The most charged criminal offenses in the Commonwealth of Virginia are reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. Both of these are Class I Misdemeanors. With both charges, a Defendant can lose their license for a period of time: up to six months in a reckless driving case, and one year in a driving under the influence case. Contrary to the belief of many members of the Virginia Bar, the attorneys at Westlake Legal Group believe that all reckless driving and DUI cases can be successfully defended. It is not the normal practice of the firm to approach a criminal defense with the intent of reaching a plea agreement with the Commonwealth.
Westlake Legal Group adheres to the fundamental constitutional principle that the issue of a criminal charge is not whether the activity occurred. The fundamental issue is whether the Commonwealth can prove the alleged occurrence beyond a reasonable doubt. Our attorneys have been successful in demonstrating failure of proof on the part of the Commonwealth and failure of procedure on the part of officers and the Commonwealth, such that DUI and reckless driving matters have resulted in full acquittals.
Class I Misdemeanors, such as reckless driving and DUI, must be initially tried in the General District Court as a matter of law. If a Defendant is not happy with the resolution in the General District Court, the Defendant is entitled to a trial de novo in the Circuit Court. The de novo trial treats the case as if the General District Court trial never occurred. At Westlake Legal Group, our attorneys understand the potential for a de novo trial and, upon engagement are prepared to conduct a trial not only in the General District Court but in the Circuit Court.
At Westlake Legal Group, it is the firm’s belief that the best judge of whether or not the Commonwealth has proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt is a jury of one’s peers. As a consequence, when a DUI or reckless driving matter is brought to Westlake Legal Group, a jury trial in the Circuit Court is anticipated and more often than not pursued. Westlake Legal Group is also able to plan one’s defense through the making of timely and appropriate motions to exclude witnesses or further narrow charges. A reckless driving or DUI charge is a significant one but one for which Westlake Legal Group brings considerable, successful experience and for which Westlake Legal Group has obtained numerous acquittals at both the General District Court and Circuit Court levels.