At least five arrests were made at three Virginia Beach checkpoints for driving under the influence on St. Patrick’s Day. Police set up these checkpoints as a way to catch drunk drivers on the roads.
"I view the checkpoints as proactive rather than reactive," Officer J.M. Baker said. "They make people think, maybe there's going to be a checkpoint on the way home, maybe I should drink responsibly."
St. Patrick’s Day, along with July 4th and Labor Day, are some of the biggest days for DUIs, even bigger than New Year’s Eve, according to Sgt. Scott Wichtendahl, who is the head of the Selective Enforcement Team that specializes in DUI and traffic. The Selective Enforcement Team made eight DUI arrests this St. Patrick’s Day, which was more than New Year’s Eve.
Police officers at the St. Patrick’s Day checkpoints stopped 328 vehicles between 8:00 PM and 1:00 AM. The DUI checkpoints were set up in the 2400 block of Shore Drive, on General Booth Boulevard and on the I-264 West access ramp on South Independence Boulevard. Checkpoints are usually set up in areas where there is a high concentration of bars.
During the stop, drivers were asked for their driver’s license and registration and officers were looking for any sign of impairment. Some drivers were also asked to complete field sobriety tests. Many of the police officers are experts in identifying drunk drivers based on their behavior.
If you are a diabetic and have been pulled over for suspected DUI in Virginia, there is a good chance that you will be arrested, even if you haven’t been drinking alcohol. Drivers who have diabetes and suffer from hypoglycemia are often mistakenly accused of being intoxicated. Some of the symptoms associated with hypoglycemia are similar to those linked to intoxication, including slurred speech, impaired motor skills, poor balance and drowsiness. A diabetic may also stagger as a result of hypoglycemia.
Drivers who have diabetes and are experiencing hypoglycemia, which refers to low blood sugar levels, frequently fail the standard field sobriety tests in Virginia. A breath test used to measure blood alcohol content may give a false reading for a diabetic. When someone who has diabetes has developed hypoglycemia, there can be acetone in their mouth, which can also be smelled on the breath. A breathalyzer will often mistake the acetone for ethyl alcohol that is found in alcoholic beverages. As a result, the diabetic’s BAC reading will be high, although they haven’t been consuming alcohol.
An experienced Virginia DUI attorney can help you if you have been wrongfully accused of driving under the influence. You should not be punished for DUI when a preexisting health condition, such as diabetes, caused you to fail the field sobriety tests and give a false BAC reading.
The article, “Diabetes Can Give an Inaccurate BAC Reading,” has more information on this topic.
Barber is a former assistant police chief who was demoted to captain following her DUI conviction in Virginia and is actively trying to appeal her DUI case.
On August 16, 2008, Barber was pulled over at approximately 9:40 PM after a Virginia State Police Trooper said she was weaving in traffic and almost hit another vehicle on I-64 near North King Street.
Barber told the trooper that she drank a “Texas-size” margarita at a restaurant about 30 minutes prior to being pulled over. According to the state trooper, Barber did not do well on sobriety tests and a breath test showed a blood alcohol content of 0.12 percent.
In an article posted on the Dailypress.com, Barber was quoted as saying, “of course I regret it. I take full responsibility.” She made this comment after being found guilty at a hearing in Hampton General District Court in November.
Barber’s appeal is being heard in Hampton Circuit Court. In her appeal, she contends that her case should have been dismissed because a judge would not accept a legal maneuver that would have given her the opportunity for a lesser conviction of reckless driving instead of DUI. According to Barber’s attorney, the judge was required under state law to accept the plea.
The Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office is requesting a jury trial in Barber’s case and has stated that the judge did nothing wrong.
Barber’s motion for dismissal is scheduled for April 13 and her trial is supposed to start May 26.