Chesterfield County Felony DUI Lawyer

A DUI charge can become a Class 6 felony if it is the person’s third one in five years. These charges differ from a misdemeanor crime in several ways, which is why you should find a committed DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Your chances of a positive outcome hinge on the work of a Chesterfield County felony DUI lawyer.

Comparing a Felony and a Misdemeanor

If the charge is a misdemeanor DUI, the defendant is usually brought in on a warrant, arraigned, and then they have a trial date if they are found guilty or not guilty by the General District Court judge. If found guilty, they can accept the punishment or appeal it; and if found not guilty, their case is over. With a felony, however, they are arraigned and they come before a General District Court judge for a preliminary hearing.

A preliminary hearing is where the Commonwealth has enough evidence to show that they believe the person did commit a crime. The defendant does not testify, and their guilt is not determined that day, but the court is just seeing if there is probable cause that was a crime was committed.

The next day, they go to court for what is called term day, which is where they are given a card and told to come back for trial in Circuit Court. The trial will be before a judge with a court order, it will be on the record, and they have a right in the circuit court for a jury trial.

At the judge court level, the person does not get a jury trial but in circuit court they do. With a felony, a person comes to court more often, the penalties will be higher, and they have the option of a jury trial from the beginning.

Preparing a Felony DUI Defense

The first thing a felony DUI lawyer in Chesterfield County does is get as much information as they can about what happened at the incident. That includes learning about what prompted the stop, what happened with their interaction with the officer, the field sobriety tests, the blood alcohol level, et cetera. It is also important for the defendant to tell their lawyer if they were drinking prior to the arrest or if they took any medications.

Then, a lawyer should make a motion for discovery to the Commonwealth and ask a motion to obtain the evidence, such as blood alcohol level or copy of anybody cam footage that they may have of the incident.

Felonies are more complicated because of the number of times the defendant must go to court and the amount of time the prosecution puts into making sure the Commonwealth has proven every element of the crime. A felony DUI is punishable by five years in jail and a $2,500 fine, plus loss of license.

The Value of a Local Lawyer for Felony Charges

An experienced Chesterfield County drunk driving felony attorney knows the judges and the Commonwealth attorneys, and knows what they are willing to accept and work with. Some might be willing to be lenient, depending on the recorded BAC level or prior criminal history, while others might want to fight from the beginning. A strategy that might work with one judge might not work with another one, and that is something that only comes with a lawyer who has extensive experience.

Discuss Your Options with a Chesterfield County Felony DUI Attorney

Felony convictions can have wide ramifications for all aspects of your life. Do not risk making a mistake by trying to represent yourself in court. Learn more from a Chesterfield County felony DUI lawyer by calling today.