Loudoun Third DUI Lawyer
Local experience matters in any DUI case. For a third offense, certainly it’s especially helpful. In looking for counsel for a potential third-offense DUI case, it’s important to ask whether or not that Loudoun third DUI lawyer has been there before. Third-offense DUI cases are somewhat rare, so every attorney may not have handled them often. You also want to know whether or not that attorney is comfortable going through a bench trial or jury trial.
Experience is one of the most important things to keep in mind when you are deciding which Loudoun County DUI lawyer to hire for your case.
As a Loudoun Third DUI Lawyer How Do You Build a Defense For Third-Offense DUI Charges?
Building a defense for a third-offense DUI means looking at the same elements that I look for any DUI case, as well as the consequences from the first two convictions. This is especially true if the convictions were outside the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Where Are Third-Offense DUI Charges Heard in Loudoun County?
For third offenses, the case may be heard in several different places. Initially, most third offenses are heard in the Loudoun County General District Court. However, third-offense DUIs in Virginia are felony offenses. A general district court cannot find someone guilty or not guilty of a felony offense. The third-offense DUI often originates in general district court for what is known as a “preliminary hearing.” A preliminary hearing determines whether there is probable cause the named offense has been committed and whether there is probable cause that the person named is the correct party. If the case is certified after a preliminary hearing, the matter goes to Loudoun County Circuit Court for further adjudication. A third-offense DUI can only be adjudicated guilty or not guilty by a circuit court. This means that the person accused of the third offense, if the case is certified by the general district court, likely has the option of a bench trial, jury trial, or entering a plea in the circuit court.
How Do Prosecutors Handle Third-Offense DUI Charges?
Yes. Third offenses are prosecuted very vigorously. The person has had multiple opportunities to rectify their behavior and has failed to do so. In addition, they are viewed as someone who is very dangerous to the public in general.
What Are The Penalties For a 3rd Offense DUI?
Like second offenses, the penalties for third offenses are elevated from the first offenses and they’re also more serious depending on how soon in time they occur to previous offenses. For a person convicted of three offenses of DUI within a ten-year period, that conviction shall be a class 6 felony. A class 6 felony is punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison or the court’s discretion up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine. For a third-offense DUI, there are certain mandatory minimum periods. Third offenses occurring within ten years have a mandatory minimum period of incarceration for 90 days. In addition, there is a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. If all three offenses occurred within a five-year period, then the mandatory minimum period of incarceration increases from 90 days to six months. The minimum fine remains the same amount of $1,000. For license suspension purposes, if you’re convicted of a third-offense DUI, your license will be suspended indefinitely.
How Do Courts Treat Third-Offense DUI Charges?
The courts treat third-offense DUI charges very seriously. Many times, judges and prosecutors look at the mandatory minimum penalties as the very lowest penalties they’re going to ask for—not the highest. This is very serious. A third-offense charge could result in much more jail time than the mandatory minimum period.
What Happens To Your Driver’s License After A Third-Offense Loudoun County DUI Charge?
If you are convicted of a third-offense DUI, your driver’s license is suspended indefinitely. Indefinite suspension means that you have to petition the circuit court to reinstate your license once you’re eligible according to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).