In a recent opinion from a Virginia court, the defendant’s appeal of his DWI conviction was denied. On appeal, the defendant argued that there was not enough evidence to prove that he was driving while intoxicated, and thus that his guilty verdict was unjust. The court disagreed, rejecting the defendant’s challenge and affirming his original conviction.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, a State Trooper received a call just after midnight one evening asking him to respond to an accident just down the road. The Trooper quickly arrived at the scene and saw a pickup truck with damage on all sides, leading him to believe that the truck had left the road and rolled over. At the scene, the Trooper saw only the defendant, one witness, and emergency personnel who were responding to the defendant’s injuries.
The defendant was the only person at the scene who was injured. He had blood on his face and he also smelled of alcohol. When the Trooper asked the defendant what had caused the accident, the defendant replied that he did not remember. He only said that he was on his way home from a friend’s house at the time of the crash. The Trooper ran the vehicle through his system and found out that the truck was registered to a female who lived with the defendant. She was not at the scene.
The Trooper also conducted a preliminary breath test and discovered that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol. A subsequent blood sample revealed that the defendant’s blood-alcohol level was .214%. The defendant was charged with driving while intoxicated.
The defendant’s main argument on appeal was that the court had no way of proving that he was the person driving the car when it rolled off the road. Because there was insufficient evidence to support the claim that he was driving, a DWI conviction was unfair.
After reviewing the facts of the case, the court disagreed. The Trooper had arrived at the scene of the accident very soon after the car had been damaged. Other than emergency responders, there were only two people present when the Trooper arrived – a witness operating a separate vehicle and the defendant. The defendant’s face was covered in blood, he smelled of alcohol, and he told the Trooper that he was on his way home from a friend’s house. Additionally, because the truck was registered to a female who lived with the defendant, the Trooper was able to further connect the vehicle to the defendant. Given these facts, it made sense to conclude that the defendant was, indeed, the person driving the car when it rolled over. Thus, said the court, the original conviction should be affirmed.
Are You Facing Charges for Driving While Intoxicated in Virginia?
If you have found yourself with DUI or DWI charges in Virginia, we at Robinson Law, PLLC, are here to help. We are award-winning defense attorneys with over 50 years of combined experience in the field. We will work with you to build a defense strategy that works for your case’s facts and circumstances, prioritizing your wellbeing and your rights throughout the process. Contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation at 703-542-3616.