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Advantages to hiring a Fairfax DUI lawyer sooner rather than later

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Advantages are numerous to hiring a Virginia DUI lawyer sooner rather than later

Advantages are numerous to hiring your Virginia DWI lawyer sooner rather than later. As a Fairfax DUI lawyer, I get right to work once hired with such essential items as obtaining essential evidence and case-related information, which includes requesting evidentiary discovery from the prosecutor’s office; entering my appearance with the court; and filing a timely objection to the introduction at trial of any certificate of analysis of my client’s breath or blood for a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) analysis. Many Virginia DUI defendants — charged under Virginia Code § 18.2-266 for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs  — wait awhile to obtain an attorney, whether that is because of financial considerations or wanting more time to find another lawyer. Be aware that the opposing side immediately has a lawyer, which is the commonwealth’s attorney’s office for any county prosecution, and the town or city lawyer if you are being prosecuted in one of the satellite courts in Fairfax (Fairfax City, Vienna and Herndon) or in other jurisdictions that have satellite courts. Any notice you receive from the court or the prosecutor needs to be understood and acted upon timely. By your having a lawyer to do that, you avoid making a mistake in how you respond to such correspondence.

What are the advantages of my obtaining a qualified Virginia DUI lawyer early on?

Most people do not set aside funds for a possible Virginia DUI or other criminal court case. Nonetheless, once you are charged with a Virginia DUI, felony or misdemeanor criminal offense, the decision has been made for you to obtain a qualified lawyer to defend you, and this article addresses some of the advantages of hiring your lawyer early in the process. Rules of law and matters of common practice are understood by an experienced Virginia DUI lawyer, to use them both to your best advantage, and to avoid landmines in your case. For Fairfax DUI defense, perhaps not all defendants know that once they hire a lawyer, they do not need to attend their General District Court arraignment date nor status of counsel / attorney review date so long as their lawyer has timely entered his or her appearance with the court sufficiently in advance of that court date. (Beware that this practice does not apply to all Virginia county courts.) Also for Fairfax DUI and criminal defense in the General District Court, the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office provides discovery quickly, upon request made on a standard discovery order form, as early as ten business days after being requested. (UPDATE- As of November 2022, the Fairfax prosecutor’s office instead agrees to sign a proposed order to provide discovery at least ten calendar days before trial or preliminary hearing.) The sooner your Fairfax DUI lawyer obtains and reviews that discovery with you, the farther ahead is your Virginia DWI defense.

What should I do if my Virginia DUI prosecutor has mailed me the certificate of analysis with a notice of my right to file an objection thereto?

Some Virginia prosecutor’s offices — including at least one in Northern Virginia, but not the Fairfax prosecutor’s office (for over ten years or so) — routinly (and early) mail defendants (and instead their attorneys if the prosecutor knows the defendant has a lawyer) a copy of your breath or blood BAC certificate of analysis, with a notice telling you of your right to file an objection thereto within fourteen days after the filing date of that prosecutor’s notice. Act timely on that notice, ideally by already having a qualified lawyer to file a timely objection thereto, or else by quickly and timely obtaining the advice of a qualified lawyer on how to complete and timely file an objection thereto. The advantages of having a lawyer hired early on are not only about general trial date preparation, but about knowing what needs to be done proactively well before your court date to protect your rights.

Why is it important to timely file an objection to certificate of analysis?

You want to preserve all your rights for trial, even if you have a preference to negotiate a settlement to your case rather than proceeding to trial. (Consider, also, that being trial ready strengthens your settlement posture.) A Virginia DUI defendant does not want his or her unfavorable certificate of analysis in evidence. Here are some of the challenges I make to those certificates of analysis. I proactively file objections to certificates of analysis with the court (also delivering a copy to the prosecutor), knowing that if the prosecutor only mails me the certificate of analysis rather than faxing it, common mail delays may have me receiving said notice when it is too late to meet the fourteen day statutory deadline to file an objection. Certainly, receiving late mail is grounds for me to ask the court for more time to treat my objection to certificate of analysis as timely filed. However, when I proactively file the objection, I do not need to seek such court relief. If I receive a certificate of analysis from the prosecutor after I have filed an objection, I then file a new objection. The advantages to your lawyer keeping on top of your Virginia DUI defense are clear.