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Leesburg Criminal Law Blog

School board member convicted of DUI

On Nov. 15, a Virginia man who was on the Henrico County School Board was convicted on drunk driving charges. The man was originally stopped around 1 a.m. on Aug. 5 after a state trooper saw him driving in two lanes.

During the traffic stop, which occurred in the westbound lanes of Interstate 64 past the Gaskins Road exit, the trooper said that the 43-year-old man smelled of alcohol. Additionally, the man appeared nervous and could not find his license or his wallet. At the time, the man said that he had had two drinks, though he blew a .1 during a preliminary breath test, indicating his blood alcohol concentration was over the legal limit. He entered a plea of not guilty with a stipulation that the facts were sufficient to convict him of the crime.

Fetty Wap charged for driving while drunk

Virginia drivers may be interested to learn that, on Nov. 3, Fetty Wap was taken into custody in New York after he was accused of drag-racing and drunk driving. The rapper was allegedly spotted cruising at speeds of over 100 miles per hour by authorities.

After police conducted a traffic stop on his 2015 Mercedes-Benz, he allegedly offered an expired driver's license. A breath test showed that he had a .09 blood alcohol content level, which is over the legal limit. He was ultimately charged with 15 offenses, including driving while intoxicated, driving without a valid driver's license, following too closely and illegal signaling, among others. He was processed and released from jail the same morning.

Man faces felony drug charge in Virginia

A Virginia man was taken into custody at Middle River Regional Jail in connection with drug charges after search warrants were executed on his home and business properties in Waynesboro on Oct. 21. The joint investigation was initiated in the weeks prior to the arrest by the Waynesboro Police SWAT and Skyline Drug Task Force. On Oct. 27, news reports indicated that the investigation remained ongoing.

In executing the search warrants, police acted on information that cocaine was available for purchase inside the 44-year-old man's business, which is located in the 100 block of East Main Street. Although investigators did not recover any evidence at that location, they did recover $5,000 cash, approximately a half ounce of crack cocaine and paraphernalia associated with the distribution of the illegal substance inside the man's home. That residence is located in the 100 block of Jackson Avenue.

Men facing drug and gun charges after residence search

Two Virginia men were taken into custody on Oct. 19 after a Waynesboro Police Department drug squad executed a search warrant in Churchville. The men, who are 36 and 46 years of age, were transported to the Middle River Regional Jail where they were being held without bail. The search was the result of an investigation into methamphetamine distribution in Augusta County.

Members of the WPD Skyline Drug Task Force were assisted in the operation by Augusta County SWAT officers and the Staunton Police Department. During the search of the Churchville Avenue residence, police are said to have discovered 50 grams of marijuana, 32 grams of methamphetamine, two handguns, three rifles and a shotgun. About $13,000 in cash was also found according to reports.

Tiger Woods to enter DUI program as part of plea bargain

Virginia golf fans likely heard about Tiger Woods' DUI charge in May. Though Woods apparently had not been drinking and driving, toxicology reports and his own statements indicate that he was under the influence of a combination of medications when police found him asleep at the wheel of his car. Now Woods is set to enter a DUI diversion program, which could result in his conviction being expunged.

Woods is expected to plea bargain in a Florida court for a lesser charge of reckless driving, and then enter a program that will require community service and DUI school. He will also pay a $250 fine, be on probation for one year and attend a workshop for victims of impaired drivers.

Woman charged after sending drug deal texts to officer

On Oct. 6, it was reported that a Virginia woman was taken into police custody after she allegedly sent text messages concerning a potential drug deal to a law enforcement officer. The 46-year-old Chesapeake resident reportedly signed each text as "babycakes".

Through texts, the woman said that she would be driving to Kingsport. On Sept. 30, the woman agreed to meet a law enforcement officer in nearby Bristol to do the deal. They agreed to meet at a local Walmart. Authorities conducted a traffic stop on the woman's vehicle. During a search, the officers reportedly found 58 Suboxone stripes in her possession, which had an estimated street value of $1,160.

Man detained at state fair for selling drugs

On Oct. 7, law enforcement officers reported that an arrest was made after receivingan anonymous tip about illegal drug activity was occurring at the State Fair of Virginia. The man was accused of selling AB-Fubinaca, a substance that is reportedly 85 times more powerful than cannabis, making it particularly dangerous.

According to the court documents, an undercover agent was able to find the person who was believed to be selling drugs. The agent then began talking to that person and was able to start a conversation about drugs. During the conversation, the accused person allegedly pulled out a substance from a duffel bag. The person sold the substance to the undercover officer. This substance was later determined to be AB-Fubinaca, a synthetic cannabinoid.

Consequences of an underage DUI

Due to concerted efforts from law enforcement, the number of DUI-related fatalities dropped significantly within the last several decades. In the 1980s and 90s, there were frequently over 1,000 traffic fatalities every year in Virginia. Many times, over half were alcohol-related. In 2014, a little over 250 traffic fatalities involved alcohol. While there is still work to do, this is good progress. 

Even if a drunk driver does not end up in an accident, he or she will still face extreme consequences. These punishments are harsher for anyone under the age of 21. Parents need to build a strong defense team for their kids in this scenario, or else a conviction could jeopardize a teen's entire future. 

Alleged shoplifting leads to drug charges

Police in Virginia have reported that four individuals have been taken into custody on drug possession charges after a routine call about shoplifting led to the seizure of large amounts of cocaine, amphetamine and currency. Reports indicate that the three men and woman were charged with multiple counts of possessing and transporting drugs and transported to detention facilities where they were held without bond.

Washington County police say that they became suspicious when a 49-year-old man presented them with a fake Arizona identification card and refused to disclose where his vehicle was parked card during routine questioning about an alleged shoplifting at a Bristol big-box retailer. The subsequent search of a Mercedes sedan is said to have yielded large amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine and approximately $50,000 in cash. In addition to being charged with drug possession and felony shoplifting, the man was served with an outstanding Arizona warrant relating to forgery charges. His 40-year-old female companion was also taken into custody.

FBI report: 1.57 million faced drug charges in 2016

In 2016, law enforcement agencies around the country arrested three times as many people for drug violations than for all violent crimes put together. The 1.57 million drug arrests represent a 5.63 percent increase over 2015 figures and cast doubt on predictions that the drug war may be coming to an end. Law and order advocates in Virginia and elsewhere claim that a tough stance on drugs is needed to keep the public safe, but more than eight out of 10 of those charged with narcotics offenses in 2016 were arrested simply for possessing an illegal substance.

The figures come from the latest Uniform Crime Report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and they reveal that marijuana enforcement remains a law enforcement priority despite several states passing laws either decriminalizing or legalizing the drug. More than 40 percent of the drug arrests in 2016 were for marijuana offenses according to the report, and most of these individuals were charged with simple possession.

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