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Virginia Court Denies Defendant’s DUI Appeal on Technicality

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2022 | DUI

In a recent opinion from a Virginia court, the defendant’s appeal was denied because he did not meet the technical requirements necessary in filing his appeal. On all of his court documents, the defendant listed the county instead of the Commonwealth as the prosecuting party, which the court concluded was incorrect. Due to this error, the court refused to consider the defendant’s appeal, and his original guilty verdict was affirmed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant in this case was charged and convicted of driving under the influence. He was sentenced to twelve months in prison as a result of his conviction. After a sentencing hearing, the defendant appealed. He listed himself as the defendant in the case and he listed the Commonwealth of Virginia as the opposing party. Before the appeal, the case had listed the defendant as one party and the county where he resided as the opposing party, recognizing the county instead of the Commonwealth as the plaintiff. Because of the disagreement over which entity constituted the opposing party, the court had to first decide who was the proper opposing party before considering the defendant’s legal arguments in the case.

The Decision

The Commonwealth of Virginia filed a motion in the case, asking the court to remove them from any documents referencing the defendant’s DUI. According to the Commonwealth, the issue at hand was a local issue and was better suited for county lawyers rather than Commonwealth lawyers. The Commonwealth wrote to the court that the Attorney General lacks the authority to deal with “matters related to violations of local ordinances.” The Commonwealth, therefore, asked to withdraw from the case. The court agreed with the Commonwealth’s reasoning, accepting the motion to withdraw given the fact that the Attorney General does not represent localities.

The court then determined that because the Commonwealth was the incorrect opposing party, the defendant had committed an error that violated state law. According to the court, both the warrant for arrest and the order in the case listed the county as the prosecuting party. Thus, the defendant should have known to put the county instead of the Commonwealth in his court documents, and it was “necessary” for the defendant to identify the county as his opposing party in order to be considered for an appeal.

Because the defendant did not list the county as a party, then, the court refused to even consider the substance of his argument. As a result, the defendant’s appeal was denied.

Have You Been Charged with a DUI in Virginia?

If you have been charged with a DUI in Virginia, it is important to know that there are many technicalities at play. The criminal justice system is complex, and it is in your best interest to have an experienced legal representative on your side. At Robinson Law, PLLC we pride ourselves in keeping up with all of the court’s procedural and technical requirements. We will do the hard work of making sure your case complies with the court’s rules so that you can focus on what’s important to you. For a free and confidential consultation, call our office at 703-542-3616.