Hampton Roads Third Offense DUI Lawyer

In Hampton Roads, third-offense DUI charges will start in district court as a preliminary hearing. Courts often treat third-offense DUI charges seriously because they are considered felonies. This means, if someone is charged with a felony DUI, the courts may view them as a endanger themselves and others on the road. Therefore, speaking with a Hampton Roads third offense DUI lawyer could be beneficial when building a defense argument against this reputation. Contact a decisive attorney with experience in driving under the influence cases.

Classification of a Third Offense DUI

Third-offense DUIs in Virginia are felonies whereas first and second are misdemeanors. They carry a more significant mandatory jail time so prosecutors treat them seriously. They pursue these charges vigorously and are less inclined to work out dispositions that involve reductions to misdemeanors or lessening of the mandatory jail time.

If somebody received prior DUIs within ten years, then there is a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail. If the previous DUIs occurred within five years, then there is the mandatory minimum of six months in jail.

The length of time between the charges is something that the prosecution will take this into account in any plea offer or recommendation to the judge, and the judge is going to take this information into account when determining a sentence. If an individual receives numerous DUIs in a short period of time, they are more likely to give that individual a number higher than the mandatory minimum.

Understanding the Defense’s Relationship with the Prosecution

As a Hampton Roads third offense DUI lawyer knows, building a defense for multiple DUI charges is similar as building an offense for any other DUI defense. The difference is the Commonwealth must establish this for the prior DUIs so the documentation should show the prior convictions and if these convictions were in Virginia or if they were in a state with a statute that is substantially similar to Virginia in order for the conviction to be valid. They then have to review the evidence and see if the Commonwealth can prove all of the necessary elements and see if there are any issues with the dash camera footage or the photographs, to determine if that bolsters or discredits what the police officer says happened.

What Evidence is Often Applicable to One’s Defense?

The judge will look at a person’s driving behavior, when considering factors of a DUI and if their behavior suggests intoxication. The judge will look at the officer’s observations of the individual during the officer’s initial interaction, as well as the observations of field sobriety tests that may have been done. If there is any video footage of the individual performing the field sobriety test, the judge will consider that and will also look at the chemical analysis of the individual’s breath or their blood to try and make a determination, if that is available.

Expected Approach to Defending Third Offense Driving Under the Influence

When defending a third-offense DUI, as opposed to a first-time office DUI, the stakes are raised because there is a mandatory jail time of at least 90 days and the penalties are harsher. If the stakes are raised, the judge is less likely to be lenient in the sentence. A Hampton Roads third offense DUI lawyer will likely consider this when advising the accused on whether to take a plea deal or proceed to trial because the risks of a lengthy sentence are much higher in these circumstances.