Virginia Felony DUI Lawyer
Driving while intoxicated is taken seriously in Virginia, but the stakes are much higher for individuals who have a record of previous offenses, or, for those who have harmed someone while driving intoxicated. A felony conviction often results in exorbitant fines, the potential for incarceration, and the loss of housing and employment opportunities.
If you have been charged with a felony DUI, get in touch with an experienced DUI attorney who will be well-equipped to defend your case. A Virginia felony DUI lawyer can work tirelessly in pursuit of a positive outcome for you.
Defending Felony DUI Charges
The first steps in preparing a felony DUI are similar to the steps that a Virginia felony DUI lawyer would take for a misdemeanor DUI. They would get discovery from the government, investigate the facts of the case from both sides, and get forensic information from the government regarding whatever testing processes the government put in place to determine the client’s blood-alcohol content. All of those things are done for every DUI, the thing that sets a felony DUI apart is that they also need to investigate the propriety of the previous convictions.
There are some circumstances under which a previous conviction might not be applicable as a predicate offense to a felony DUI. One common example is if a person has a prior conviction from another state. The rules of applying previous convictions from another jurisdiction are complicated and if the foreign jurisdiction’s laws are substantially different or, as the law of Virginia says, “not substantially similar” then attorneys could challenge the applicability of that out-of-state conviction or foreign conviction as a predicate for the DUI that leads to the charge being listed as a felony.
How Are Felony DUI Charges More Difficult to Defend?
Felony DUIs are more difficult to defend because often the stakes are significantly higher. Every felony DUI conviction requires mandatory minimum jail stays as well as a felony record that will inhibit the person substantially for the rest of their lives. There is a more at stake and for those reasons, attorneys are eager to try to find holes in the government’s case and doing that will enable them to best defend someone and minimize the damage that might be done upon conviction.
Penalties Associated With a DUI
If a person is convicted of a felony DUI, they will be facing a mandatory minimum jail time. The mandatory minimum jail time will be 90 days if there are three offenses committed within a 10-year period. If the three offenses were committed within a combined 5-year period, the sentence will include a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 months and then in addition to all of that, the person shall be fined a mandatory minimum of $1,000.
Beyond the jail time, if a person has been convicted of a felony DUI, essentially their license is suspended indefinitely and they might be able to apply down the line to have it restricted and ultimately they might be able to get back but for all intents and purposes that person is not driving for a long time.
Merit of an Attorney
A major advantage of working with a Virginia felony DUI lawyer is that they will have experience defending DUI cases in this jurisdiction. Every jurisdiction has its own way of doing things. Every jurisdiction has judges who view things differently, and prosecutors who handle cases differently. Local rules vary in terms of how motions are filed and how cases are settled in the docket, so having an attorney who is familiar with the jurisdiction in which a person is charged is beneficial. If you have been charged with a felony DUI, contact a lawyer today.