How long will I lose my license, if so how long? Can I drive with my kids?
A "bench trial" is a trial before a judge rather than a jury. The judge will hear the evidence, make rulings on objections and motions, and render a verdict.
If you are convicted of a first-offense DUI in Virginia and a breath certificate is introduced showing a BAC of .21, the judge MUST sentence you to at least ten days of jail (mandatory, minimum time). The court will also be required to suspend your license for twelve months, though usually you will be allowed a restricted permit for certain circumstances.
If you don't have an attorney yet, you need to get one. Besides the mandatory jail time, this DUI conviction can be financially devastating. Consult with several lawyers in your area and hire the best on you can afford.
I assume you have a criminal defense attorney representing you. If not get one ASAP. We have several criminal defense lawyers from VA on this avvo website who may respond.
A bench trial is a trial by judge only, without a jury. The judge hears the proof and rules as a trial judge as to guilty or not guilty. If guilty, he/she will set the sentence. Most states have penalties as to jail time, fines and court costs, loss of drivers license, etc. Consult with your attorney to access the case and probable outcomes and sentence.
A bench trial for a DUI is unusual actually but possible. It is when the evidence is presented to a Judge instead of a jury (6 people from the area). If the Judge believes that they proved their case then he makes the decision alone for guilt. Whereas if it was a jury all 6 people would have to agree to convict the person. The good thing about a bench trial is that you don't have to argue the law to t he judge, he knows it, all you have to argue is the facts and how the State hasn't meet their burden of proof etc. Talk to your attorney and get details about sentencing guidelines for your state and laws.
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