On November 24th, a Virginia deputy observed a man stumbling around a closed BMW dealership. The deputy continued to observe the man get into a pickup truck and drive away. Thinking the driver may be intoxicated the deputy followed him.
Once on the road the deputy reported the vehicle swerved over the double yellow lane markers three times. The deputy activated his emergency equipment, but the driver accelerated. The fleeing vehicle then turned abruptly into a vacant parking lot.
The driver was taken into custody. He was observed to have lost his balance while walking, smelled strongly of alcohol, and admitted to having had four or five beers.
It was only after he was arrested did the driver’s extensive history became known.
Since 1990, the 44 year old driver has been convicted of 11 DWIs. He had six in Mississippi, three in Alabama, and 2 in Virginia. This latest arrest was his third in Virginia. His total number of convictions now stands at 12. He also is believed to have outstanding warrants in North Carolina and Washington State for additional DWIs.
The driver pled guilty to DWI 3rd in 5 years, driving on suspended and refusal to take a breath test. He faces up to 7 years in prison.
Under Virginia law, punishment increases for subsequent DWI convictions. So a punishment for a 3rd DWI is harsher than a 2nd, and a 2nd is harsher than a 1st.
However, cases where the DWI occurred in another state is often a gray area. Under Virginia law, a prior conviction in another state may or may not enhance punishment. For the government to use a prior conviction they must prove the other state’s law to be “substantially similar.” Substantially similar means that the behavior in the other state would also meet Virginia’s definition of Driving while Intoxicated. Most times this standard is simply too high and the government is unable to use the out of state prior to prove a higher class of DWI.
DWI cases are unique and several factors contribute to the outcome. The broader the experience of your DWI attorney, the better equipped they will be to effectively advise and represent you. At the Rosenthall Law Office, we have the experience to analyze the factors involved in your case and give you sound legal advice. To discuss your case, and how we will develop your defense, please contact us today for a free consultation.