Although it is well known that the Commonwealth of Virginia is notorious for its DUI laws, Arlington County is among the strictest jurisdiction for DUI and DWI charges within Virginia. Both the prosecutors and judges in Arlington County have an extremely low tolerance for DUI, which creates an upward battle for any Arlington DUI defense lawyer. If you are facing a DUI charge in Arlington, Virginia, be sure to consult with criminal defense attorneys near Arlington who are skilled at negotiating with Arlington’s DUI prosecutors and experienced in building an aggressive DUI defense for Arlington cases.
Arlington County comprises several towns, including Clarendon, Rosslyn, Ballston, Crystal City, Westover, Shirlington, Lyon Village, Courthouse, Pentagon City and Virginia Square. If you were charged with DUI in any of these towns, your case will likely be heard at the Arlington County Courthouse.
CHOOSING THE BEST ARLINGTON DUI ATTORNEY FOR YOUR CASE
If you are facing a DUI or DWI charge in Arlington, Virginia, you likely have many questions. The task of finding the best criminal and Arlington DUI lawyer for your case can be daunting, and it is important that you research as many DUI lawyers near Arlington as possible before making a decision. A good DUI lawyer will be able to explain the possible outcomes of your specific DUI, have DUI awards and accolades and be reasonably priced. The number of experienced, affordable Arlington DUI lawyers is lengthy, but your search is simplified when if you know which qualifications to look for in skilled DUI lawyers.
ARLINGTON COUNTY COURTHOUSE INFORMATION
The Arlington County Courthouse is located at 1425 N. Courthouse Road Arlington, Virginia 22201. The clerk’s office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00 pm and the phone number is 703-228-7900. Cell phones are not permitted inside the Arlington courthouse. DUI and DWI cases in Arlington are typically heard at 9:00 am, 9:30am, 10:00am or 10:30am Monday through Friday.
ARLINGTON DUI ATTORNEY EXPLAINS WHAT TO EXPECT IN COURT
Arlington DUI cases have their arraignments Monday through Fridays at 2:00pm. An arraignment, or “advisement” hearing is where the judge informs the defendant (you) of the DUI charge, asks the defendant if he or she understands the charge and how he or she wishes to plea, and explains the defendant’s right to hire a DUI or criminal defense attorney. Most defendants choose to hire a DUI attorney near Arlington to ensure a strategic defense for their case.
After the arraignment hearing, DUI cases typically have an attorney review hearing or “information on attorney” hearing (letting the court know if you have hired a lawyer and who the lawyer is). If you retain a lawyer prior to your arraignment, you will not need to attend your arraignment or your attorney review hearing. If you retain an attorney after your arraignment and before your attorney review hearing, you will not need to attend the attorney review hearing.
Once the arraignment and/or attorney review hearings have passed, the judge sets the case for trial. Typically, the DUI trial date between 30 and 90 days from your attorney review hearing date. During that time frame, the discovery (evidence collecting) process begins.
HOW DOES A DEFENSE LAWYER COLLECT EVIDENCE IN AN ARLINGTON DUI CASE?
The discovery (evidence collecting) process varies within each jurisdiction in Virginia. The Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office has an “open door” policy, meaning your DUI defense lawyer schedules an appointment to come review discovery at the Commonwealth’s office. The Arlington DUI prosecutors make discovery available to the defense no sooner than 21 days from the trial date. Rule 7C:5 of the Virginia Supreme Court states that the prosecution must turn over three pieces of information to the defense:
- Any relevant oral or written statements made by the defendant: This means that if the Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office (prosecutor) chooses to, he or she may hand over only the statements you made rather than the full report showing your statements within the context they were made. However, the majority of prosecutors permit Arlington defense lawyers to review all items within the file, including the full DUI report and video footage (if video exists);
- The defendant’s criminal record;
- Any information on expert witnesses (if applicable).
Once our Arlington DUI lawyers have received discovery, you will be able to schedule a time to come in to our law office and review the materials, including potential video footage of your DUI arrest. Once your lawyer has all the information that the prosecutor has, that is when your lawyer is equipped with the facts of your case and ready to build your defense specific to your DUI case. At this point you and your attorney will discuss all possible options, whether that be taking your DUI charge to trial or discussing plea deals with the prosecutor.
ARLINGTON DWI: BREATH CASES VS. BLOOD CASES
If you have been charged with DUI or DWI in Arlington, VA and provided a breath sample at the police station, the result of that test is what is known as your blood alcohol concentration level or BAC. It is your defense attorney’s responsibility to file a request with the clerk for the certificate of analysis of your breath test. Once our law office has received the certificate back from the court, our lawyers send a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) to the Department of Forensic Science regarding the machine used to your breath sample. The information within these documents outlines the specifics of the machine used for your breath analysis. We examine the dates this machine was last transferred, calibrated and certified.
DWI blood cases are typically not as common as DUI breath cases. In the event that you are charged with DUI in Virginia and cannot provide a breath sample, the arresting officer will ask you to provide a blood sample at the nearest hospital. It is your defense attorney’s responsibility to file a motion with the court requesting the transmission of your blood sample for an independent analysis. This process usually takes several weeks and can prolong a DWI case in Arlington. Should you refuse to provide both a breath and blood sample, you will be charged with a civil violation of “refusal.” Read more about the refusal charge in Virginia here.
VIRGINIA’S ONLINE JUDICIAL SYSTEM – ARLINGTON DUI AND DWI CASE INFORMATION
The Commonwealth of Virginia provides an online “case system,” which may be helpful to both attorneys and their clients. You may use this site to look up individual court information, such as phone numbers, addresses, and policies as well as information on your specific case.* Please note that if your case is being handled in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court, you will not be able to access your case information online.You may check the status of your case at www.courts.state.va.us any time. Locate the tab on the left-hand side of the home page, and then click the following:
Case Status and Information
General District Court (you will be asked to enter the reCAPTCHA)
Under the “Court” tab, select Arlington County
Under Traffic/Criminal, click Name Search
The ability to check your case status online may be helpful for a number of reasons:
- You forgot your court date or time
- You want to check in advance which courtroom you’ll be in (some are not posted until the morning of the scheduled hearing)
- You want to check your previous charges
- You want to confirm that your attorney is on record
- You want to know the name of your arresting officer
- You want to know your case number
*If you do not see your case posted, do not be alarmed. Some cases are not posted online until a week or even a day before the court date. If your case is in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court, you will not have access to your case information online.
ELEVATED BLOOD ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION(BAC) IN AN ARLINGTON DWI
Arlington, Virginia is one of the strictest jurisdictions within the Commonwealth of Virginia for a DWI of DUI offense, even if you have been charged with a 1st offense DUI. The penalties increase with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is why it is important to discuss your DUI charge with an Arlington lawyer as soon as possible. For specific information on the consequences of an elevated BAC in a Virginia DWI, please read here.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR AN ARLINGTON DUI CONVICTION?
As previously stated, Arlington, Virginia is among the strictest jurisdictions for DUI and DWI. If you are convicted of either DUI or DWI in Arlington, you face the same possible penalties as anywhere else in the state. Keep in mind that an Arlington DUI defense lawyer will have a much better idea of what penalties and fines you will be facing should you be convicted.
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA DUI AND DWI FAQS
- When I was arrested for DUI/DWI in Arlington, the officer took my license. How/when will I get it back?
If you’re charged with a first offense DUI in Virginia, your driving privileges are revoked for 7 days from your arrest date. If you’re charged with a second offense, your driving privileges are revoked for 60 days or until your court date (whichever comes first). If you’re charged with a third offense, your driving privileges are revoked until your trial date. If you’re unsure whether your license will be mailed to you or if you will be required to pick it up at the courthouse, you will need to contact the Traffic Division of the Arlington County General District at 703-228-7900.
- My Arlington DUI lawyer advised me to sign up for VASAP classes – how do I do this? Can I take the classes online?
Please visit:http://www.vasap.state.va.us/locateanasap/arlington.htmlfor information on the VASAP program in Arlington DUI cases. You will need to complete this program in person. If your DUI lawyer did not advise you to sign up ahead of time, you do not need to sign up.
- My Arlington DUI attorney advised me to gather character letters – how do I do this?
Typically, our clients bring us 1 to 5 character letters. These letters may be anywhere from a paragraph to a couple of pages. We do not provide a template for these letters. Please have the author(s) address the letter “To Whom it May Concern.” We recommend asking previous employers, current employers, teachers/professors, co-workers, and long-time family friends to write these letters for you.
- Do I need to attend my court date for my Arlington DUI or DWI?
If you hired your Arlington DUI lawyer prior to your arraignment and/or attorney review hearing date in Arlington, you will not need to attend those hearings. You must be present at all other hearings. However, always confirm this with your DUI lawyer before choosing to not attend your hearing.
- What should I wear to court in Arlington?
Business casual – dress as though you’re attending a job interview.
- How long will my DUI hearing in Arlington take?
DWI/DUI hearings in Arlington are at 9:00am, 9:30am, 10:00am and 10:30am Monday through Friday. You should expect to be out of court between 12:00pm and 1:00 pm. However, your DUI lawyer cannot guarantee when you will be out of court, as they don’t know in advance how long the docket (number of cases) is in your specific courtroom.
- Do I need to arrive early to my DUI hearing in Arlington?
- Am I allowed to bring my cell phone inside the Arlington courthouse? Inside my courtroom?
No, you will need to leave your cell phone inside your car.
- On the morning of court, will I meet my DUI attorney at the office or the Arlington courthouse?
The Arlington courthouse – please have a seat in the back of your courtroom.
- Where do I park at the Arlington courthouse?
There is a parking lot across from the courthouse.
- Do I need to contact my DUI lawyer once I’ve arrived at the courthouse/courtroom?
No. Your attorney will locate your courtroom and find you.
- Will I be required to speak at my hearing?
You will not be required to speak unless your attorney tells you beforehand.
- Is it okay to post about my case on social media? Can I talk about my case with others?
Most DUI lawyers will strongly advise you not to post any information regarding your case on social media. It is also not advisable to speak with anyone about your case until it has been resolved.
- Someone I know was charged with _______ but their DUI attorney had it amended to _______. Will this happen for me too?
Each and every case is unique with its own set of circumstances. Your Arlington DUI case cannot be compared to any other case, even if it’s the same charge.
- I won’t be able to attend my current court date – can we change the date?
Possibly. Your DUI lawyer will file a continuance motion and receive a new court date at the motion date (so long as the motion is granted). Your DUI attorney attends the motion for you – you do not need to attend. Your lawyer will have a new court date for you the day after the motion date.