Reckless Driving Fairfax Virginia Lawyer Driving Endanger Life
Williams v. Commonwealth
The Circuit Court of Amherst County, Virginia, convicted defendant of reckless driving. Defendant contended that the evidence was not sufficient to prove his driving endangered the life, limb or property of any person, in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-852 and appealed.
The issue here is whether the Defendant has preserved his right to appeal on the issue of insufficiency of evidence.
Where an issue of sufficiency of evidence is presented to a trial court, sitting without a jury, in a motion to strike at the conclusion of the Commonwealth’s evidence and, upon its denial and upon conclusion of the defendant’s evidence, the same issue is presented in the defendant’s final argument to the court, the defendant has preserved his right to appeal this issue, even though he did not make a motion to strike at the conclusion of his own evidence. On appeal, a ruling of a trial court will not be reversed unless an objection is stated “together with the grounds therefor at the time of the ruling, except for good cause shown or to enable the Court of Appeals to attain the ends of justice. If appellant’s closing argument alerts the trial court to the grounds on which he bases his argument, Rule 5A:18 is satisfied. The phrase, “credibility of the witnesses,” does not preserve the issue presented. Taken in the context of his closing argument, appellant appeared to address the credibility of the witnesses on the issue of whether Flood Road was a “highway,” not their credibility on other elements of the crime. Appellant did not alert the trial court that he was arguing the Commonwealth failed to prove the elements of the offense of reckless driving. The trial court was not adequately advised of appellant’s position. As appellant did not raise the issue of recklessness, the trial court could not consider his specific argument nor could the trial court take corrective action. Sufficiency issue raised by appellant on appeal is procedurally defaulted under Rule 5A:18.
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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.