Despite Virginia's reputation as one of the toughest states on drunk drivers, one resident's long string of drunk driving convictions shows that dangerous drivers can still fall through the cracks to cause more drunk driving accidents.
On August 21, the 44-year-old Spotsylvania man pleaded guilty in a Virginia circuit court to three dubious distinctions: felony driving under the influence (DUI), refusing a breath test, and driving with a suspended license. The felony DUI charge is his third of the same type within five years.
In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped charges of eluding police.
The man's previous drunk driving incidents spanned several states, putting motorists nationwide at risk of a serious accident. Starting in the early 90s, he accumulated six convictions in Mississippi, three in Alabama, and two previous DUI convictions in Virginia.
The states of North Carolina and Washington also want him on even more drunk driving charges, but his criminal activity is not confined to the lower 48. Alaska is also seeking him on a misdemeanor court order violation charge.
If convicted on his most recent set of charges, the motorist could spend up to seven years in prison. Sentencing will occur later this fall.
Virginia police caught up to the man last November in Spotsylvania, when an officer saw the man stumbling around before entering his vehicle. Once on the road, the driver veered over double yellow lines and sped up when police signaled for him to pull over.
Once in handcuffs, the man admitted to having several drinks earlier that evening.
In Virginia, those who drive drunk one time or multiple times can cause damaging, life-altering accidents. Both criminal and civil charges can be brought against these offenders. While penalties vary for intoxicated driving, numerous prior convictions can increase the probability of justice being served.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Va man convicted of DUI for 12th time," AP, Aug. 22, 2012