Preparing for a Virginia DUI Trial
Preparing for a Virginia DUI trial is vital. Every case is different and a person needs to listen to what their attorney tells that person to do. Some lawyers will have them do a significant amount of mitigation before going to court. That could include attendance at AA meetings, getting an evaluation from a substance abuse counselor to determine whether or not they are in need of any treatment or education with regard to alcohol consumption or drug consumption. Sometimes individuals do community service or other things that could help because often the defense will end up negotiating the case before the prosecutor.
Whatever the person’s lawyer tells them to do, the person would be well advised to do it. They are qualified and experienced attorneys who will assess the best outcome for an individual facing a DUI trial in Virginia.
First Steps in Virginia DUI Trial
The first thing a person should do to prepare for a Virginia DUI trial is to figure out what courtroom they are in, find their lawyer, make sure that everything is set up, and listen to their lawyer’s advice. If a person’s lawyer is familiar with the courthouse, they should be able to tell the individual exactly where they are going and what to expect.
Most of the time, the government waives the opening statement in a DUI case. They figure the evidence is going to speak for itself and judges who sit in General District Court generally do not need the theatrics of an opening statement. Sometimes a defense lawyer will use an opening statement to lay out the defense that they believe exists. It is usually a good idea to give the judge a road map of where the attorney thinks the case is going so that the judge knows what to look for when hearing a government’s evidence. The government goes first because the government has the burden of proof.
The prosecuting attorney will be presiding over the case for the government. In Virginia, that is called the Commonwealth Attorney or the prosecutor. The prosecutor will call whatever witnesses they deem necessary to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Usually, it starts with the police officer who made the traffic stop and it goes from there.
Evidence by the Government
The officer will talk about the individual’s driving behavior and the reasons why they stopped the person’s vehicle. They will also talk about any field sobriety tests, any statements that the person might have made, any other observations that the officer might have made regarding that individual’s physical condition or odor of alcohol, and then finally culminate with the arrest and the testing process that determined that individual’s blood alcohol content or breath alcohol content.
The defense will pay close attention to any evidence that it intends to object to, any line of questioning that is inappropriate, any answers that might contain hearsay, and make sure that the government does not overstep the rules of evidence, constitution, and statutes of Virginia.
Evidence by Defense
Every case is different and it is hard to say exactly what kinds of evidence might be presented because what might be good evidence in one case might not be a good evidence in another case. Some examples might be if a person had some kind of medical condition that could impact the breath testing or the blood testing process, if there were any other circumstances surrounding the testing process, the arrest process, the traffic stop, or any other evidence that could debunk what the officer or any other government witness said. Talk to a professional attorney for more on preparing for a Virginia DUI trial.