Colonial Heights DUI Trial Process

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you may be overwhelmed and unsure of your legal options or how a case will proceed. However, it is critical to understand the Colonial Heights DUI trial process in order to best decide how to proceed.

By working with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, you could have assistance with each step. This includes a pretrial, all the way to building a defense or, if circumstances permit, appealing a case.

What Should a Person Do When First Arriving at a Courthouse for a DUI Trial?

The first thing things a person should do when they arrive at the courthouse on the date of their trial is to find their lawyer. When they find them, they can talk about the case, about what is going to be happening at the trial, and go over everything again just to make sure that everybody is ready.

It is critical to not be late. A lot of lawyers say that going to court is a “hurry-up-and-wait” situation. This means that a person must get there on time and then simply wait, because it is never guaranteed when their case will be called.

The Types of Evidence Presented by the Government

The Commonwealth’s attorney always presents the government’s case against the accused driver. The duty rests on the Commonwealth to present evidence that proves that the individual was driving and, at the time of their driving, they were under the influence. This could be marijuana, alcohol, prescription drugs, or non-prescription drugs, or a combination thereof, or non-prescription drugs.

One of the primary types of evidence usually presented in DUI cases is witnesses. These witnesses will be asked to testify, which might help to prove each of these elements. Furthermore, if it is an expert case, a witness is required. This person will have to testify to the way that these intoxicants affect motor skills, how they are present in their blood, and what level they start to affect motor skills. While the government presents its case, the defense listens, takes notes, and rebuts the government’s case based on their theory of the case.

What Kind of Evidence Can the Defense Present Against a DUI Charge?

The kind of evidence the defense presents in DUI cases depends on what the theory of the case is. This means that the defense counsel has to determine what their theory is and stick with it. If their theory is that their client was not driving, for example, the evidence they are going to present is the evidence that their client was not driving. The same holds true if the theory is based on the fact that their client was not, in fact, drinking.

Closing statements are a defense counsel’s last opportunity to get their point across to the judge or the jury. Generally, closing statements take about two to three hours to write and develop. These statements include the facts and the theory of the case, but they are also the last opportunity to humanize the client to the jury.

How Long Does the Entire Trial Process Take in Colonial Heights?

In Colonial Heights, DUI trials typically take anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours. Usually, this depends on the type of case:

  • Highly-contested trial in general district court: an hour, to an hour and a half
  • A softly-contested bench trial in the circuit court: two hours
  • A highly-contested DUI bench trial on the circuit court: two and a half, to three hours
  • A jury trial on a DUI in the circuit court: eight hours

These differences in time between district court and circuit court are because of a few things. Namely, it is because circuit court is a court of record, while district court is not. This means things are not taken quite as seriously at district court, and they are generally more fluid as a result.

This means that things that one would normally fight about in the circuit court, they might not have to argue about at all in the district court. In district court, there is an automatic right to appeal and take it out of district court. If this happens, circuit court is the last chance for a defendant.

Call an Attorney for Assistance with Each Step of the DUI Trial Process in Colonial Heights

Understanding and navigating the nuances of the DUI trial process in Colonial Heights could be overwhelming. No matter the circumstances of a case, no one should have to go through this process alone.

If you were charged with driving under the influence, you might benefit from retaining a hardworking and dedicated attorney for assistance. A tenacious lawyer could explain your rights, discuss your options, and rigorously defend your freedom through each step of the process. To learn more, call us today.