There are many sobriety field tests (SFTs) that police will use on someone such as repeating the alphabet backwards. What many people don’t know is that this test among others, are not the standardized tests recommended by NHTSA.
There are only three scientifically reliable tests: the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (follow the pen with the eyes), the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test.
Virginia police have been known to make mistakes during a DUI arrest. For example, in the one-leg stand test an officer should not test people who are 50 pounds overweight or are physically impaired. Also, the SFTs were designed to predict a .10 level or above and the legal BAC limit is currently .08, leaving room for error. Another defense in a DWI case is the reliability of the breath testing machine itself.
If you have taken one of these field tests, there are many possible defenses available for DUI charges. An experienced Virginia DUI attorney can help you if you have been wrongfully accused of driving under the influence.
The article “Is It Possible to Get Out of a DUI or DWI Charge” has more information on this topic.
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback David Macklin was arrested for drunk driving in Newport News, Virginia on March 13, 2009.
State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller confirmed Macklin was driving a 2005 BMW west on J. Clyde Morris Boulevard and was initially pulled over around 3:30 a.m. Friday morning for illegal window tint.
Reports indicated that a police officer approached the vehicle and the smell of excessive alcohol was apparent. The Virginia State trooper proceeded to give Macklin several field sobriety tests, in which he performed poorly.
“Further investigation determined that the driver’s blood alcohol level was in excess of Virginia’s legal limit of .08,” stated trooper JR Street. Macklin’s blood alcohol test actually showed a level of .11 BAC.
Macklin’s hometown is Newport News, Virginia, where he played basketball and football for Menchville High School. He went on to play football at Penn State and was drafted into the NFL in 2000. Last season he played cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The charges Macklin was arrested for are having illegal window tint and DUI, a first-time misdemeanor offense. He was held at the Newport News city jail and was released after he posted a $2,500 bond. His hearing is being held Monday, March 16 at the Newport News General District Court.
Macklin’s arrest is one of many that has occurred during this St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend. Virginia is cracking down on dangerous drivers. The cities of Richmond, Lynchburg and several surrounding jurisdictions in the state of Virginia have launched campaigns to keep the roads safe this St. Patrick’s Day. Every year, hundreds of people die in alcohol related accidents, and several cities in the sate of Virginia are trying to do their part in decreasing this statistic.
Virginia issues harsh punishments on drivers convicted of DUI. A first time DUI offense in Virginia could result in a court fine up to $2,500 and a license revocation of one year. Plus, you will be on probation for one year. A second DUI offense in Virginia could result in a license suspension for three years and another substantial court fine. However, the punishment becomes even worse in some circumstances when there is a sentence enhancement.
A sentence enhancement increases the amount of punishment for a DUI conviction. There are certain factors that lead to sentence enhancements including:
• A child was in the vehicle at the time of suspected DUI
• There was a past offense within 5 to 10 years
• Blood alcohol content (BAC) was higher than .15 percent, almost twice the legal limit
• Property was damaged
• Someone was injured
• The driver was under the age of 21
• A chemical test was refused
Any of these situations could result in a harsher punishment. Virginia courts hear so many cases each year that the prosecution often puts pressure on the defendants to quickly admit to guilt. If you have been accused of drunk driving in Virginia, you do not have to promptly admit to being guilty, as there are many DUI defenses available. You should contact an experienced Virginia DUI attorney immediately following a DUI arrest for expert legal advice.
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.
You can’t always rely on the results from a breath test to prove DUI. There are too many factors that affect the readings given from breathalyzers in Virginia. Prosecutors often use BAC readings as their main argument against a DUI defendant, but an experienced Virginia DUI attorney knows when these tests are inaccurate.
Breath testing equipment is frequently used when a police officer pulls over a suspect for DUI. These devices are used to measure the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver, by utilizing a ratio to convert the alcohol in the breath to alcohol in the blood. The first potential problem with breathalyzers is that it is automatically assumes that this ratio will be the same from person to person.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Virginia and your BAC was above the legal limit, you need to have an expert review your case. The various factors that can skew the results of breath tests are endless. Radio frequency from a police officer’s radio or a nearby airport can affect your breath test results. Mouth alcohol can throw off the reading, especially if you wear dentures. Other chemicals are often mistaken for ethanol, which is found in alcoholic drinks. Even certain medical conditions, such as diabetes can give false results from breathalyzers.
Don’t let your Virginia DUI conviction be based on the results from a breath test, without first looking into other possible causes that could have altered your BAC reading. Talk with an experienced DUI attorney today by calling 888-DUI-ANSWER.
A 41-year-old man from Halifax was recently charged with DUI (driving under the influence), after he hit a Halifax County school bus. He has also been charged with hit-and-run.
Virginia State Trooper K.R. Martin charged Glenn H. Spell of Chatham Road following the accident. Spell sideswiped a school bus operated by Willie Francis Jr., 43, of South Boston. The bus only sustained minor damages, including a black streak along the side of the vehicle. However, Spell did not stop after hitting the school bus, but later returned to the scene of the crash on Thompson Store Road where he had struck the bus at 4:40 AM.
There was no significant damage and no one was hurt in the accident, but school transportation officials still responded to the call from the bus driver. When the school transportation officials arrived to the accident scene, Spell had already returned, but left again when state police were called. Spell was later identified as the driver and was charged with DUI and hit-and-run.
In Virginia, the consequences for DUI are severe. A first time DUI offense can result in a court fine of up to $2,500 and a jail sentence. A DUI conviction will go on your criminal record and could affect your insurance premium, future employment and your family’s wellbeing. Virginia courts hear so many DUI cases, that they frequently encourage DUI defendants to quickly admit to guilt. If you are facing a DUI charge in Virginia, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately.
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.