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 From an emotional standpoint, a case where someone is accused driving under the influence and killing another person is one of the toughest.  With the victim, you usually have someone who did not deserve to die.  They are often young, in the prime of their lives.  They are usually also close to the driver.  The victim is often a spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, or sibling of the accused.  Unfortunately, that person is not available to express forgiveness to the driver.
As for the driver, you often have a person who has never been in trouble in his life.  He may be college educated, have a great job, and a loving family.  But for this horrible incident he would have continued to be an upstanding citizen.
Recently, a San Jose woman pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter after hitting and killing a 79 year old grandmother.  She is waiting to be sentenced by a Santa Clara County judge.  Her maximum possible sentence is 12 years in the state prison.  In fact, the judge is precluded from granting this woman probation unless he finds “unusual circumstances” where the interests of justice require it.  According to statements, the family of the victim has forgiven the defendant, and believes that the victim would forgive her as well.  Unfortunately, California DUI sentencing law provides somewhat less opportunity for the Court to forgive her. 

As a former prosecutor, I can tell you that, regardless of the outcome, nobody wins in these cases.  Regardless of what side you are on there is nothing but tragedy in these cases.  An innocent victim loses her life, and a contrite survivor is cast into the hell of the California prison system.  

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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.

Category: Keyword Search: VA driving under the influence

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On January 30, 2009, two vehicles were totaled and two men injured following an accident on Rt. 621 in Warsaw.  The crash occurred at approximately 9:00 PM on Chestnut Hill Road when a BMW sedan and pickup truck struck head on.

According to Virginia State Trooper Jene Brooks, who was in charge of the crash scene initially, the two men sustained minor injuries and refused medical treatment.  The men were released.

At the time of the crash, Franklin Taylor of Caret was driving a 1991 BMW 525i and Sherland Balderson of Warsaw was driving a 1988 Ford F-150 pickup truck.  The accident was described as an “angled impact” between the BMW and Ford F-150, according to Brooks.

“It appears that the BMW rode the guard rail and then popped off veering into the other vehicle,” said Brooks.

Following the crash, Taylor was charged with DUI and arrested, according to Virginia State Trooper Joseph Benson.  Benson was the one who finished the accident report for the state police.  There have been no other charges filed in connection with the accident.

Taylor was arraigned on February 6 in Richmond County General District Court.  His hearing is set for May 1, 2009 at 9:00 AM.

Virginia has extremely strict laws when it comes to DUI convictions.  First-time DUI offenders may be fined as much as $2500 in Virginia.  If you are facing a DUI charge in Virginia, you should contact an experienced DUI attorney who can review your case and help you with your defense.

Category: Keyword Search: VA driving under the influence