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Pre-Trial Release in Virginia DUI Cases

If an individual is arrested and charged with a DUI offense in Virginia, there are a variety of different steps that the pre-trial release and bond process may hold for the case.

First, if an individual is charged with a first offense or certain subsequent offenses, that person may be given bond shortly after the offense by the magistrate. Typically this happens when a person’s blood alcohol content reaches 0.00 as registered on a portable breath test machine (PBT). When a person reaches 0.00 on a PBT, or in some cases very close thereto, that person will be taken before the magistrate and the facts of the case will be presented by the arresting officer or another member of law enforcement. The magistrate will then make a bond determination.

Determining Bond

Quite often for first offenses, this initial bond determination is that a person should be given a personal recognizance or unsecured bond, which means the person’s signature with a promise to appear in court is sufficient to allow for his or her release.

In other cases, depending on the nature and facts of the case, a person may be required to submit to a secured bond. Secured bond means that a person has to put forward cash to ensure his or her presence in court or a person must give a corporate surety—in other words, paying a bail bondsman a percentage of the bond that is set by the magistrate. Then, that person will be granted release with a promise to appear on the court date.

Subsequent Offenses

For certain subsequent offenses or other types of serious DUI offenses, the magistrate may make an initial determination of no bond or set a bond amount that is very high. In these circumstances, it may be necessary to contact an attorney as soon as possible to arrange for a bond hearing in the local general district court. Either the bond hearing is for an initial bond determination or for recalculation of a reasonable bond.

Pre-Trial Conditions

In many DUI cases, there are pre-trial conditions placed upon a person after release. This may include reporting to pre-trial services or reporting to other local agencies for drug and alcohol testing. In Loudoun County, it is done through the Community Correction and Probation Program, also known as CCP. CCP is located on South Loudoun Street in the town of Leesburg and it provides pre-trial services as well as probationary services.

Pre-trial officers monitor their clients to make sure that they comply with the terms and conditions of their pre-trial release. This may include gaining employment, remaining alcohol free, or complying with other special conditions such as living in a certain place or refraining from contacting certain people.

Implications of Not Complying With Pre Trial Release?

If an individual is placed on bond to adhere to certain pre-trial conditions and fails to do so, that person should expect that the Commonwealth will make a motion to revoke the bond. If a person’s bond is revoked for violation of pre-trial conditions, that person will be held in the local detention center until the case is resolved by trial or agreement. Pre-trial and pre-trial bond and pre-trial bond conditions are very important.

Basically, if one fails to obey the pre-trial conditions, that person will be ordered back to the court. Typically, the motion to revoke a bond is known as “show clause.” Depending on the circumstances of the case and circumstances of the alleged pre-trial violations, a person may have certain defenses.

For example, if the pre-trial conditions are unclear or they are interpreted in different ways, there may be some defenses in that regard. However, if the pre-trial conditions are to refrain from the use of drugs or alcohol and a person shows up to the pre-trial meeting with alcohol on the breath or drugs in the system, that person can expect that the bond will be revoked.

Help of an Attorney

If a person’s bond is denied in the general district court level, the lawyer can assist in appealing the case to the circuit court for additional bond determination. For a bond determination at either court level, an attorney will assist in presenting evidence, gathering witnesses, and making arguments as to why the Virginia bond statute should be applied favorably in an accused’s case.

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