DUI Virginia Certificate Analysis Influence Alcohol Lawyers Alexandria City

DUI Virginia Certificate Analysis Influence Alcohol Lawyers Alexandria City

Rock v. Commonwealth
Facts:

Defendant appealed her convictions by the Circuit Court of the City of Alexandria (Virginia), for driving under the influence of alcohol in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-266 and for involuntary manslaughter in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-36.1(A).

DUI Virginia Certificate Analysis Influence Alcohol Lawyers Alexandria City

DUI Virginia Certificate Analysis Influence Alcohol Lawyers

Issue:
  • Whether the trial court erroneously admitted the certificate of analysis and improperly relied on the test results’ statutory presumption of intoxication?
Discussion:

Defendant was driving her vehicle when she struck and killed a pedestrian. She was arrested on a charge of hit and run fatality and administered a breathalyzer test. She was indicted for driving under the influence of alcohol and involuntary manslaughter. The trial court admitted her breathalyzer results despite her objection that it was inadmissible because she had not been arrested for driving under the influence within two hours of the offense, as required by Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-268. The court concluded that reversible error occurred because the trial court erroneously admitted the certificate of analysis and improperly relied on the test results’ statutory presumption of intoxication. The commonwealth did not offer evidence on the significance of the test results in the certificate. Clear evidence therefore implied that the trial court applied the statutory presumption of intoxication, and the court was unable to say that this error did not affect the trial court’s decision. The court ruled that exigent circumstances did not exist because the commonwealth failed to introduce independent evidence of the significance of the test results. The court reversed defendant’s convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol and for involuntary manslaughter. The court remanded for further proceedings if the commonwealth so desired.

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Article written by A Sris

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Disclaimer:

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.