Virginia Beach Felony DUI Lawyer

If you are charged with your third DUI offense within 10 years or less, or are involved in a serious incident due to allegedly driving under the influence your charge may rise to the level of a felony and warrant contact with a Virginia Beach felony DUI lawyer.

The process for these types of felony DUI offenses is different from that of misdemeanors, as felonies begin in general district court with a preliminary hearing, which is a hearing that happens before a trial is scheduled. During the preliminary hearing, the Commonwealth has to show that there’s enough probable cause for there to be a trial at all. If the judge determines that the Commonwealth has met this burden, which is a pretty low standard, then the felony becomes certified to the grand jury and the matter will be heard at a trial in the circuit court. At this point, it is imperative the accused consult with a DUI lawyer in Virginia Beach to discuss their case and how to proceed.

First Steps to Take in a Felony DUI Case

Due to the fact that this is still a DUI charge, a Virginia Beach felony DUI lawyer will handle building a defense in a similar fashion to the way a misdemeanor case would be handled. This means analyzing the original stop and how and why it took place and whether any rights were violated. This also involves encouraging the defendant to take some type of counseling or treatment education program as soon as possible to show the court they are taking the charge seriously and potentially even helping them if they actually do have a problem with alcohol.

Beyond these things, the difference between a third offense is that the first two convictions become relevant again because if there’s any reason to have one of those two convictions removed as an invalid conviction, then the felony is no longer a third offense and it drops down to a misdemeanor, which is a lot more manageable. For this reason a felony DUI lawyer in Virginia Beach will examine the first two offenses to make sure that the procedure was followed as it is supposed to be and to see whether the defendant had a defense attorney or waived their right and anything else that could have an effect on whether the conviction was valid or not

Benefit of Experienced Counsel For a Felony DUI Case

Having an experienced VA Beach felony DUI attorney matters in a felony case for DUI because of the extremely harsh potential consequences that come with a felony conviction. These consequences can include mandatory minimum jail sentence of 90 days if the offense is within ten years and a mandatory minimum jail sentence of six months if the offense is within five years, plus a mandatory minimum fine of $1000. Not only are those the immediate consequences but there are also huge consequences in the future just by the nature of a having a felony conviction at all. It affects your ability to vote and the right to own a firearm and it could also be very detrimental to a bunch of professions that will no longer be an option for the defendant because they won’t hire somebody who is a convicted felon.

It’s important to have an attorney because these are super high stakes and it’s a hard case to beat. There’s a lot less room for negotiation than there would be in the first or second offense DUI. The Commonwealth isn’t going to be as understanding of someone with a felony DUI because either the situation was pretty bad or it’s the third time that someone had been to court for the same exact thing. For this reason it is imperative you consult with a felony DUI attorney in Virginia Beach as soon as you are charged.