DUI Virginia Suppression Motion Field Sobriety Tests Lawyers Rockingham County
Charles v. Commonwealth
After the Circuit Court of Rockingham County, Virginia denied his motion to suppress, defendant entered a conditional guilty plea of driving under the influence (DUI), third or subsequent offense within 10 years, under Va. Code § 18.2-266. He then appealed, contending the trial court erred finding at the suppression hearing that the result of a preliminary breath test (PBT) was admissible and that probable cause existed to arrest him.
- Whether the trial court erred in finding at the suppression hearing that the result of a preliminary breath test (PBT) was admissible and that probable cause existed to arrest defendant?
An officer stopped defendant for running a red light. Defendant had an odor of alcohol emanating from him, and failed one of three field sobriety tests. Before administering the PBT, the officer read defendant an “implied consent card” and told him he was not required to take the PBT, that it was strictly “for the benefit of probable cause,” and that the result of the PBT could not be used against him “in court” (rather than “in any prosecution,” as set forth in Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-267(F)). The appellate court held that the advisement, though inartful, complied with § 18.2-267(F). The officer’s testimony that the PBT machine he used had been calibrated and checked for accuracy and that he had properly cleared it before administering the test supported the trial court’s finding that the test results were admissible at the hearing. As defendant never argued that the trial court could not rely on the PBT result because it was not in evidence, he could not raise this argument on appeal. Evidence that defendant ran a red light, smelled of alcohol, failed a field sobriety test, and registered positive on the PBT gave the officer probable cause to arrest him. The judgment was affirmed.
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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.