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What To Expect In Your Third DUI Offense (Part B)

What does a Class 6 Felony mean?

First- and second-offense DUIs are class 1 misdemeanors, meaning they can be tried in the General District Court. Third-offense DUI convictions are considered a class 6 felony - the lowest felony charge. Many of the lower felony cases such as yours will begin with arraignment in the General District Court, which is where your preliminary hearing takes place.

The preliminary hearing is designed to allow you to hear a portion of the prosecution's case and for the judge to determine there is sufficient evidence to go to full trial. After this hearing, the judge must find there is enough evidence or probable cause to certify the case for trial in Circuit Court. The case cannot be tried in the General District Court as it does not have the jurisdiction to resolve felony cases. Your Virginia DUI defense attorney will be your greatest asset during this process.

When your case moves to the Circuit Court, it will be heard by a Grand Jury who will bring an indictment-the charging document-against you. Arraignment will take place again with a court date set for the full trial, unless a guilty plea is issued.

Should I enter a guilty plea? Waive my right to trial?

If your Virginia DUI case has made it to indictment in Circuit Court you can choose to enter a guilty plea, waiving your right to trial, or set a court date. You should discuss your options carefully with your Virginia DUI defense attorney to decide which choice will benefit your case the most.

In the event of a guilty plea or plea bargain, you acknowledge there is enough evidence to find you guilty of your DUI charge and your case will move towards sentencing. If your judge finds the terms of your sentence acceptable, the case will close more quickly without having to go through the process of a trial by jury.

Why should I involve a Virginia DUI defense attorney?

Because your Virginia DUI conviction will now require full court involvement at both the General District Court and the Circuit Court, there are many more steps involved in reaching a fair sentence in your case. An experienced Virginia DUI defense attorney can help you throughout this process to help you receive the smallest sentence possible.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Virginia, there is no time to waste! Contact Virginia DUI defense attorney Bob Battle to schedule your legal consultation today - 804-673-5600.

Bob Battle
100% of my practice is devoted to serious traffic defense and criminal litigation in state and federal courts