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The law firm has appeared hundreds of times in front of the judges in Hampton for DUI and other traffic matters. For a small city, Hampton police and state troopers give out a lot of traffic violations and charges because of the large amount of traffic that passes by Hampton to get to the Southside or Peninsula. The city also has large institutions such as Langley Air Force Base and Hampton University that attracts on a daily basis a good number of people to Hampton. Finally, the city has several bars and other night life establishments that serve drinks until late.
Penalties for driving drunk (18.2-266) are severe. They can include up to 1 year in jail, fines of up to $2,500, and suspension of license for 1 year. A conviction carries 6 demerit points, requires attendance of ASAP and installing of an interlock ignition system for at least 6 months. Finally, a DUI conviction will lead to a permanent criminal record that will never go away and may create issues for those that have a security clearance.
A unique positive aspect of defending a DUI in Hampton is that the prosecutor has an open file policy when it comes to discovery. Normally, the only discovery the defense is entitled to by Virginia law is: 1. any statements made by the defendant and 2. the defendant’s criminal or traffic record. The defense is also entitled to exculpatory evidence.
However, in Hampton, the prosecutor will allow the defense to review the folder that they have on the defendant and that will contain the DUI checklist. The DUI checklist is important because it outlines in great detail the DWI event, including the stop, the arrest and information such as results of the field sobriety test to name a few things.
In essence, the defense is able to review the prosecutor’s case before they even present it in court and that can be very important in developing a defense strategy.