Suspended License Virginia Lawyers Double Jeopardy Franklin County
Commonwealth v. Andrews
Defendant sought review before the court after he was convicted on charges of reckless driving, driving on a suspended operator’s license, and speeding to elude, and he claimed that his rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause of U.S. Const. amend. V and Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-294 were violated when he was again tried in another court on identical charges brought by a different police officer.
- Whether the three pending charges have to be dismissed based upon the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Va. Code § 19.2-294?
When defendant noticed that he was being pursued by a police officer, he accelerated away at a high rate of speed and crossed an intersection where a second police officer began pursuing him. When apprehended, defendant told the second police officer that he attempted to elude the officer because he was driving on a suspended license. Defendant, convicted on charges of reckless driving, driving on a suspended operator’s license, and speeding to elude, was later tried in another court on identical charges brought by the second police officer. Defendant argued that the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment barred the second prosecution. On appeal, the court found that defendant met his burden of proof on the driving on a suspended license charge as the second police officer’s testimony was clear that defendant was involved in one continuous act of driving from the time he was observed by the first officer until he was apprehended. The court rejected defendant’s arguments of double jeopardy and Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-294 violations as to the reckless driving and speeding to elude because the convictions were based on separate and distinct acts. The court found defendant guilty of reckless driving and speeding to elude but dismissed the charge of driving on a suspended license because the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause barred defendant’s second prosecution of the identical offense
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Article written by A Sris
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