Traffic Stop Manassas Virginia Lawyer Drunken Drive

Traffic Stop Manassas Virginia Lawyer Drunken Drive

Michael v. Commonwealth
Facts:

While defendant sat in the driver’s seat of a vehicle stopped at a tollbooth, a police officer approached the vehicle, smelled alcohol, and arrested defendant. After defendant, a habitual offender, was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, the trial court imposed a felony sentence under Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-357(B)(2) because defendant’s drunken driving had allegedly endangered the vehicle’s passengers. Accordingly, defendant sought review, claiming nobody had been endangered and as such, the trial court should have imposed a misdemeanor sentence, pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-357(B)(1). Defendant sought review of a judgment from the Circuit Court of Northampton County (Virginia), which convicted defendant, a habitual offender, of driving under the influence of alcohol and which sentenced defendant as a felon, pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-357(B)(2). In claiming that the drunken driving had endangered nobody, defendant sought imposition of a misdemeanor sentence, pursuant to Va. Code Ann. 46.2-357(B)(1).

Traffic Stop Manassas Virginia Lawyer Drunken Drive

Traffic Stop Manassas Virginia Lawyer

Issue:
  • Whether the evidences are to prove that the defendant’s drunken driving had endangered others?
Discussion:

The court held that even though defendant had been negligent in operating the vehicle, defendant’s intoxication had not been such that it had elevated defendant’s conduct to the level of reckless driving. Thus, the court held the evidence had failed to prove that defendant’s drunken driving had endangered others, as required by Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-357(B)(2). In reversing a judgment which sentenced defendant as a felon after convicting defendant, a habitual offender, of driving under the influence of alcohol, the court held that because defendant’s drunken driving had not been reckless, the evidence had not supported the trial court’s finding of endangerment and its imposition of a felony sentence

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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.