Wherever you go, you will find that there are all kinds of lawyers. You will find lawyers who deal with murder cases; they have expertise in that field. You will only choose a lawyer who deals with the problem you are facing. If you are in Virginia and get a traffic ticket, you can take help from an attorney who specialises in traffic laws. When you are on the road, you can get in any trouble. Someone may hit your car and run. It is not always that you get a ticket and you need legal help. If someone hurt you on the road, it is also when you require legal help. In case of a hit and run, you need to make sure that you file a case against that individual. For this purpose, you will need the expertise of a traffic lawyer. He is an expert on traffic rules and regulations in Virginia.
You must take help from a law expert if you are part of an accident. The accident may occur because of a person who was driving under the influence of a drug. It is why you should always shave access to an attorney. No matter what kind of road accident you are part of, the lawyer will help you. Even if you receive a ticket, our lawyers will help reduce the charges you face. The lawyers are experts and have been helping people with such cases for many years now. You can trust a lawyer to help you and get away with the charges you face.
Take help from lawyers who know the law
When you call a traffic attorney, he will take your case. He will first listen to you and then review all the evidence. If you face a heavy charge of an offence, he will plead not guilty in court on your behalf. The lawyer will prepare all the documents. He will also go to court hearings on your behalf. The attorney will do everything in his power to ensure that you do not face the charges. These traffic lawyers know the courts of Rockingham Virginia and also know how the judges work. The traffic attorneys understand how important it is to come clean. If you face the charges, the state will add demerit points to your profile which remain on the profile for eleven years. The lawyers know how important it is not to have that. They do their best to help you.
We deal in all kinds of cases
No matter it is a DUI charge, or you are facing reckless driving charges. The traffic lawyers are capable enough to help you in every case. The traffic lawyers take small issues seriously. It is the quality of these traffic lawyers to make sure that you do not face charges. Even if you get a ticket for $250, they take it seriously. It is why these traffic lawyers are the best in Rockingham VA. The lawyers have years of experience in dealing with traffic cases.
The following are some of the speeding laws in Virginia:
VA Code § 46.2-870. Maximum speed limits generally.
Except as otherwise provided in this article, the maximum speed limit shall be 55 miles per hour on interstate highways or other limited access highways with divided roadways, nonlimited access highways having four or more lanes, and all state primary highways.
The maximum speed limit on all other highways shall be 55 miles per hour if the vehicle is a passenger motor vehicle, bus, pickup or panel truck, or a motorcycle, but 45 miles per hour on such highways if the vehicle is a truck, tractor truck, or combination of vehicles designed to transport property, or is a motor vehicle being used to tow a vehicle designed for self-propulsion, or a house trailer.
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the maximum speed limit shall be 70 miles per hour where indicated by lawfully placed signs, erected subsequent to a trfc engineering study and analysis of available and appropriate accident and law-enforcement data, on: (i) interstate highways, (ii) multilane, divided, limited access highways, and (iii) high-occupancy vehicle lanes if such lanes are physically separated from regular travel lanes. The maximum speed limit shall be 60 miles per hour where indicated by lawfully placed signs, erected subsequent to a trfc engineering study and analysis of available and appropriate accident and law-enforcement data, on U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 58, U.S. Route 360, U.S. Route 460, and on U.S. Route 17 between the town of Port Royal and Saluda where they are nonlimited access, multilane, divided highways.
§ 46.2-862. Exceeding speed limit.
A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.
The following is a case that is illustrative of a case:
The trial court convicted Donna Lynn Taylor of driving under the influence, second or subsequent offense, in violation of Code § 18.2-266. On appeal, Taylor argues the court erroneously considered a prior DUI conviction in California, improperly refused to dismiss the charge because of the arresting officer’s failure to obtain a blood test, and based its conviction upon insufficient evidence. We disagree and affirm.
On appeal, we review the evidence in the “light most favorable” to the Commonwealth. Commonwealth v. Hudson, 265 Va. 505, 514, 578 S.E.2d 781, 786 (2003). This principle requires us to “discard the evidence of the accused in conflict with that of the Commonwealth, and regard as true all the credible evidence favorable to the Commonwealth and all fair inferences to be drawn therefrom.” Parks v. Commonwealth, 221 Va. 492, 498, 270 S.E.2d 755, 759 (1980) (emphasis and citation omitted). Our examination of the record “is not limited to the evidence mentioned by a party in trial argument or by the trial court in its ruling.” Bolden v. Commonwealth, 275 Va. 144, 147, 654 S.E.2d 584, 586 (2008). In determining whether there is evidence to sustain a conviction, an appellate court must consider “all the evidence” admitted at trial that is contained in the record. Hamilton v. Commonwealth, 279 Va. 94, 103, 688 S.E.2d 168, 173 (2010) (quoting Bolden, 275 Va. at 147, 654 S.E.2d at 586).
While on patrol one evening in July 2008, Norfolk Police Officer Brandon P. Allison received a dispatch to be on the lookout for an intoxicated driver operating a Ford Mustang with a certain license plate number. He spotted the vehicle traveling about 15 to 20 miles per hour in a 35-mile-per-hour zone. The vehicle twice swerved between the driving lane and the shoulder. Officer Allison activated his emergency lights and siren in an effort to stop the vehicle. The vehicle overshot a turn into a furrowed driveway and came to a stop on three wheels while suspended on the wall of the driveway. The officer asked the driver, Taylor, what she was doing. Taylor said she was parking in her driveway. Her home and driveway, however, were many blocks away.
Taylor appeared to Officer Allison to be intoxicated. She was very disoriented and confused. She could not exit the vehicle from the driver’s side because she had wedged it atop the driveway retaining wall. After Taylor unsuccessfully attempted to back her vehicle off of the wall the officer reached in and took her keys. She exited the vehicle from the passenger side and tried to stand up. Unsteady on her feet, Taylor found it difficult to either stand or walk. Asked if she had taken any narcotics, Taylor said she had taken “four to five codeine pills” about 30 minutes before the stop. Taylor admitted she did not have a prescription for the pills. Taylor was too unstable to successfully perform walk-and-turn and one-legged-stand tests — two standard field sobriety tests. Officer Allison terminated the tests because Taylor “could hardly even stand on her own.”
Officer Allison arrested Taylor for driving under the influence of narcotics. Allison asked Taylor to submit to a blood test. When Taylor agreed, Allison contacted Norfolk General Hospital and confirmed they could administer the blood test. He then transported Taylor to the hospital and asked an attending nurse if hospital staff could perform a blood test. Taylor laughed and stated “it was funny that she was never going to be caught and in trouble for this because the police were never going to be able to sample her blood.” After about an hour to an hour and a half, the attending nurse advised Officer Allison that the hospital’s contract with the Norfolk Police Department for blood tests had expired.
Having obtained blood-testing services from DePaul Hospital in the past, Officer Allison contacted that hospital and confirmed it could perform the test. After arriving at DePaul Hospital, Allison and Taylor again waited about an hour to an hour and a half before a staff person advised them that the nurse who normally performed the tests had left for the evening. No one else was certified to administer blood tests. Because more than three hours had elapsed from the time of the arrest, Officer Allison suspended his effort to obtain a blood test and took Taylor to the magistrate’s office for booking.
At her trial, Taylor testified she never told Officer Allison she had taken codeine pills. She also denied making the remarks the officer claimed she made at Norfolk General Hospital. She failed the field sobriety tests, Taylor testified, because of gravel on the road and pain from an infected tooth. A physician testified on her behalf that, as a general matter, physical pain could affect the central nervous system and cause both dizziness and a loss of balance. Sitting as factfinder, the trial court rejected Taylor’s testimony and found her guilty of driving under the influence of a narcotic under Code § 18.2-266(iii), a second or subsequent conviction.
- TAYLOR’S PRIOR CALIFORNIA DUI CONVICTION
The trial court convicted Taylor of driving under the influence of narcotics in violation of Code § 18.2-266 and punished her pursuant to Code § 18.2-270(B)(2), which governs repeat DUI convictions between five and ten years after a prior offense either under Virginia law or any “substantially similar laws of any other state . . . .” Code § 18.2-270(E). Taylor was convicted in 2001 under California’s DUI statute. Taylor contends on appeal California’s DUI statute is not substantially similar to Virginia law because the California statute creates a “rebuttable presumption” of alcohol intoxication when the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) equals or exceeds .08%. The BAC limit under v law, Taylor continues, creates only a permissible inference. Taylor claims this difference makes the statutes dissimilar for purposes of Code § 18.2-270(E)’s recidivism provision. We disagree.
The “substantially similar” standard under Code § 18.2-270(E) does not require the statutes to be exact replicas of each other. They merely must be similar (not identical) in a substantial (not insubstantial) way. The statutes need not “substantially conform in every respect” to each other. Commonwealth v. Ayers, 17 v. App. 401, 402, 437 S.E.2d 580, 581, 10 v. Law Rep. 631 (1993) (citation omitted and emphasis added). Thus, we need not scrutinize California’s DUI statute for every idiosyncratic, insubstantial difference between it and Virginia’s DUI statute. We look instead to the overall purpose of the two statutes, the framework of their principal provisions, and the elements of their respective offenses. See generally District of Columbia v. Fitzgerald, 953 A.2d 288, 303 (D.C. 2007) (discussing “differing approaches to the question of substantial similarity of drunk driving statutes”).
From this perspective, we find California’s DUI statute substantially similar to v’s DUI statute. In v, BAC results can create “rebuttable presumptions” applicable to each subset of DUI convictions under Code § 18.2-266. See Code § 18.2-269(A) (applying “rebuttable presumptions” to DUI convictions under clauses (ii), (iii), and (iv) of Code § 18.2-266; Davis v. Commonwealth, 8 v. App. 291, 298, 381 S.E.2d 11, 15, 5 v. Law Rep. 2621 (1989) (applying a “rebuttable presumption” to the per se offense under clause (i) of Code § 18.2-266). California law also employs rebuttable presumptions triggered by BAC test results. See Cal. Vehicular Code § 23152(b) (applying a “rebuttable presumption” the BAC result at the time of the test evidences the BAC level at the time of driving for purposes of a per se DUI conviction); Cal. Vehicular Code § 23610(a)(3) (applying a “rebuttable presumption” that the BAC result shows the driver was under the influence at the time of driving for purposes of a non-per se conviction under Cal. Vehicular Code § 23152(a)).
In neither Virginia nor California are the BAC presumptions mandatory or conclusive. See Yap v. Commonwealth, 49 v. App. 622, 633, 643 S.E.2d 523, 528 (2007) (“Code § 18.2-266 does not establish a mandatory presumption”); People v. Milham, 159 Cal. App. 3d 487, 205 Cal. Rptr. 688, 698-99 (Cal. Ct. App. 1984) (rejecting “mandatory presumption” approach). Instead, v and California courts treat the presumptions as mere permissible inferences. See Yap, 49 v. App. at 633, 643 S.E.2d at 528 (holding the presumption “allows only a permissive inference that the fact finder is free to reject”); Milham, 205 Cal. Rptr. at 700 (agreeing the “statutory presumption should be treated as a permissible inference”); People v. Randolph, 213 Cal. App. 3d Supp. 1, 262 Cal. Rptr. 378, 384 (Cal. App. Dep’t Super. Ct. 1989) (same).
For these reasons, we disagree with Taylor’s assertion that California’s DUI statute is not substantially similar to v’s DUI statute. See Moles v. Gourley, 112 Cal. App. 4th 1049, 5 Cal. Rptr. 3d 555, 564 (Cal. App. Ct. 2003) (holding California and v DUI statutes “are substantially the same with respect to the conduct proscribed by the Driver License Compact — driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated”). The trial court, therefore, did not err in treating Taylor’s California DUI conviction as a predicate offense for the recidivism enhancement to her punishment under Code § 18.2-270(B)(3).
- THE ABSENCE OF A BLOOD TEST
Taylor argues on appeal Officer Allison’s failure to obtain a blood test requires that her DUI conviction be reversed. When a police officer attempts to obtain a blood sample from a DUI arrestee, Taylor reasons, the officer must either successfully do so or provide an “adequate explanation” for the lack of success. Appellant’s Br. at 16.
Taylor’s argument rests on cases interpreting prior versions of v’s implied consent law, Code § 18.2-268.2. As we recently explained, however, the “implied consent statute has undergone many changes since it was first enacted.” Brown-Fitzgerald v. Commonwealth, 51 v. App. 232, 235, 656 S.E.2d 422, 423 (2008). When originally enacted, the statute expressly provided that a DUI arrestee “shall be entitled to” a blood test. Id. (quoting former Code § 18.1-55(b) (repealed) (emphasis in original)). Revised multiple times, the current version of the implied consent statute imposes no obligation on the arresting officer to provide either a blood or a breath test. “In fact, we have held ‘the implied consent statute does not require that an arresting officer compel submission to chemical testing.'” Id. at 236, 656 S.E.2d at 424 (quoting Oliver v. Commonwealth, 40 v. App. 20, 24, 577 S.E.2d 514, 516 (2003)). 1
That conclusion is particularly true where, as here, the officer arrests a driver for driving under the influence of drugs in violation of clause (iii), (iv), or (v) of Code § 18.2-266. In such cases, the arrestee “may be required to submit to a blood test” under Code § 18.2-268.2(C). Emphasis added.) Nothing in the implied consent statute imposes a mandatory duty on an arresting officer to obtain blood testing for drivers suspected of being under the influence of drugs. Consequently, we need not consider the reasonableness of Officer Allison’s unsuccessful efforts to obtain a BAC blood test. 2It makes no difference whether he made a heroic effort or no effort at all. Nothing in the implied consent statute imposed upon Officer Allison a duty to obtain a blood test for Taylor. His failure to do so, whatever his reasons, cannot justify a dismissal of Taylor’s DUI conviction. 3
- SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE–CODE § 18.2-266(iii)
Taylor challenges the sufficiency of the evidence claiming the trial court had no factual basis for her conviction. We find the assertion meritless.
An appellate ct does not “ask itself whether it believes that the evidence at the trial established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” Williams v. Commonwealth, 278 v. 190, 193, 677 S.E.2d 280, 282 (2009) (quoting Jackson v. v, 443 U.S. 307, 318-19, 99 S. Ct. 2781, 61 L. Ed. 2d 560 (1979)) (emphasis in original). 4″Rather, the relevnt question is whether ‘any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.'” Id. (citation omitted and emphasis in original). We are “not permitted to reweigh the evidence,” Nusbaum v. Berlin, 273 v. 385, 408, 641 S.E.2d 494, 507 (2007), because appellate cts have no authority “to preside de novo over a second trial,” Haskins v. Commonwealth, 44 v. App. 1, 11, 602 S.E.2d 402, 407 (2004). Instead, we give fact-finders
the wide discretion to which a living record, as distinguished from a printed record, logically entitles them. The living record contains many guideposts to the truth which are not in the printed record; not having seen them ourselves, we should give great weight to the conclusions of those who have seen and heard them.
James v. Commonwealth, 53 v. App. 671, 677, 674 S.E.2d 571, 574 (2009) (citation omitted). Consequently, “we do not substitute our judgment for that of the fact finder,” Hamilton, 279 v. at 105, 688 S.E.2d at 173, “even if our opinion were to differ,” Ferguson v. Commonwealth, 51 v. App. 427, 435, 658 S.E.2d 692, 696 (2008) (en banc) (citation omitted).
In a bench trial, a trial judge’s “major role is the determination of fact, and with experience in fulfilling that role comes expertise.” Haskins, 44 v. App. at 11, 602 S.E.2d at 407 (citation omitted). “If reasonable jurists could disagree about the probative force of the facts, we have no authority to substitute our views for those of the trial judge.” Campbell v. Commonwealth, 39 v. App. 180, 186, 571 S.E.2d 906, 909 (2002). This deferential standard “applies not only to the historical facts themselves, but the inferences from those facts as well.” Clanton v. Commonwealth, 53 v. App. 561, 566, 673 S.E.2d 904, 907 (2009) (en banc) (citation omitted).
In this case, Taylor admitted she ingested four to five unprescribed narcotic pills prior to getting behind the wheel of her vehicle. She drove well below the posted speed limit and swerved twice between the lane and the shoulder. When Officer Allison activted his emergency lights and siren, Taylor pulled into someone’s residential driveway claiming it was her own. She overshot the driveway leaving the vehicle teetering on three wheels and suspended on the wall of the driveway. She appeared to Officer Allison to be intoxicated, disoriented, confused, and unsteady on her feet. Taylor was incapable of performing two field sobriety tests.
These circumstances provided an ample evidentiary basis for convicting Taylor of driving “under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature, or any combination of such drugs, to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle” in violation of Code § 18.2-266(iii). Taylor’s observble “manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior,” Leake v. Commonwealth, 27 v. App. 101, 110, 497 S.E.2d 522, 526 (1998) (applying Code § 4.1-100 definition in DUI cases), 5proved she was driving under the influence of narcotics.
The trial ct was at liberty to disbelieve Taylor’s claim that pain from a cracked tooth caused her erratic driving and, based upon this finding, “conclude that she was ‘lying to conceal her guilt.'” Bly v. Commonwealth, 55 v. App. 1, 12, 682 S.E.2d 556, 562 (2009) (en banc) (citation omitted). “This principle naturally follows from the broader observtion that ‘whenever a witness testifies, his or her credibility becomes an issue.'” Coleman v. Commonwealth, 52 v. App. 19, 25-26, 660 S.E.2d 687, 690-91 (2008) (citation omitted). Even when not “inherently incredible,” a defendant’s exculpatory version of events need not be accepted by the factfinder. Montgomery v. Commonwealth, 221 v. 188, 190, 269 S.E.2d 352, 353 (1980) (emphasis in original).
The trial ct did not err when it considered Taylor’s prior DUI conviction in California, refused to dismiss the charge because of the arresting officer’s failure to obtain a blood test, and found the evidence sufficient to support Taylor’s conviction for driving under the influence of drugs in violation of Code § 18.2-266(iii). We thus affirm her conviction.