Colonial Heights Felony DUI Lawyer

The most common way that a DUI charge is going to be elevated to a felony offense as opposed to a misdemeanor is going to be the number of DUIs that a person is convicted of and the amount of time in which they are convicted of them. Generally speaking, a DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500. However, there are such things in Virginia as compound felonies.

The Virginia Assembly has decided there are certain crimes that, if committed multiple times, then the only element of the offense needed to raise the entire offense from a misdemeanor to a felony is the amount of time in which an individual is charged or convicted of them.

If someone is convicted of multiple petty larcenies, after a while, they become felony offenses rather than a misdemeanor. It can be critical for that person to speak with a Colonial Heights felony DUI lawyer about how to handle the charges against them. Contacting a knowledgeable driving under the influence attorney could be beneficial to the accused’s potential defense argument.

Understanding the Severity of Felony DUI Offenses

At a very technical level, there are more things that the Commonwealth would have to prove in order to get a guilty verdict for a felony DUI. For the defense, it can be more difficult just because it will involve more elements to the Commonwealth’s case.

As a Colonial Heights felony DUI lawyer knows, having more elements in one’s case could also mean that the Commonwealth has to do more work to prove their case. Therefore, this could increase the chances that they could make a mistake on one of the elements. Though it does not mean a mistake will be made, more elements means more opportunities for the ball to be dropped.

This means that sometimes felony DUI cases can be easier, but they can also be just as difficult, and the stakes are higher. A felony DUI is a Class 6 felony, which carries up to five years in jail where a misdemeanor DUI carries a maximum penalty of 12 months.

Penalties Associated with an Aggravated Under the Influence Charge

A felony DUI offense is a Class 6 felony in Colonial Heights, Virginia. It carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500. There can be mandatory fines associated with a DUI depending on if the charge falls within five or within ten years of a previous charge, normally consisting of around a $1,000 mandatory fine. Within five years, the mandatory jail time is going to be six months. If it is a third DUI within ten years, then the mandatory jail time is 90 days in jail. Both involve a total loss of license. It is an indefinite suspension of the license, so the person is not going to get their license back anytime soon, and that the state can commandeer their vehicle.

Typical First Steps to Preparing a Felony DUI Defense in Colonial Heights

The steps an attorney takes in preparing for a felony DUI defense are going to be similar to that of a misdemeanor DUI. At the end of the day, the elements of the actual crime itself are going to be the same, with the only difference being the number of times that someone has been convicted of a DUI.

Colonial Heights felony DUI lawyers typically gather as much information as they can before speaking with the accused to determine what they can and cannot remember from the actual offense itself. The next step is to pull the court file. The file may have vital information that the attorney may not get from the individual. They may want to get a copy of any warrant that has been issued in the case as well.

However, DUI is normally a misdemeanor and a lot of officers will not realize that the individual has a criminal history and that the case can be charged as a felony. This may lead them to fill out more paperwork than necessary, and attorneys can make use of all of that information.