When you are on the road, you may make some mistakes while driving a car or a bike. It is important to know all the laws, rules and regulations of traffic before you drive. If you do not know the law or traffic rules, it will be a huge mistake driving. If you have a driver’s license and know the rules, and are still in some problem, you should take legal help. There are many cases in Virginia which involve people whom the state charges for reckless driving. The person may be driving under the influence or over speeding or even driving while intoxicated. The state of Virginia treats DUI and DWI same. If you are in Arlington and the state charges you with a traffic offence, you should always take legal help. Make sure that you have access to the best and the most qualified Arlington Virginia, traffic lawyer. Only an expert lawyer can help you get out of the trouble you are facing. Hiring a traffic lawyer in Virginia is a must.
The traffic attorney is an expert only in traffic rules and regulations and handles cases which relate to reckless driving, DUI, DWI, etc. A traffic attorney can help you with your case and ensure that you do not get the maximum penalty for your offence. The traffic lawyer will first examine your case and then file the lawsuit on your behalf. You may not have to pay the charges at all if it is not your fault on the road. The traffic attorneys have the expertise to handle traffic cases. They ensure that you do not lose your driving license for the charges you are facing. These lawyers are capable enough to help you deal with the traffic tickets. These attorneys will help you clear your name from the charges or reduce your sentence.
These lawyers understand how important it is not to get the punishment. In Virginia, the state will add demerit points to your driving profile. These points remain on your profile for two years. If you get more demerit points for breaking traffic rules, the state will cancel your driving license. These attorneys ensure that this does not happen. Hiring the Arlington Virginia traffic lawyer is the best decision you can make.
No one likes to pay a ticket for wrongful parking or over speeding. No one likes to spend money on a mistake they make on the road. No matter you are over speeding, driving under the influence, or break any traffic rule, traffic lawyers will certainly get you out of trouble you are facing. These lawyers know how the laws in Arlington Virginia work. The traffic rules are strict in Virginia. They can handle your traffic violation cases. The traffic lawyers are expert and know how to handle court and judges. Lawyers are experts at handling cases so that the judge will not give you a full sentence.
Except as otherwise provided in this article, the maximum speed limit shall be 55 miles per hour on interstate highways or other limited access highways with divided roadways, nonlimited access highways having four or more lanes, and all state primary highways.
The maximum speed limit on all other highways shall be 55 miles per hour if the vehicle is a passenger motor vehicle, bus, pickup or panel truck, or a motorcycle, but 45 miles per hour on such highways if the vehicle is a truck, tractor truck, or combination of vehicles designed to transport property, or is a motor vehicle being used to tow a vehicle designed for self-propulsion, or a house trailer.
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the maximum speed limit shall be 70 miles per hour where indicated by lawfully placed signs, erected subsequent to a traffic engineering study and analysis of available and appropriate accident and law-enforcement data, on: (i) interstate highways, (ii) multilane, divided, limited access highways, and (iii) high-occupancy vehicle lanes if such lanes are physically separated from regular travel lanes. The maximum speed limit shall be 60 miles per hour where indicated by lawfully placed signs, erected subsequent to a trfc engineering study and analysis of available and appropriate accident and law-enforcement data, on U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 58, U.S. Route 360, U.S. Route 460, and on U.S. Route 17 between the town of Port Royal and Saluda where they are nonlimited access, multilane, divided highways.
A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.
Henry Magruder Williams (defendant) was convicted in a bench trial on an amended indictment alleging that, “on or about May 19, 2000,” he “did unlawfully and feloniously operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages . . . after having been convicted of two like offenses within ten years,” a violation of Code §§ 18.2-266 and -270. On appeal, defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to establish the existence of two prior convictions at the time of the instant offense, proof he views as indispensable to the felony conviction. Defendant further complains the trial court erroneously admitted a “Certificate of Blood Alcohol Analysis” (certificate) into evidence. Finding no error, we affirm the conviction.
The relevant facts are uncontroverted. On October 18, 1994, defendant was convicted for “Driving While Intoxicated” (DUI) in violation of Code § 18.2-266. Thereafter, on March 23, 2000, he was again charged with DUI, second offense, and trial was scheduled in the Richmond General District Court for May 31, 2000. Awaiting trial on the latter offense, defendant was stopped by Richmond police while operating a vehicle on May 19, 2000, at 2:04 a.m. and arrested for DUI at 2:24 a.m. A related analysis of defendant’s breath, conducted at 3:40 a.m. and reported on the disputed certificate, disclosed an alcohol concentration of 0.13 grams per 210 liters, and a warrant issued charging him with DUI, second offense, a misdemeanor.
On May 31, 2000, defendant was convicted of the DUI committed on March 23, 2000. Learning of the conviction, the Commonwealth successfully moved the Richmond General District Court to nolle prosequi the prosecution then pending for the May 19, 2000 DUI. However, on September 5, 2000, a grand jury of the trial ct indicted defendant for feloniously committing the May offense, alleging he had been “convicted of like offenses on October 18, 1994.” Prior to trial and over defendant’s objection, the Commonwealth was permitted to amend the indictment to charge DUI “on or about May 19, 2000 . . . after having been convicted of two like offenses within ten years,” in violation of Code §§ 18.2-266 and -270. (Emphasis added).
Also prior to trial, defendant moved to suppress the certificate, arguing Virginia’s “implied consent” law, Code § 18.2-268.2, pertains only when an accused is “arrested within two hours of the offense.” Because “the nolle prosequi of the original arrest and charge terminated the previous arrest,” defendant contended the subsequent “arrest” on the indictment, “months after the event,” was without implied consent to a breath test. The trial ct, however, disagreed and overruled the motion.
At trial, the Commonwealth introduced into evidence the disputed certificate and a DMV transcript that reflected the October 18, 1994 and the May 31, 2000 DUI convictions. Defendant moved to strike the Commonwealth’s evidence, arguing that, at the time of the instant offense, May 19, 2000, he had suffered only a single prior DUI conviction, on October 18, 1994, and, therefore, was subject to conviction “of no greater than a misdemeanor driving under the influence . . .,” as a second offense. The ct overruled the motion and convicted defendant of “DUI, after having been convicted of two like offenses within ten years,” the felony charged in the amended indictment, resulting in the instant appeal.
Code § 18.2-266 prohibits “any person to drive or operate any motor vehicle . . . while such person is under the influence of alcohol.” At the time of the subject offense, Code § 18.2-270 enhanced the penalty for repeat DUI offenders, providing, in pertinent part:
Any person convicted of a third or subsequent offense committed within ten years of an offense under § 18.2-266 shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.
Defendant maintains such enhancement was “designed to impose a higher punishment on those that continue to break the law even after they have been previously convicted.” He, therefore, posits that enhancing punishment for persons, like himself, “charged with a 3rd offense . . . before they have been punished for the 2nd offense” denies “adequate time or incentive to reform before the third conviction.” Defendant’s argument, however, is at odds with a recent decision of the Supreme ct of Virginia, Thomas v. Commonwealth, 256 v. 38, 501 S.E.2d 391 (1998).
In Thomas, the ct was called upon to construe Code § 46.2-357(B)(3), a statute that prescribes an enhanced penalty for a “second or subsequent . . . offense” of “driving while . . . an habitual offender.” Like defendant, Thomas contended enhancement for the second or subsequent offense was appropriate only for offenses committed after actual conviction for an earlier like offense.
The ct disagreed and affirmed imposition of the enhanced penalty, concluding that the statutory reference to “offense,” rather than “conviction,” evinced the intent of the General Assembly to authorize “punishment enhancement” for an offense committed before a conviction on the requisite predicate offenses. Id. at 41-42, 501 S.E.2d at 392. Consistent with such rationale, the ct noted that “the purpose of Code § 46.2-357 is to deter criminal conduct by punishing those who repeatedly drive after having been declared an habitual offender, rather than to reform habitual offenders.” Id. at 42, 501 S.E.2d at 393.
Here, Code § 18.2-270, similar to Code § 46.2-357, enhances the offense and attendant punishment from a misdemeanor to a felony upon conviction of “a third or subsequent offense committed within ten years of an offense under § 18.2-266.” Code § 18.2-270 (emphasis added). The statute does not suggest that convictions for the requisite prior offenses must precede commission of the “third or subsequent offense.” Therefore, any third or subsequent DUI conviction within the period prescribed by Code § 18.2-270 triggers the enhanced punishment. Otherwise,
an offender could commit multiple unlawful acts of driving [under the influence of alcohol] without fear of being punished for a felony merely because the offender could not be tried and convicted quickly enough between offenses. An interpretation of the statute that allows a defendant to violate it with impunity would be contrary to the clear legislative intent.
Thomas, 256 v. at 42, 501 S.E.2d at 393 (citations omitted).
Code § 18.2-268.2, Virginia’s “implied consent” law, provides, in pertinent part:
(Emphasis added). “The purpose of the implied consent law requiring the test to be taken is to determine the concentration of alcohol in a driver’s blood or breath sample, and thereby determine the driver’s state of intoxication or sobriety.” Quinn v. Commonwealth, 9 v. App. 321, 324, 388 S.E.2d 268, 270 (1990). Hence, Code § 18.2-268.2 is integral to a statutory scheme of “procedural requirements for the taking, handling, identifying and disposing of blood samples,” all of which facilitate the “admissibility of the results of . . . blood [or breath] tests at the trial for a Code § 18.2-266 offense.” Thurston v. City of Lynchburg, 15 v. App. 475, 478-79, 424 S.E.2d 701, 703 (1992).
Generally, failure to comply with Code § 18.2-268.2 or companion statutes precludes introduction of the relevant test results in proof of DUI. See Smith v. Commonwealth, 32 v. App. 228, 233-34, 527 S.E.2d 456, 459 (2000) (implied consent does not attend an unlawful arrest); Thurston, 15 v. App. at 481, 424 S.E.2d at 704 (admissibility of “results of tests” is conditional upon adherence to “statutory mandates”). Thus, because Code § 18.2-268.2 is predicated upon an arrest “within two hours of the alleged offense,” defendant reasons that arrest on the indictment, several months after the offense and following “nolle prosequi of the original arrest,” did not comport with the two-hour limitation of Code § 18.2-268.2, thereby precluding admission of the certificate in issue. In support of his argument, he mistakenly relies upon Armel v. Commonwealth, 28 v. App. 407, 505 S.E.2d 378 (1998).
In Armel, the accused was initially arrested on warrants that alleged he uttered a check with the intent to defraud and feloniously possessed a firearm. Upon motion of the Commonwealth, the charges were nolle prossed in the general district ct, but Armel was subsequently indicted for the same offenses, a procedure he claimed impermissibly “denied him a preliminary hearing on the original warrants in violation of Code § 19.2-218.” Id. at 408, 505 S.E.2d at 379. We disagreed, concluding that, “upon nolle prosequi of the offenses charged in the original warrants, defendant was no longer ‘arrested on a charge of felony’ . . . and was thereafter properly indicted without the benefit of a preliminary hearing.” Id. at 411, 505 S.E.2d at 380.
In contrast to Armel, the instant appeal presents an evidentiary issue, clearly distinguishable and controlled by statute. Code § 18.2-268.2 implied defendant’s consent to a blood or breath test, provided he was “arrested within two hours of the [DUI] offense.” Defendant does not challenge the validity of the original DUI arrest on May 19, 2000, at 2:24 a.m., for an offense committed at 2:04 a.m. He, therefore, does not dispute the attendant compliance with Code § 18.2-268.2 and related statutes in testing the alcohol content of his breath. Accordingly, defendant’s consent to the test was properly implied by statute, thereby rendering the resulting certificate of analysis admissible evidence in the instant prosecution, notwithstanding subsequent termination of the original warrant by nolle prosequi.
We, therefore, affirm the conviction.
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