Loudoun, VA if you are charged or even suspected of driving while under the influence.
Where Are Loudoun DUI Cases Heard?
Loudoun County DUI cases are typically heard at the Loudoun County General District Court, which is part of the courthouse complex at 18 East Market Street in the Town of Leesburg, Virginia. Loudoun County DUI cases are typically bench trials; in the general district court level, all DUI trials are bench trials. However, if the DUI trial is appealed to the circuit court or if it is a third DUI sentence, there may be a jury trial.
How Long Do Loudoun DUI Cases Take?
Every case is different, and cases take as long as they take to resolve for various reasons. However, on the whole, many DUI cases are resolved within 90 days of the arrest.
What Does The Prosecutor Need To Prove?
In a Loudoun County DUI case, the prosecution needs to prove all of the elements of Virginia Code Section 18.2-266 beyond a reasonable doubt. It does not mean beyond all doubt, but it just means beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that you were the person operating the motor vehicle, that you were operating it with a blood alcohol level or drug consumption to the point that your ability to operate the motor vehicle safely was impaired, and that you knew it. The evidence that typically is presented in a DUI case to earn a conviction will include observations of the arresting officer; performance on field sobriety tests, if any; chemical tests or blood tests, if any; and video evidence, if that is available.
What To Know About Prosecutors In Loudoun DUI Cases
The main difference in Loudoun County, in comparison to neighboring jurisdictions, is that prosecutors are very unlikely to reduce or dismiss DUI cases for what is called mitigating circumstances. This means that just because you’re a successful person and never been in trouble before and have a good employment, do not expect that the court will automatically look upon your case with favor and move to reduce it or dismiss it. In Loudoun County especially, you must have a strong legal defense to earn a mitigating reduction to your case.
Sentencing In Loudoun DUI Cases
For all general district court cases, sentencing for a DUI case occurs immediately after the conclusion of the guilt phase of the case. This means that immediately after the judge determines guilt, there’ll be additional evidence presented in regards to sentencing. Sometimes the sentencing evidence is waived if the majority of the evidence is already heard during the body of the case.
Constitutional Issues In Loudoun DUI Trials
The prime constitutional issues that arise in DUI cases are Fourth Amendment issues. These are issues that involve unreasonable search and seizure, as well as issues involving the Confrontation Clause. The Confrontation Clause is typically involved when someone challenges the evidence that is created by a blood test or a breath test and offered by a sheet of paper rather than a person testifying against them. If you’re able to file a motion to suppress or exclude certain evidences that are obtained through a constitutional violation, you may reduce or even dismiss the case. Constitutional issues are constantly coming up in DUI cases. This requires constant research and investigation for DUI defense attorneys to try to find out any constitutional evidence for the success of the case.