Prince William County DUI Cases
Prince William County DUI cases are always heard in the local court house located out at 9311 Lee Avenue. The vast majority of DUI cases are bench trials because they are usually considered misdemeanors as opposed to felonies. Misdemeanor DUI cases must always be heard in a general district court and without a jury.
Local law enforcement prosecutes Prince William County DUI cases very vigorously. Driving while impaired is considered by prosecutors to be among the most dangerous types of conduct that a person can engage in. For this reason, it is advisable to enlist the services of a local DUI attorney as soon as possible.
Typical Trial Length
The length of a DUI trial depends on individual circumstances such as what kind of case it is, available evidence, and the challenges legal counsel can make. For instance, Prince William County DUI cases could take as little as an hour or six to seven hours. Although, DUI trials are almost always lengthy.
DUI prosecutors must prove that the plaintiff was operating their motor vehicle while under the influence alcohol or drugs. They must also establish that they were too inebriated to safely operate their car. There are several ways that prosecutors can reach a conviction.
For example, a chemical test which shows that a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or more could be used as admissable evidence. A breath or blood test that shows 0.08 BAC or higher is going to have a substantial impact on a Prince William County DUI case.
Law enforcement’s observations of a person’s behavior at the time of their arrest could also be cited in court. Whether a person shows any physical signs of impairment — such as bloodshot eyes — as well as their performance on field sobriety tests will be considered by the court to determine their guilt or innocence.
Sentencing for Local DUI Cases
If a person is convicted of a first-offense DUI, they could face a $250 fine, 30 days in jail, and a suspended license. They also may also be required to complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, or VASAP, and they will lose their license for a period of 12 months. However, they can get their license restricted so they can go to and from work, school, daycare, or other responsibilities in their life. These penalties are standard for most first-offense DUI cases in Prince William County. Local courts are also concerned with whether a person has any previous DUI convictions or other alcohol-related offense such as underage possession or appearing drunk in public.
Appealing a Conviction
If a person is convicted of a DUI in a general district court, they have an absolute right to appeal that decision to the circuit court of Prince William County. DUI appeals are considered trials from the beginning. This means that the circuit court would not have to investigate or cite any particular error to the proceedings. Rather, the person would get a brand new trial and maintain their presumption of innocence.
The most important thing to understand about Prince William County DUI cases is that just because a person is charged for driving while impaired does not mean they are necessarily going to be convicted. There are a lot of different things that the government has to prove in order to sustain a DUI conviction, and there are many available defenses. It is important to retain a lawyer who could identify and deliver any available defenses to give a person the best chance of avoiding a conviction.