Below, a Loudoun County first offense DUI lawyer answers questions about what to expect when an individual gets charged with a first time DUI. First-time DUI/DWI charges in Loudoun County are typically heard at the Loudoun County General District Court, which is located in the Town of Leesburg at 18 East Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia 20176.
Even when someone is charged with a DUI for the very first time—regardless of the facts and circumstances of the DUI first offense—a prosecutor typically treats the case very seriously. They do not offer diversion programs to avoid a conviction like some of our neighboring states, nor do they readily reduce these criminal charges to lesser offenses.
The penalties for DUI (1st offense) pursuant to Virginia Code Section 18.2-66 and 18.2-270 are the same as those for any class 1 misdemeanor. This means the penalties include up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. For a first-time offense with a BAC of lower than 0.15, there is no mandatory minimum jail time. However, there is a mandatory minimum fine of $250. There will also be court costs, a 12-month statutory loss of Virginia driver’s license or driving privileges, and required probationary programs, notably the VASAP AND VIP programs.
Although probation may be included as part of a suspended jail sentence or suspended fine, there is not a deferred finding or diversion program available by statute in Loudoun County DUI cases. Unlike some of our neighbors, including the District of Columbia and Maryland, we do not have a probation before judgment policy in which someone enters a plea but is ultimately not found guilty of a DUI through an arranged program.
First-time DUI cases are viewed very seriously by the court. Depending on the facts of your case, the jury may be more sympathetic than a judge. However, this is very fact specific and jury specific.
The vast majority of first-time DUI offenses are heard by a judge in the Virginia general district court system and you do not have the right to a trial. However, if you appeal the finding of the general district court, you can take your first-offense DUI case to the Circuit Court of Loudoun County where you may request the jury trial. Typically, juries are slightly more lenient than judges when assessing first-time DUI offenses. However, this is very fact specific and jury specific.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law