Ask the DUI lawyer, Arlington VA: What makes DUI cases unique in Arlington?
When I first because a DUI lawyer, Arlington Va, 18 years ago, I thought that trial procedure there would be the same as it was in Fairfax, VA (Virginia’s largest county). How wrong I was! Even though Arlington is a large, urban county, it operates as a small town. There are informal rules in Arlington that simply don’t apply in Fairfax.
Information is the biggest difference between Arlington and Fairfax for DUI cases. In Fairfax, the DUI lawyer, Fairfax Va gets information about one’s case (discovery) on a special pre-trial court date. The prosecutor discloses the government’s case, and the lawyers negotiate. If the case can be resolved through a compromise, then the compromise can be presented to a judge. Otherwise, the case is set for trial for another day. In Arlington, there is no pre-trial court date. The DUI lawyer, Arlington Va instead contacts the prosecutor’s office to find out which lawyer has been assigned to the case. (In Fairfax, prosecutors are not specially assigned). An appointment is set to review the prosecutor’s file. This is called “open file” discovery. The Arlington prosecutor’s office is so confident in their cases – and so willing to dismiss cases with bona fide flaws – that they provide considerably more information to the DUI lawyer, Arlington Va than required by law.
Obviously, the second big difference is that the DUI lawyer, Fairfax Va has two court appearances while the DUI lawyer, Arlington Va has one for each client. (The discovery meeting in Arlington is done informally in the prosecutor’s office). This doesn’t mean that the person accused of DUI must be prepared to go to trial the first time he or she walks into court. In Arlington, all those charged with DUI are assigned an arraignment date on which they are advised of all the crimes they must defend and tells them that they need lawyers. However, if a person has hired a DUI lawyer, Arlington Va. in advance of the arraignment, the lawyer can waive the arraignment, saving the client from the extra court appearance.
A third big difference is the variety of judges. There are only three judges in the General District Court for Arlington; there are ten in Fairfax. Each judge adjudicates a case somewhat differently. A good DUI lawyer, Arlington Va will strive to learn the tendencies of each judge and tailor a case to the “audience.” Our current judges are Richard McCue, Thomas Kelly, and Fran O’Brien. Judge O’Brien is a former prosecutor and Judges McCue and Kelly are both former criminal defense attorneys. (However, don’t let their backgrounds mislead you!)
A fourth big difference is the prosecutor’s preparation. In Arlington, prosecutors are specially assigned to cases and they review them in advance of trial. In Fairfax, prosecutors usually walk into each case “cold.” This makes it harder for the DUI lawyer, Arlington Va. One cannot assume that clever legal argument will go unanswered in Arlington due to lack of pre-trial research and thought.
This leads to a fifth big difference – deal making. Most DUI cases do not go to trial; they are resolved by a settlement (called a “plea bargain”). Obviously, some plea bargains can be better deals that others. A DUI lawyer, Arlington Va must work harder to get a good plea bargain that his or her Fairfax colleague because, with better preparation, a prosecutor can feel more confident taking a case to trial.
A sixth big difference is timing. The DUI lawyer, Arlington Va gets to court knowing that his case might not got to trial until late in the afternoon. The DUI lawyer, Fairfax Va can plan on having a full trial complete by 1:00 p.m. most days.
On a humorous note, a seventh big difference is parking. Getting a spot in Arlington is very difficult and expensive compared to Fairfax. Yes, a good DUI lawyer, Arlington, Va will know the “secret” places to park, but that is a secret that will remain so!