DUI Victim Impact Panels in Virginia
After a DUI conviction, a judge may order the person to attend a Victim Impact Panel in Virginia. These show the “other side” of driving while under the influence, meaning the ways everyone else around the person charged with the DUI is affected by it. Below, a Virginia DUI attorney gives some information on what occurs in a Victim Impact Panel, how long it takes, and general times and locations they are held at.
What is a Victim Impact Panel?
The Victim Impact Panel is a unique program that is done in certain jurisdictions in Virginia to show persons the other side of DUI offenses. If convicted of a DUI offense in Virginia, people need to complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program to learn very closely how DUI affects them.
The Victim Impact Panel program is all about showing how a DUI and DUI conduct affects everyone else around the individual—this includes victims of accidents, law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors, and medical personnel. The most common localities for Victim Impact Panels in Virginia are Loudoun County, Fauquier County, and Rappahannock County.
Typically, Victim Impact Panels are on weekday evenings. They are not a lengthy program and typically only run for two to three hours. They meet at public locations such as libraries, town halls, or local community halls.
In Loudoun County
In Loudoun County, for example, completion of a Victim Impact Panel in 90 days from the date of conviction is a requirement for every DUI case—even for a second or third offense. The Victim Impact Panel typically meets once a month. It is coordinated by the local Community Corrections Program (CCP) and costs a nominal fee. It is a very important program and it is very important that someone attends it with an open mind, pays attention, and really takes the message to heart.
Common Presenters at these Events
Victim Impact Panel presenters are often persons who have been injured—potentially seriously in DUI accident cases. This can include people paralyzed in relation to a Virginia DUI charge, family members who have lost a loved one through DUI-related accidents, and law enforcement officers, including sheriffs and deputies that work on DUI accidents or DUI fatality cases. Attendees will see the parties that have suffered by a DUI driver, as well as judges and prosecutors who have had to sentence people to serious time and sentences for repeated DUI conduct.
In addition, Victim Impact Panels may include DUI drivers who themselves have been injured because of their own DUI behavior. They may have caused injuries to passengers or loved ones due to their DUI behavior. It is not a lengthy program, but it is a very important one.
Organization of a Victim Impact Panel
Typically, the Victim Impact Panels are organized by local non-governmental agencies or MADD agencies with the support of the local probation office. For example, the Victim Impact Panel sign-up in Loudoun County is coordinated by the local Community Corrections Program office, also known as CCP. The program itself is coordinated and put on by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD. MADD is a national organization that organizes Victim Impact Panels all across the country.