Suspended License Virginia Ordinance Prior Conviction Lawyers Henrico County
Francis v. Commonwealth
Defendant challenged a decision from the Circuit Court of Henrico County (Virginia), which adjudicated him an habitual offender based upon a prior conviction under an ordinance that was declared invalid.
- Whether the trial court erred in basing defendant’s determination on the ordinance?
The Commonwealth presented five prior convictions to support its contention that defendant was an habitual offender. Defendant contended that two of the convictions were based upon driving under a suspended driver’s license under former Va. Code Ann. § 46.1-350, which was no longer recognized by Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-301 as a predicate offense for habitual offender status. He also contended that a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol was under the ordinance, which had been declared invalid. The trial court adjudicated defendant an habitual offender, finding that the two convictions for driving under suspension could not be considered but that the offense for driving under the influence could be. Defendant appealed and the court affirmed, finding that the trial court was correct but for the wrong reasons. The driving under suspension violation was properly presented for habitual offender status while the driving under the influence conviction was not. Va. Sup. Ct. R. 5A:18 did not require the Commonwealth to raise the issue concerning the incorrect ruling before the trial court because it was not seeking a reversal of that ruling. The court affirmed the adjudication of defendant as an habitual offender
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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.