As we addressed recently here, it sometimes seems like you get legally be pulled over for anything. And once that happens, well you’d better hope that you weren’t doing anything illegal like driving drunk or holding illegal drugs or the like. Continue reading
Virginia Traffic Law: What It Takes to Beat a Traffic Stop
In Virginia, you can get pulled over for almost anything. That raises the question: what has to happen for a traffic stop to be illegal? Turns out a lot of things need to go in your favor. Continue reading
Virginia Traffic Law: Poorly Applied Sticker Causes A Sticky Situation
As we’ve said in past posts, it sometimes feels like you can get pulled over for anything in Virginia. Now you can get pulled over for something you can’t get pulled over for. Continue reading
Virginia DUI Law: Parking Under the Influence Again
The Fairfax County Circuit Court recently faced the latest variant on parking under the influence: can an intoxicated person be found guilty of DUI in Virginia when the only evidence of his operation of his keyless ignition vehicle is the fact that the interior electrical accessories were on and the key FOB in his hand? Continue reading
Virginia Traffic Law: No Signal is a Signal to Pull You Over
Sometimes it feels like you can get pulled over for anything in Virginia. Continue reading
Virginia DUI: Parking While Intoxicated . . . The Last Word?
Do you remember the recent case of Sarafin v. Commonwealth? Do you remember that this case was the latest example of our dear courts finding someone guilty of driving while intoxicated while merely sitting in his car with the radio turned on and the key in the auxiliary position? Do you remember how I gave the defendant no chance at success given the latest appellate court decisions on the subject? Well, Mr. Sarafin appealed . . . and he almost won. But, ultimately, he lost and little has changed since we last went over this topic. Continue reading
Virginia DUI Law: But I Wasn’t Trying to Drive!
We will keep this one short. Really short. Must the prosecutor prove that you intended to operate your motor vehicle to convict you of DUI in Virginia? Nope.
Virginia’s DUI statute was enacted to protect against “what could happen with an intoxicated individual behind the wheel, regardless of whether he intended to be there, turn on the car, or move the vehicle.” Case v. Virginia, Record No. 2188-12-4 (Va. Ct. App. 2014). Virginia’s DUI statute accordingly does not incorporate the typical mens rea requirement that the prosecutor must prove the defendant’s intent to commit the criminal act. Id. As such, it’s no defense to claim that you weren’t trying to drive.
Virginia DUI: Parking While Intoxicated . . . A Reminder
We will keep this one short, too, because we addressed the issue of being caught drunk in your car with only the key in the ignition only one year ago. Can you be convicted of DUI in Virginia if you were only found asleep in your car parked in your private driveway with the radio turned on and the key in the auxiliary position? Yes, you can. Continue reading
Virginia DUI: Of Mopeds and Public Highways in Virginia
We will keep this one short. Can a naval station that provides limited access to the public have “public highways” for the purposes of Va. Code § 18.2-266 (i.e., Virginia’s DUI statute) or its analogue under the Federal Code? Yes, it can. Continue reading
Virginia Traffic Law: What’s a Fog Line? . . . or Don’t Drive on a Fog Line
In U.S. v. Williams, Criminal No. 3:13MJ137 (2013), a criminal defendant was charged with possession of marijuana, among a bunch of other crimes. He moved the court to suppress all evidence of his crimes on the ground that the arresting officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant’s vehicle in the first instance. The arresting officer claimed that he did have reasonable suspicion to believe that the defendant had committed a crime: his car touched one of the fog lines on at least five occasions. As such, the court was faced with some interest questions: (i) um, what is a fog line?, (ii) does simply touching a fog line constitute a crime?, and (iii) does simply touching a fog line at least give an officer reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed? Richmond U.S. District Magistrate Judge David J. Novak fortunately had answers to these questions. Continue reading