Drunk driving causes thousands of deaths every year in America. That’s why most states have strict laws against driving under the influence, and Virginia is no exception. Not only do you put your own life and the lives of passengers and other drivers on the road at risk when you drink and drive, if you are convicted of a DUI, you can face heavy fines, loss of license, damage to your reputation, jail time and a permanent criminal record.
Because the penalties for a DUI conviction are so severe, if you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a DUI in Virginia, you should consult with an experienced DUI attorney in your area who can help you navigate the criminal justice system and reduce your charges. Understanding a bit about how the system works can also go a long way.
Understanding the DUI process
One of the first things that will take place shortly after you are arrested for DUI in Virginia is your arraignment. The arraignment is your first court hearing when the court informs you of the charges you face and your rights. The arraignment can take place the day of your arrest, the day after, or a few days later. If you have not been released from jail it is possible for arraignments to be conducted via video conference rather than in court.
During your DUI arraignment in Virginia, this is what you can expect to happen:
- A judge will tell you the crimes you are being charged with.
- A judge will also ask if you’ve sought legal counsel and advise you on your right to a court-appointed lawyer if you cannot afford to hire private counsel.
- You will be advised about future court dates.
- If still incarcerated, the judge might adjust your bail amount or release you on your own recognizance.
If you are released from jail and your arraignment is scheduled for a few days later, it is a good idea to contact an experienced DUI attorney in your area for your hearing. Having an attorney on your side during a DUI arraignment is crucial because it can help you make an informed decision about how to plead. And if a plea bargain is offered by the prosecutor’s office, your attorney can advise you on whether it is a good deal or a mistake.
Criminal defense lawyers in northern Virginia
The NoVa Law Firm, has over 20 years of experience serving clients in Fairfax and handling DUI cases. We understand the huge impact a DUI conviction can have on the rest of your life and will do everything in our power to have your DUI charge dismissed or reduced. For a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at (703) 352-9347 or schedule an appointment online.