Felony DUI Defense Lawyer In Virginia Beach
Under Virginia law, it is a felony if you are convicted of three DUI offenses within a ten year period. In addition to the penalties one would expect to be associated with a DUI charge, you now face a probable prison sentence and being on supervised probation monitored by a probation officer for several years. Also, as a convicted felon, you lose certain civil rights, such as the right to vote, serve on a jury, or possess a firearm, and you are barred from some federal benefits such as student loans. Furthermore, the prosecutor may file a motion to have your vehicle seized under the pretense that it was used in the commission of a felony.
A felony DUI case proceeds through the courts like any other felony charge. The first hearing is a preliminary hearing in General District Court. Here the court will make an initial determination as to whether there exists probable cause for the charge, and if so, certifies the matter for trial in Circuit Court.
In many cases, felony DUI charges can be negotiated down to a lesser charge at this stage. It will require the experience of an attorney who both knows the law and the prosecutors to accomplish this. Some prosecutors will offer lesser charges in exchange for some concessions by the defendant. For example one prosecutor may reduce the charge in exchange for a longer than normal jail sentence; another prosecutor may ask for forfeiture of your vehicle, or have you agree to no driving for a year or more.
In some cases, the evidence may not be sufficient to support a felony charge. In those cases, the charges may be reduced and finalized at the preliminary hearing.
If the matter is certified for trial in Circuit Court, you then have the option of having your case decided by a judge or by a jury.
The Penalties For Felony DUI Convictions
For anyone convicted of a felony DUI in Virginia, there are certain penalties that are mandatory, in other words, the judge has no discretion to waive or suspend the punishments. Without any further enhancement penalties (see below), a felony DUI carries a mandatory 90-day jail sentence, a mandatory fine of $1000, and a revocation of your driver’s license for at least two years.
In some cases, the mandatory sentences are increased for aggravating factors. If the third DUI is within five years, the mandatory jail sentence is increased to six-months. A fourth DUI offense within ten years carries a mandatory sentence of one year in prision.
What Can I Do If I’ve Been Charged With Felony DUI?
The experienced Virginia Beach DUI Attorneys at Garrett Law Group, PLC have helped many people in situations like yours. We are experts in finding deficiencies in the DUI evidence.
You must be aware that the time clock on your case started the moment you were charged. There are certain pieces of evidence to which you are entitled and motions that may be filed on your behalf provided they are filed within the statutory period! Do not delay in consulting with our DUI attorneys. We will make sure that your rights are protected and you are well represented.
Contact Garrett Law Group, PLC today. (757) 422-4646. Our Virginia Beach DUI lawyers are available to answer your questions 24/7/365.