Hampton Roads Felony DUI Lawyer

In Virginia, a DUI is a misdemeanor unless it is your third DUI within a ten year period. If, for example, someone is injured in the accident and a certain amount of property damage occurs, that could trigger separate felonies. Felony DUI convictions come with serious penalties. If you have been charged with a felony DUI offense it is imperative that you consult an experienced DUI attorney. A Hampton Roads felony DUI lawyer could devote the time and resources necessary to build a solid defense for you.

Differences in Misdemeanor and Felony DUI Case Processes

Misdemeanor DUIs will be heard and resolved entirely in the general district court. If appealed, they will go to circuit court but otherwise, they are going to be heard in district court. Felonies will start in the district court. The first hearing is a preliminary hearing. There will not be a finding of guilt at the preliminary hearing. It has to go up to the next court, in circuit court, and that is where guilt or innocence is determined. There is an extra court appearance that is involved.

Steps in Preparing a DUI Defense

A Hampton Roads felony DUI lawyer could review the evidence when preparing a defense for a felony DUI charge. They will go over everything with their client(s) and try to see what the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case are. An individual wants to try to highlight any weaknesses and establish that the search of the government is unable to prove all of the necessary elements of driving while intoxicated. Perhaps the police officer did not have probable cause to pull the person over, there was no reason to suspect the person was intoxicated, the field sobriety tests were insufficient to provide probable cause or there was something done incorrectly that makes the breath test or the blood test inadmissible.

Penalties for Felony DUI Offenses

Felony DUI charges are more serious because there is mandatory jail time that does not exist for a first-offense DUI. It is not necessarily more difficult to defend. It is the same procedure as it is for a first-offense DUI. However, the mandatory jail time makes it more serious.

If someone is found guilty of a felony DUI, there is mandatory jail time. If the previous DUIs occurred within ten years, there is a required penalty of 90 days in jail. If the DUIs occurred within five years, the penalty is six months in jail with a maximum of five years in prison. The license is also revoked indefinitely and the driver would have to petition to have their license restored. A Hampton Roads felony DUI lawyer could attempt to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.

Value of a Hampton Roads Felony DUI Attorney

Hiring a Hampton Roads felony DUI lawyer is important in a DUI offense because they will have knowledge of the prosecution, of the judge, and of the police officers. They should have an understanding of how things operate in that area. Often on these types of cases, relationships can be key so if an individual hires an attorney who is from the area, they will be in a better position to work for and received a positive outcome.