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DWI Sentencing Addressed by Fairfax DUI Lawyer

DWI sentencing addressed by Fairfax DUI lawyer- Image of scales of justice

DWI sentencing needs full advance preparation in case of a conviction, says Fairfax DUI lawyer

DWI sentencing is something that defendants often wish to avoid considering, but is essential to fully prepare for, in the event that a not-guilty verdict or case dismissal is not reached. As a Fairfax DUI lawyer, I make clear to my clients that their defense heavily involves being fully prepared for trial, pursuing a settlement/plea negotiation that the defendant wants, and preparing for sentencing. When judges sentence a defendant convicted for a Virginia DUI offense for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (or both) under Virginia Code § 18.2-266, the judge is considering any sentencing agreement reached by the defense and the assistant commonwealth's attorney/prosecutor. If no sentence is agreed, the judge is considering the presentation and arguments of the parties, as well as such considerations as the defendant's relevant criminal record (including any prior DWI convictions); the current and prior stability of the defendant, for instance considering work history and accomplishments, educational progress, and family life; likelihood level that the defendant will do well while on probation (including not committing any crimes nor violating any terms and conditions of probation); the defendant's efforts to engage in self-improvement subsequent to their arrest date, and to learn from that self-improvement; and the defendant's extent and level of genuine remorse for their convicted actions and their ability to learn from their mistakes.

How do I convince the judge to determine a sentence that will not destroy my life and career?

Many prosecutors and judges get so experienced with the routines of handling DWI sentencing and such cases in general that Virginia DUI lawyers are all the more obligated to show the prosecutor in sentencing why the individual characteristics of the accused, his case, and the bets both sides have to hedge justify reaching the defense lawyer's proposed case settlement/plea deal; and to show the judge why the defendant and the situation merit reaching a sentence that is as least harmful to the defendant as possible. You will have a huge uphill battle to attempt all of this with anything but a highly qualified Virginia DUI attorney whom you obtain early in preparing your defense. Just as the best property lawyer is not suited by that area of legal work to do great work in DWI defense, nor is a defendant who represents themselves nor who obtains the wrong attorney.

What are my judge's and prosecutor's fears, discomforts, and goals in dealing with DWI sentencing and negotiating?

Ask your Virginia DUI lawyer about your particular judge's -- and judges' in general -- agendas in dealing with DWI sentencing. Ask what drives the prosecutor in your case with plea negotiations. Except for prosecutions in municipalities (for instance, in Fairfax County, the municipalities are Fairfax City, Vienna, and Herndon), chief prosecutors in Virginia counties are elected to office, meaning that their assistant prosecutors are very much considering and intuiting the chief prosecutors' preferences for your case and for all prosecutions. Part of this means that the chief prosecutor is thinking of the next election, how the chief prosecutor looks in the press and to the public, and the chief prosecutor's efforts to obtain sufficient funding from the county authorities during each funding cycle. Your judge is not permitted to allow his or her oath to be colored by considerations of how s/he will look in the news if a person s/he sentences moderately or leniently soon after gets arrested for allegedly committing an even more heinous crime, nor by considerations of doing anything that might become an impediment to being reappointed as a judge. At the same time, the judge is human and is may not be able to erase uncomfortable thoughts about how just one allegedly false move from the bench can end up undoing so much of what the judge has invested until now to reach their judgeship. With all of those things to consider and experience, the absence of a smile on the face of your prosecutor or judge does not automatically mean you will experience a bad outcome in your case.

How soon do I need to start driver improvement, AA meetings and any other self improvement steps to assist my DWI sentencing prospects?

The judge for DWI sentencing and prosecutor is rare or nonexistent who considers driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs as anything but a serious situation.  Consequently, if you are arrested for violating the Virginia DUI law, an important step you can take to reverse that state of affairs is to engage in such self-improvement as completing a Virginia DMV-approved driver improvement program, getting evaluated by a relevant alcohol program (and possibly starting that program, except that the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) can take a while to start and does not provide evaluations, let alone useful ones, and VASAP may not give credit for private programs), and attending numerous documented Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, and maybe adding attendance at a two-hour online Victim Impact Panel presented by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Do not wait until the last moment to engage in such self-improvement, so that other competing work and personal obligations do not make it less possible timely to complete your self improvement steps before it is time to engage in plea negotiations and to attend your trial date.

Turn the discomfort of your Virginia DUI arrest into an opportunity to obtain the best possible result in court and to avoid any further arrests

Nobody wants a Virginia DUI arrest nor DWI sentencing, and anyone who tells you otherwise is due for a head examination. (Although, I did have a fully intelligent client who told me that despite his revulsion over his DWI arrest, he did find it fascinating to experience the police offer's post-arrest handling of his case.) At the same time, defending yourself along with the right Virginia DUI defense lawyer is your opportunity to minimize and diminish the possible adverse impact of your case as much as possible, including through being fully trial ready, because only by going to trial do you have the opportunity to obtain an acquittal / not guilty verdict.

Your Fairfax DUI lawyer / Virginia criminal attorney Jonathan Katz will pursue your best possible defense, backed up by his years of experience successfully defending hundreds of defendants charged with violating the driving under the influence of alcohol and drug laws. Call 703-383-1100 for your free in-person confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending prosecution.