Defense for Felony DUI in Fairfax, Fauquier & Prince William County
If a person has been arrested and charged with DUI in Manassas, Virginia, the question of whether the charge will be a misdemeanor or a felony becomes important. Under ordinary circumstances, the first and second DUI offense will be filed as a misdemeanor. If a person has two prior DUI convictions and is now facing a new DUI charge all within ten years, he or she will likely be charged with felony DUI. Under these circumstances, it is crucial that you speak with a highly skilled Virginia felony DUI attorney regarding your defense.
When Is a Virginia DUI a Felony?
You can face a felony DUI charge if the police arrest you for a third DUI charge within a 10-year period or a fourth or subsequent DUI. A third DUI in 10 years is a Class 6 felony. That is the least serious class of felonies. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. It’s always best to fight DUI charges and avoid having a felony conviction on your record.
You may also face felony charges if you caused an accident while intoxicated that resulted in injuries or death. In addition to the felony DUI, a prosecutor may charge you with:
- DUI maiming (Class 6 or Class 4 Felony): Causing permanent or serious bodily injury or physical impairment while driving intoxicated.
- DUI involuntary manslaughter (Class 5 Felony): Causing someone’s death by causing an accident while intoxicated.
All these charges are serious and can result in significant penalties.
The Virginia Look-Back Period
When the police arrest you for a DUI, they look back 10 years to see if you have any previous DUI offenses. The DUI convictions within the previous 10 years count against you for your current charge. However, if one or more of your previous DUI convictions was more than 10 years ago, it won’t count against you right now. For example, if you had one DUI conviction 3 years ago and another 15 years ago, a new DUI would count as your second.
Potential Penalties for a Felony DUI in Virginia
Conviction of a felony DUI carries far more severe penalties than a misdemeanor DUI, including:
- At least 90 days in jail and up to 10 years, depending on the circumstances;
- Suspension of your driver license;
- Installation of an ignition interlock device if you obtain a restricted license;
- Seizure and impoundment of your vehicle;
- Potential permanent forfeiture of your vehicle if you are the sole owner; and
- Minimum $1,000 fine.
If your third DUI was within 5 years of your first DUI conviction, you would face a minimum of 6 months of incarceration. If this is a fourth or fifth DUI, you face a longer jail sentence and a permanent license revocation.
If you also face DUI maiming or DUI involuntary manslaughter charges, the possible sentence is harsh. Talk with a Virginia DUI lawyer immediately about the potential prison term.
Collateral Consequences of a Felony DUI Conviction
Additional serious consequences of a felony DUI include:
- A permanent criminal record as a convicted felon;
- Difficulty finding and keeping a job;
- Changes to your child custody or visitation schedule;
- Immigration consequences, including deportation;
- Loss of your right to vote for a time;
- Loss of your right to own or possess a firearm;
- Loss of a professional license;
- Inability to get car insurance; and
- Higher costs of insurance if you can get your driver’s license reinstated at a future time.
Should a fatality have taken place in an accident, the penalties can be far more serious. With so much at stake, it is critical that you are defended by a Virginia felony DUI lawyer with the experience and know-how which only comes from representing clients in thousands of DUI defenses.
Fighting Your Felony DUI Charges
Most felony DUI charges are related to either prior DUI convictions within the past 5 or 10 years or to situations involving injury or death due to an accident. There are many factors involved in an accident, and it may be important that a full independent accident investigation is initiated to determine if these allegations are supported by the evidence.
We are heavily committed to helping clients fight back in court. We will thoroughly investigate the DUI traffic stop or accident. An independent investigation may uncover evidence that you didn’t cause the crash or that you weren’t impaired at the time. We can use this evidence to have the charges dropped or reduced or fight for an acquittal in court. The firm is prepared to help you now.
Work with Our Virginia DUI Lawyer: Call (703) 988-5882
The prosecution’s case must be attacked from all angles to establish your complete innocence or get the charges reduced which can include proving your driving abilities were not impaired, you were not drunk, your BAC was not over.08, you did not cause the accident, or other court challenges. DUI law is constantly evolving. It takes a great deal of skill and an aggressive approach to obtain successful results on a consistent basis. Talk to a Virginia DUI lawyer with the resources and knowledge you need by calling Attorney Michael Pignone for a consultation.
Contact a Virginia felony DUI attorney at the Law Offices of Michael Pignone online or call for a free consultation. We fully understand your situation and will fight tirelessly for your defense.