Manassas Felony DUI Cases
In Virginia, any DUI that is a third or subsequent offense can be a felony. As a result, it is important you consult with an experienced legal representative as soon as possible to begin discussing your case and planning your defense. Below, a Manassas DUI lawyer discuss what you need to know if facing this type of case and how an attorney can assist you.
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Process of a Felony DUI Case
In all felony cases, the case begins with what’s called a preliminary hearing, which takes place in general district court. For a first and second offense DUI, those cases will be tried in general district court. However, a general district court does not have the final authority in determining guilt or innocence in a felony case. The only thing that the general district court can do in a felony case is to determine whether or not probable cause exists for the case to move forward. If the general district court determines that probable cause does exist, the case moves to circuit court where a person will be indicted and possibly tried before a jury.
How Felony DUI Cases Are Enforced in Manassas
In Manassas and in the rest of Virginia, DUI’s and especially felony DUI’s are treated very seriously and prosecuted fiercely. In felony cases specifically, someone is being accused of either repeatedly breaking the law or making a very bad mistake which prosecutors and judges will look harshly upon. As a result, if you are charged with a felony DUI you should expect your case to be taken as seriously as possible.
Importance of Experienced Legal Representation
Having more experienced counsel in felony cases certainly matters, because felonies result in much higher penalties. Therefore, you want to be absolutely sure that the government can prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt before they convict you. Having an experienced attorney who is well versed in all possible DUI offenses makes it more difficult for the government to prove their case.
Felonies aren’t necessarily harder for the defense in the sense that the facts are the same whether it’s a felony or a misdemeanor DUI. However, the felony procedures are more complicated and having an experienced lawyer who’s familiar with those procedures can make all the difference.
Our Approach to Felony DUI Cases
My approach to felony DUI cases from the outset is not very different from my approach in all DUI cases because the issues remain the same. The only thing that makes it a felony is that it is a third or subsequent offense, so of course the additional layer is we look at the predicate offenses and make certain those predicate offenses are legitimate offenses that can be used to enhance the charge to a felony. Other than that, the preparation for a DUI case is fairly similar.