When someone is facing charges for a crime like driving under the influence, the timing of the alleged crime may make a huge difference. If the alleged incident falls within a certain period of another DUI conviction, the penalties may be stiffer than if the charges are outside of that time period. An experienced Northern Virginia criminal defense lawyer will make sure you don’t face stiffer penalties than are warranted.
In a Virginia case in 2007, Stewart v. Commonwealth (http://courts.state.va.us/opinions/opncavwp/1512054.pdf), the Court of Appeals reversed a circuit court’s conviction on a felony DUI because Virginia failed to prove the incident that occurred was the third within a 10-year period. In a situation like that, you need a strong Northern Virginia criminal defense lawyer who fights against any penalty that is too harsh.
In Stewart v. Commonwealth, the prosecution produced evidence of an arrest warrant for a second offense DUI within a five-year period, but no evidence was presented that the second offense occurred within five years of the driver’s first DUI. Due to the fact the prosecution did not show the driver had a second conviction within a five-year period, the Court of Appeals ruled the lower court had erred in convicting the driver of a third offense within 10-year period.
A third DUI conviction within the matter of 10 years is a felony. A driver may have their license suspended indefinitely, may receive up to five years in jail and may face fines of up to $2,500. A person convicted of this charge will not be allowed to appeal for a restricted license until at least three years have passed. Obviously such a conviction could have drastic effects on a person’s life.