Go to navigation Go to content
Toll-Free: (888) DUI-LWYR
Phone: (703) 361-6100
The Wilson Law Firm

If my Virginia DUI / DWI case goes to trial, will it be decided by a judge or a jury?

It depends on the court in which the case is tried and whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.  The Virginia court system has three different trial courts: Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.  Under Virginia law, a drunk driving case could be brought to trial in any of the three courts, but jury trials are only available in the Circuit Court.  There are no jury trials in either the General District Court or the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in Virginia, so all cases which come to trial in those courts are decided by a judge. 

In Virginia, misdemeanor level drunk driving cases with juvenile offenders are typically heard in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, and misdemeanor level drunk driving cases involving adults are typically heard in the General District Court, so most DUI / DWI cases that go to trial in Virginia are decided by a judge.  However, if you are found guilty in either of those courts you have the automatic right to appeal the case to the Circuit Court for a new trial. At this new trial in the Circuit Court you have the right to have a jury trial.  All felony DUI / DWI offenses in Virginia are tried in the Circuit Court, so you have the right to have a jury trial.