As it stands now, many arresting officers in Virginia handle first offense DUI charges on their own without the involvement of prosecutors. This can make things difficult for law enforcement officers who have to testify and go up against defense attorneys trained to argue DUI laws. In the near future however, Virginia Beach residents facing drunk driving charges will have even more reason to come up with a solid defense. Starting June 30, the Virginia Beach Commenwealth Attorney’s office will prosecute all DUI charges. This means that even first-time offenders will be facing serious consequences.
In 2013, the Virginia Beach area had over 2,300 DUI arrests go through General District Court. While the current conviction rates for DUI cases in the area are above 90 percent, the city hopes that this change will decrease the number of DUIs altogether. With a prosecutor being assigned to every DUI case, the city also hopes that the court docket will move along more smoothly.
Virginia is doing whatever it takes to keep drunk drivers off the road. Drivers convicted of driving under the influence may face hefty fines, license suspension, probation and even jail time. However, drivers charged with driving under the influence should be aware that there are many defenses they can use to keep themselves from these serious consequences. One common defense involves showing that the arresting officer lacked probable cause to make the initial stop. Officers also make mistakes when administrating Breathalyzer tests and blood tests to determine the blood alcohol content of a driver. Those mistakes can be used to defend against DUI charges.
Source: WVEC, “Va. Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney to begin prosecuting all DUI charges,” June 18, 2014