Federal DUI Charges in Fairfax, VA
DUI Charges on the Federal Level
If you were charged with a federal DUI, you may be confused about your charges and wonder why they are set apart from a standard DUI. The way it works is if your DWI arrest took place on a road owned by the federal government, or on other federally owned property such as a military base, or any other government owned land or road, then you will be prosecuted in federal court. If you were arrested on a federal DUI, contact a
Fairfax DUI defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your possible defenses.
One of the most common ways to be charged with a federal DUI is to get arrested at a national park. Therefore, if you were caught driving under the influence of alcohol while you were camping on land owned by the National Park Service, then you could face driver's license suspension, up to $5,000 in fines, and up to six months in jail. Unfortunately, a lot of people drink alcohol while they are camping or fishing; however, if they get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol, they face stiff penalties if they are eventually caught.
Drunk driving arrests that occur on federally owned land are prosecuted in Federal Court. Federal DUI prosecutions are conducted similarly to trials in State Courts, but different laws apply depending on where the arrest took place. An attorney experienced in defending federal DWI cases can explain the key differences between federal and state prosecutions, and develop a winning strategy to fight each case.
If the driver was arrested in a national park, the offense is regarded as a Class B misdemeanor and is governed by the Code of Federal Regulation. If the DWI arrest took place on any other federally owned property, including military bases or government installations, the court will apply the law of the state where the land is located, through the Assimilative Crimes Act.
As in state court, the first step in a DUI misdemeanor prosecution is arraignment. The driver is advised of the pending charges and is required to make a plea – either Not Guilty, nolo contendere or No Contest, or Guilty. If the driver pleads Not Guilty, a pretrial conference is scheduled.
In some cases, defendants and prosecutors reach a plea agreement, in which the driver will plead guilty before the case goes to trial, in exchange for a reduced charge or sentence. If a plea bargain is made prior to the pretrial conference, the driver likely will plead Guilty or No Contest at the hearing. If no agreement was reached, the hearing is an opportunity to bring pretrial motions before the court. Common pretrial motions involve evidence suppression, discovery, and motions to dismiss.
Defendants in federal DUI prosecutions have the right to a jury trial if the potential punishment exceeds six months in prison. If the punishment does not exceed six months imprisonment, the trial is presided over by a federal magistrate who decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.
Federal DUI arrest? Contact a Fairfax DUI Lawyer today!
Aggressive and competent legal counsel is a must if you or someone you know is facing federal DUI charges. Fairfax DUI attorney Scott C. Nolan is experienced in handling these cases and can offer you the personal attention and the dedicated representation you need.
Contact a Fairfax DWI attorneyat our firm today!