Driving Influence Franklin Virginia Lawyer Habitual Offender
Willard v. Commonwealth
The trial court’s finding that defendant was a habitual offender was based on a certified abstract from the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles showing that defendant had one Virginia conviction and two West Virginia convictions for driving while intoxicated. The out-of-state convictions stemmed from a state statute and a municipality’s ordinance. Defendant argued that the ordinance did not conform to the Virginia statutes regarding driving while under the influence of alcohol because the ordinance was substantially broader. The trial court ruled that the ordinance was substantially similar to Va. Code Ann. §§ 18.2-266 and 18.2-269.
- Whether the trial court erred in finding that an out-of-state conviction substantially conformed to the provisions of Code § 18.2-266?
In this case, the record of appellant’s convictions in West Virginia indicates only that he was convicted under a state statute and a city ordinance. This description permits the court to conclude only that the appellant committed the offense while operating a motor vehicle. It does not identify the specific provision of the ordinance he violated. Consequently, the court must examine the entire statutory prohibition to see if it permits convictions not permitted under Code § 18.2-266. The Lewisburg city ordinance includes several prohibitions against conduct which would not be violations of Code § 18.2-266; therefore, the court is unable to say that the conduct upon which the appellant’s convictions were based was that which is not included within the prohibitions of Code § 18.2-266. Thus, for the purposes of determining whether the appellant is a habitual offender, the applicable provisions of the Lewisburg city ordinance are not in this case substantially conforming. The trial court erred in concluding that the ordinance was substantially conforming and in finding the appellant a habitual offender. The judgment declaring the appellant a habitual offender is reversed and the information filed is dismissed.
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Article written by A Sris
These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.