After an arrest for a suspected driving under the influence (DUI) charge in Charlottesville or Albemarle County, there is a certain process that nearly everyone will go through. Whether it is the jail booking process, testing, and the later court dates, each is important to your ultimate defense. The process is different from the process you see on TV and all the more real once you have had to live through it.
With the help of experienced Virginia DUI attorney Bryan J. Jones, you can fight the charges against you and make sure you follow the process to best fit your needs. You do not have to face this process alone.
Booking at a Virginia County or City Jail
Once you are taken into custody after your arrest, you will be taken to the local police department or sheriff's office to complete your booking. In all likelihood, your car will be towed and impounded unless another person is able to drive the car home for you. Generally you are not given the option of having a friend or family member come pick up your car; usually, it's simply towed at your expense.
If arrested in Charlottesville, you will likely end up in the Albemarle Regional Jail, at 160 Peregory Ln, Charlottesville, VA 22902. At the jail, you will have your fingerprints taken, and a photo taken –- commonly referred to as a mug shot. An officer at the jail will take information from you, i.e.:
- social security number, and
- other identifying information.
Your driver's license and other personal effects will be taken and held until your release, and your driver's license will likely remain confiscated for at least seven days after your arrest.
During your arrest for a suspected DUI, you were likely asked to perform field sobriety tests, or even blow into a field breathalyzer. However, at the jail or police station, you will also be asked to perform some other form of chemical testing.
The chemical testing usually consists of another breath test on a different, purportedly more accurate machine. You may also be requested or required to submit to blood or urine tests to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs in your system. These tests can be used against you in court. (But it is important to remember that they can be successfully challenged in court, too.)
Appearance Before the Magistrate
Next, you will appear before a magistrate judge at the jail. At the hearing in front of the magistrate, the arresting officer will provide information about the traffic stop and the arrest.
The magistrate will then decide whether to release you on bail or to keep you in jail. If the magistrate decides to keep you in jail, you will be entitled to a hearing on bond before a judge in General District Court.
The bond hearing will determine how much money or property must be "put up" in order to secure your release. Many first-time DUI suspects are released on their own recognizance, as they are not considered a likely flight risk or significant danger to the public. A person released on his or her own recognizance means that no cash bond is required.
Bond can be unsecured, meaning no money is required to be paid up front. Or, it must be secured, meaning money is required up front before releasing the person in custody. If you or someone on your behalf (such as family or friends) posts your bond, then you will be permitted to leave jail. If the amount is too high for you, family, and/or friends, then you may need the help of a bail bonds company, which will likely cost you 10% of the total bond amount.
Your bond will also come with conditions for your release. It is important to follow all conditions of your release, or you could be brought back to jail and face additional penalties.
An advisement or first appearance is a court hearing where the formal charges are read against you. The judge will ask whether you'd like to hire your own attorney or if you'd like to apply for court-appointed counsel. If you have already hired an attorney before the first appearance, you may not have to appear.
Getting a Lawyer
It is best to get a lawyer as soon as you possibly can after an arrest. You may request a lawyer at any time, and you do not have to speak to the police without the presence of a lawyer. In fact, anything you voluntarily say to police without a lawyer can be used against you in court.
Even while you are being booked into jail, your family or friends can call a lawyer for you. The more time your lawyer has to help, and the earlier he can get in on the case, the better protected your rights are.