The Basics of Facing a DUI In Prince William County
Penalties for first time DUI offenders are that you lose your license for 12 months. You will be eligible to get it reinstated on a restricted basis so that a person can go to and from work, school, or whatever else is necessary in your case and is permitted by statute.
Generally, there is suspended jail time. If the BAC is .14 or less, they will not usually serve active jail time but rather it will all be suspended. They will have to go to ASAP, which is Virginia’s Alcohol Safety Action Program for evaluation and possible treatment. If they are going to drive on a restricted basis, they are going to be required to have an ignition interlock placed on their car for at least 6 of the 12 months that their license is suspended. As to whether there are divergence programs or probation for First Offenders, the answer is simple no. That just doesn’t happen in Prince William County.
All cases of this nature are going to be heard the Prince William County Courthouse, including any related license suspension hearings.
Length of a DUI Case
Once you get your court date, your court date is probably going to be anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks from the time that you are arrested. Whether or not it goes forward on that court date depends on a number of factors including the availability of Commonwealth witnesses and whether test results are back from the lab in blood cases. In some instances, that first court hearing is treated more like an opportunity for the person to try to work out some kind of a deal.
In many cases, the government is ready to go to trial on that first court date. So barring the continuance on the part of the defense you should expect the whole thing should be wrapped up within 2 months.
The judges in Prince William County go by the book with regards to sentences. Most are required by statute so they have no choice to comply with those. There is really not a lot of judicial flexibility with regards to sentencing on DUI cases. There are many different types of DUI cases that have mandatory minimum sentences that are required. In most cases in Prince William County if one of those mandatory minimums is triggered the judge will stick to the minimum but certainly they are not bound to the minimum and if there are aggravating factors such as an accident involved or someone is injured then clearly the judge has leave to go above what is considered mandatory minimum sentence.
Finding an Experienced Attorney
It is important to find an experienced attorney because a lot of these cases deal with fact patterns that might be unique and you need somebody who has some credibility in that courthouse. Specifically, you need somebody who knows the judges and prosecutors well enough to go in and say, “Hey, listen this case is unique and here is why and here is the thing that sets it apart.” You need somebody that has the credibility to pull that off. You are only going to get that with experience having your name out there.