Prince William County First-Offense DUI Lawyer
Being accused of driving under the influence can be a complicated process that ultimately damages your reputation. If this is the first time you have been charged with DUI, you should contact a qualified attorney. A Prince William County first-offense DUI lawyer could educate you on what to expect from the legal process that follows these charges and help you advocate for your rights in court. Call today to start gathering evidence and organizing the facts of your case.
Prince William County Prosecutors
The handling of a DUI first-time charge depends on the nature of the charge itself, because every case has certain facts and circumstances that sets it apart from others. DUIs may seem simple at first glance, but there are a lot of different layers to them. The potential defenses that are available in any given case will significantly influence the way a prosecutor views it. For example, a prosecutor who thinks they can prove it very easily will likely prosecute it to the fullest extent of the law.
However, some cases have constitutional issues, discrepancies in BAC or field sobriety testing, or other issues that create litigation risk. In these cases, prosecutors may be willing to negotiate with a Prince William County first-offense DUI attorney for a lesser charge. In other words, the way that prosecutors treat a DUI case will change depending on the facts of each particular case.
First-time DUI charges in Prince William County are heard at the Prince William County Courthouse, which is on Lee Avenue in downtown Manassas. If it is a first offense DUI, then the trial will take place in the general district court on this second floor of that building.
Judges must look at cases objectively and determine whether or not there is guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. Whether a plaintiff has never been in trouble before or has a perfect driving record makes no difference to a judge in Prince William County DUI cases. The court’s only concern is whether the accused is guilty or innocent.
Judges and juries are not lenient for DUI charges, and courts cannot simply let people go because it is a first offense. Local courts seek to promote the legitimacy of these laws, so they rarely make exceptions for even first-offense DUIs in Prince William County.
Penalties for a First-Offense DUI in Prince William County
A person who has no prior DUI convictions would get a standard disposition that is laid out in the statute. They would lose their license for a period of 12 months, but they may be eligible to get their license restricted so they can go to and from work or school and handle other life matters. Restricted driving privileges do not include social driving. Additionally, they would have to enroll in and complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program.
Under most circumstances, they would be given a jail sentence that may be suspended in its entirety. This means that they may not have active jail time to serve but rather time that will be hanging over their head to ensure that they complete all of the tasks that the court has given them to do. A convicted driver could also receive a fine for driving under the influence. Fortunately, a skilled attorney in Prince William County who is familiar with first-offense DUI cases could educate a plaintiff about their potential penalties.
The law states that a person charged with a DUI who blows higher than a 0.08 BAC or refuses a test authorized under Virginia Code must have their license administratively suspended. A person charged with a DUI in Prince William County will likely have their license taken away for an initial period of seven days.
A person whose license is administratively suspended for a seven-day period may file a motion in court to challenge whether the officer had probable cause to place them under arrest. If they can orchestrate a full hearing within that seven-day time-frame and they can convince the court that probable cause did not exist, then the court may return their license and overturn the administrative suspension. However, this is difficult to accomplish due to the seven-day time-frame, so claimants should consult with a Prince William County first-offense DUI attorney for help.
Further, if a person receives an administrative suspension from the courts, that suspension is not available for restriction under any circumstances. For those seven days, they cannot drive anywhere in Virginia.
Building a Defense for a Prince William County First-Offense DUI
DUIs are fairly simple and involve answering questions about whether the person was driving and whether they were impaired. However, there are a lot of different layers to a DUI, and there are multiple categories of defenses that attorneys can look into to determine whether they can mount an aggressive and successful defense for the accused. Those three categories are constitutional defenses, statutory defenses, and scientific defenses. For example, lawyers may investigate whether there were any Fourth, Fifth, or Sixth Amendment violations or discrepancies in the traffic stop, the arrest, or anything that occurred after the arrest. In terms of the statutes, there is an entire chapter of Virginia code dedicated to DUI and the process that goes along with it.
Additionally, there are entries in the Virginia Administrative Code and the Virginia Code of Regulations that govern the practices and processes of a Prince William County DUI investigation and arrest. Lawyers may closely examine the events of the night that the person was arrested to determine whether each of those statutes or regulations was properly followed.
Scientific defenses are almost always available because the vast majority of DUI cases involve a chemical test of the blood alcohol concentration of the person who has been charged. Attorneys would look at that test, the methodology, and the machinery in order to identify any flaws that may have occurred during the testing process. It is very rare that a test, whether it be a blood test or breath test, runs absolutely perfectly, so it can be beneficial to enlist the help of a first-offense DUI lawyer in Prince William County who has experience with blood test analyses.
Contact a Prince William County First-Offense DUI Lawyer Sooner Rather Than Later
The most common mistake that first-time DUI defendants make is waiting a long time to retain an attorney. Certain evidence could be more difficult to obtain as time goes on, so the sooner they get legal representation, the better their chances are that an investigation will yield something useful for their case. Anyone charged with a first offense DUI should get an experienced attorney working on their case as soon as they possibly can. Call a Prince William County first-offense DUI lawyer today to start examining the details of your case.