Reckless Driving Salem Virginia DUI Driving Under Influence Offense Fairfax Loudoun Prince William County
Commonwealth of Virginia v. Christopher Sutter Sumner
CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF SALEM, VIRGINIA
66 Va. Cir. 266
Whether the District Court having the authority to amend the warrant to charge an offense that is not a lesser included offense?
Whether the amendment of warrant from DUI to reckless driving charge was an acquittal of the DUI charge?
1) Whether the District Court having the authority to amend the warrant to charge an offense that is not a lesser included offense?
The authority of the District Court to amend warrants or place new charges is contained in § 16.1-129.2. The District Court may amend a warrant to correct defects or faults it finds in the form of the document or to charge a lesser included offense. However, an amendment to a warrant cannot change the nature and character of the offense originally charged. If the District Court believes that a different offense should be charged other than the one contained in the warrant, it may, pursuant to § 16.1-129.2, issue under its own hand a warrant reciting the offense and requiring the defendant in the original warrant to be arrested and brought before him. When it amended the warrant from DUI to reckless driving, the District Court changed the nature and character of the offense. Reckless driving is not a lesser included offense of DUI. It is instead a separate and distinct crime. Without the issuance of a new warrant, the Defendant could not be tried or found guilty of reckless driving.
2) Whether the amendment of warrant from a Virginia DUI to a Virginia reckless driving charge was an acquittal of the DUI charge?
Once the District Court heard the evidence in the DUI case and amended the warrant in order to find the Defendant guilty of reckless driving, that finding necessarily constituted an acquittal of the DUI charge. Accordingly, the current charge against the defendant now on appeal is dismissed.
These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.
The SRIS Law Group is a law firm with offices in Virginia, Maryland & Massachusetts. The law firm assists clients with criminal/traffic defense, family law, immigration, civil litigation, bankruptcy & military law. The law firm has Virginia offices in Fairfax County, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Loudoun County, Prince William County & Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Maryland offices are in Montgomery County & Baltimore. The Massachusetts offices are in Boston & Cambridge.
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tags: County, Driving, Fairfax, Influence, Loudoun, Offense, Prince, Reckless, Salem, Under, Virginia, William