Drug & Alcohol Offenses: Case Results
Drug & Alcohol Offenses-DUI
NOT GUILTY of public intoxication
Our client retained us after being charged with Public Intoxication in Virginia Beach. He was arrested after being kicked out of a concert at the Amphitheater and approaching officers several times thus not responding to their instructions to leave the property. The arresting officer testified that our client was clearly intoxicated, in that he displayed all common indicators of intoxication – slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, unsteadiness on his feet, odor of alcohol – as well as the fact that our client allegedly admitted to consuming an unknown quantity of alcohol while inside the venue. Due to his fledgling career as a Nuclear Engineer at a power plant out of state, as well as all of the accompanying security protocols and background checks that he must continually pass, it was absolutely essential for our client to not only not be convicted of this offense, but to be able to have the charge expunged from his record. We instructed our client to complete a number of community service hours, as well as obtain documentation from his employment verifying his duties and responsibilities. At trial, we entered a Not Guilty plea but did not contest the officer’s testimony of our client’s state of alleged intoxication. Instead, we chose to present the positive evidence of our client’s background and request that the court take into consideration those mitigating factors in its decision. The judge found our client NOT GUILTY of the offense.
Charged with Possession- REDUCED MISDEMEANOR offense
We were retained by our client after he was charged with Possession with the Intent to Distribute between ½ ounce to 5 pounds of Marijuana in Virginia Beach. Detectives had been tipped off that a large quantity of marijuana was being sent via the mail to our client's address. After staking out the house, they observed two packages being delivered to the residence, followed by our client picking up the packages and bringing them inside. The detectives approached the house and conducted a "knock and talk," where they were invited into the residence by our client. Upon consensual questioning, our client allowed officers to search the house and later showed them the approximately 5 pounds of marijuana that he had received in the mail that day. The marijuana had been removed from the shipping packaging and placed into a backpack which also contained several documents in our client's name. During the search of the residence, no scales, baggies, significant amounts of cash, or other items usually associated with narcotic distribution were discovered. At the preliminary hearing in General District Court, at the close of the prosecutor's case, we moved to dismiss because there had not been any evidence that the green leafy substance was, indeed, marijuana. The judge granted our motion, over the Commonwealth Attorney's objection, and dismissed the case. As often happens in those scenarios, the prosecutor brought the case back on direct indictment into circuit court. After considering all of the facts and evidence available to us, and discussing the same with our client, we suggested that the only way to beat the felony charge was to request the judge to consider what is known as an "accommodation" defense. The accommodation provision in the marijuana possession statute, 18.2-248.1, states that: "If such person proves that he gave, distributed or possessed with intent to give or distribute marijuana only as an accommodation to another individual and not with intent to profit thereby from any consideration received or expected nor to induce the recipient or intended recipient of the marijuana to use or become addicted to or dependent upon such marijuana, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor." In reality, this is an extremely rare outcome to a felony possession case, and when it is granted by the judge, it usually involves a small quantity of narcotics – close to the bottom weight range. On the trial date in Circuit Court, we entered a no contest plea and stipulated that the evidence would be sufficient to prove our client's guilt of possessing with the intent to distribute marijuana. We then requested that the judge consider the accommodation defense, and outlined why we felt it was appropriate. Despite the significant amount of marijuana involved, the judge agreed, and instead of finding our client guilty of the felony charge, found him instead guilty of the REDUCED MISDEMEANOR offense, and sentenced him to time served.
Staff Sergeant In National Guard Charged with Public Intoxication - CHARGES DISMISSED
A Staff Sergeant in the National Guard retained us for a Public Intoxication charge in Virginia Beach. He had approximately four to six drinks at a bar when he was involved in an altercation with another individual purportedly over dancing with a woman. At trial, the officer testified about his observations of our client once he became involved. After the officer's testimony and our cross-examination, we moved to strike the evidence as insufficient to prove our client was intoxicated in public. The judge granted the motion, DISMISSING the charge.
First-Offense DUI Charge - NOT GUILTY
A British Royal Navy sailor retained our firm after being charged with first-offense DUI in Virginia Beach. According to the arresting officer, they responded to a call of a vehicle stuck in a snow-covered ditch along some power lines behind a bar. When the officer responded, he testified, he observed our client behind the wheel of the vehicle, tires spinning, attempting to free it from the ditch. Our client performed very poorly on all field sobriety tests, blew a .16 on the portable breath test, and later blew a .13 BAC at the police precinct. In order to be convicted of DUI in Virginia, the commonwealth must prove two elements: operation of a motor vehicle, and doing so while intoxicated. After looking at all of the facts and speaking with the officer, I relayed to my client and his command representatives that I thought there was a good chance that he may be convicted, but we determined that we would plead not guilty anyways. After pleading not guilty, but stipulating that the commonwealth had sufficient evidence of intoxication, we solely attacked the operation element on cross-examination and during our argument. Almost immediately, the judge held that the facts were clear that our client's actions did not rise to operation of the vehicle, and found our client NOT GUILTY.
DUI Charge - NOT GUILTY
Our client was charged with DUI in Virginia Beach after being stopped for swerving across lane markings. At trial, the officer testified that he smelled a very strong odor of alcohol, our client's speech was slurred, that he was unsteady on his feet and failed the field sobriety tests. Specifically, the officer stated that our client did not follow the instructions for the tests, started them early, and did not perform them in accordance with the instructions and examples provided by the officer. Our client's blood alcohol level was .07 – under the legal limit but still very possible to be convicted of DUI, especially in light of the failure of the field sobriety tests. Through cross examination we were able to establish, and during closing arguments were able to convey to the judge, that many of the issues with the field sobriety tests were caused not by intoxication, but by the language barrier which our Greek client had with the English language. The judge agreed that the commonwealth failed to meet its burden of proving our client was intoxicated, and found him NOT GUILTY of DUI.
Possession of Marijuana Charges, Security Clearance Jeopardized - CHARGES
SET TO BE DISMISSED
We were retained by a retired Navy sailor who maintained a security clearance for his current career after he was charged with possession of marijuana in Virginia Beach. When the vehicle he was riding in was pulled over, our client attempted to discard a marijuana cigar when an officer noticed and charged him. At trial, we pleaded not guilty but stipulated to the sufficiency of the officer's evidence against our client. We then presented our client's testimony as well as a sentencing package which included his military record and argued that even the "first-offender" treatment, as is normally provided to a defendant on this charge who has no prior record, would be devastating to our client's security clearance. The judge agreed, granting a GENERAL CONTINUANCE, after which the charge will be DISMISSED and be eligible to be EXPUNGED from our client's record.
Possession of Marijuana & Open Container Violation - NOT GUILTY ON
A young lady retained our firm after being charged for marijuana possession and an open container violation in Virginia Beach. The vehicle she was a passenger in, along with four other individuals, was pulled over for speeding and the officer noticed a strong smell of burnt marijuana. After searching the vehicle, the officer found a smoking device under the passenger seat in which our client was seated. Our client told the officer she had seen the device previously but it was not hers. After evidence and argument at trial, the judge found our client NOT GUILTY of both charges for a lack of evidence.
Client Facing Multiple Charges - NOT GUILTY, CHARGE DROPPED
Our client was charged with DUI, Resisting Arrest, Reckless Driving, and other minor charges after being pulled over by a State Trooper in Chesapeake. At trial, the trooper testified that our client had to be pulled from his vehicle and sprayed with mace, which effectively prevented him from performing any field sobriety tests. Additionally, the trooper testified that our client smelled of alcohol and had two open cans of beer in his vehicle. At the onset of trial, the prosecutor NOLLE PROSSED the Reckless Driving charge. After the commonwealth's evidence, the judge found our client NOT GUILTY of DUI and Resisting Arrest.
Public Intoxication Charge Against Navy Academy Graduate - CHARGES DISMISSED
A Navy Academy graduate, and LTJG aboard a navy submarine, was charged in Virginia Beach for Public Intoxication. His arrest stemmed from an incident when he allegedly drunkenly was knocking on a female acquaintance's door early in the morning, then was allegedly disrespectful to the officers upon their arrival. We advised our client that the allegations from the officer were serious and were more than sufficient for a conviction. At trial, we plead not guilty to the charge and stipulated that our client was, in fact, drunk in public. After entering the plea, we provided the court with an impressive sentencing package that we had assembled for our client which included character letters from several high-ranking officers, detectives, among others. We requested that the court, despite the evidence, dismiss the charge in order to salvage our client's bright future in the Navy. The judge agreed, DISMISSING the charge.
DUI Charges Against Junior Sailor - NOT GUILTY
A junior enlisted sailor retained our firm after being charged with DUI in Norfolk. His arrest came after he was pulled out of his vehicle by the officer and sprayed with O/C spray. Because of the spray, he was unable to perform any field sobriety tests. At trial, the officer testified that our client had a strong odor of alcohol, was unsteady on his feet, and was slurring his words. After a cross-examination which was successful in establishing that the officer had no other indication of our client's intoxication level, the judge found our client NOT GUILTY.
Navy Petty Officer Charged w/Public Intoxication - Disorderly Conduct -
DEFERRED TO DISMISS
A Petty Officer First Class contacted us to represent him on charges of Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication. Our client had been involved in an altercation with a friend in his front yard early in the morning, and both were heavily intoxicated. Based upon the noise and commotion at such an early hour, a neighbor called the police, and ultimately our client was charged with both offenses, with the disorderly conduct charge carrying a maximum possible term of confinement of twelve months in jail. At trial, we argued that the disorderly conduct charge was inappropriate due to the circumstances, and also were able to present evidence of our client’s position in the Navy, and his good conduct and service. Upon our argument, the judge DISMISSED the disorderly conduct charge and DEFERRED the public intoxication charge for two months, whereupon the charge was DISMISSED.
Navy Seal Charged w/Public Intoxication - Resisting Arrest - NOT GUILTY
& CAREER RETAINED
Navy SEAL E-7 with an extensive combat history and outstanding reputation, faced the loss of his career based on charges in the local court system of public intoxication, resisting arrest, obstruction of justice and assault on a police officer. At the first appearance in General District Court, we secured a dismissal of the resisting arrest and obstruction of justice charges, and the court deferred the public intoxication charge for a period of 6 mths, at which time that charge was dismissed. In Circuit Court, a conviction of the charge of assault on a police officer would be a felony, with a mandatory minimum jail to serve of 6 mths – clearly this would result in the loss of his Naval career. At the trial by judge alone on the charge of assaulting a police officer, the court found that our client was NOT GUILTY.
Possession of Cocaine w/Intent to Distribute - CHARGES DISMISSED
We were retained by our client’s father to represent his son on charges in Portsmouth for Possession of Cocaine with the Intent to Distribute (PWID) and Possession of a Firearm while PWID, both felonies. Our client’s father retained the law firm of McCormack & McCormack once the case had been through the preliminary hearing and was already in circuit court. We were advised that the public defender that was representing our client had secured a plea agreement which would have found him guilty of PWID, dismissed the weapons charge, and sentenced him to 5 year’s supervised probation. Our client had come to Portsmouth from New York to visit family; however narcotics were apparently being sold from their residence. After obtaining a search warrant for that address, Portsmouth SWAT raided the home, where our client, along with his sister and her boyfriend, were also arrested on similar charges. Multiple firearms and a quantity of narcotics were recovered inside the same room as our client in the small home. The prosecutor advised us that the officers were prepared to testify that our client was observed directing purchasers of narcotics to the residence, and thus that he was assisting in the sale of the narcotics. We were further advised by the prosecutor that our client had confessed to his involvement in the distribution of narcotics. Once retained, we reviewed the videotaped interrogation of our client, which we discovered showed our client adamantly denying any involvement, contrary to what the police officers had represented to the prosecutor. We then immediately advised the prosecutor that we intended proceed on a contested basis in a jury trial. A short time later, the prosecutor called our office to advise us that all charges against our client would be DISMISSED.
A Navy Chief retained our firm after being charged with DUI and Refusal in Virginia Beach. The arresting officer testified and played his dash camera video at trial, stating that when he pulled up to our client's vehicle, it was stopped in the middle of the road. Our client was standing outside the driver's door to the vehicle, the driver's seat was empty except for her cell phone, and there were two passengers in the vehicle – one in the front passenger seat and the other in the back seat. The keys were not in the ignition and were found in the median of the road. The officer testified that our client had a heavy odor of alcohol, she failed the field sobriety tests, and had admitted to driving. After the officer's testimony and our cross-examination, we made a motion to strike the evidence which the judge GRANTED, finding our client NOT GUILTY of both the DUI and the Refusal.
A local young lady contacted our firm after being charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia in Giles County, VA. Prior to the trial, we were able to negotiate an agreement for her wherein the paraphernalia charge was NOLLE PROSSED, and the possession charge was DEFERRED for one year, at which point it will be DISMISSED.
We were retained by a government contractor whose security clearance was put in serious jeopardy when he was charged with public intoxication in Newport News. Our client had a history of alcohol-related offenses, including DUIs and several public intoxication charges. We attempted in district court to obtain a deferral or a dismissal which was flatly denied by the judge due to the factual nature of the case, as well as our client's long history of alcohol-related offenses. We had discussed on numerous occasions with our client that the likelihood of securing a dismissal or a deferral on this charge was extremely remote, yet we appealed the case as his clearance rested on the successful defense of this charge. In circuit court, the prosecutor refused to agree to a deferral or dismissal and we presented the case to the judge. In presenting our client's direct testimony to the court, he acknowledge his problem, and we elicited testimony and evidence from him to show the court that he had been working intensely since his arrest to get back into rehab and turn his life around. After argument, the court granted our request and DEFERRED the case for 6 months, after which time the charge will be DISMISSED.
A fellow criminal defense attorney from the Tri-State area retained us to represent his step-son, who was incarcerated at the Newport News City Jail on charges including manufacturing marijuana, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm while in possession of marijuana. All three of these charges carry heavy penalties upon conviction, with the firearm charge mandating a minimum sentence of three years, none of that time which may be suspended. At the bond hearing, the prosecutor strongly argued against bond due to the mandatory time imposed upon a conviction, the presumption against bond which these offenses carry, as well as the danger to the community associated with drugs and guns. After hearing our argument and reviewing numerous character letters provided by our client's family and associates, the judge GRANTED a very reasonable secured bond.
A fellow criminal defense attorney from the Tri-State area retained us to represent his step-son, who was incarcerated at the Newport News City Jail on charges including manufacturing marijuana, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm while in possession of marijuana. All three of these charges carry heavy penalties upon conviction, with the firearm charge mandating a minimum sentence of three years, none of that time which may be suspended. Our client had one prior marijuana misdemeanor charge on his record, and the facts leading to his arrest were that our client's home was searched which resulted in the discovery of numerous marijuana plants in varying stages of growth and processing, planting and maintenance materials for those plants, and a weapon. As a result of lengthy negotiations with the Commonwealth Attorney, they agreed to NOLLE PROSSE the weapons charge as well as the possession with the intent to distribute charge, and our client plead guilty to the manufacturing charge, with ALL JAIL TIME SUSPENDED, and only one year of supervised probation.
A highly-decorated EOD tech in the U.S. Navy retained us after being convicted in Virginia Beach General District Court for disturbing the peace, a class 1 misdemeanor, and drunk in public. The facts of the case were extremely difficult to deal with from a defense perspective – it was alleged that our client was involved in a confrontation with a cab driver when the police showed up. In his alleged state of extreme intoxication, he was accused of assaulting the driver through the window of the cab while the officers were trying to restrain him. In District Court, the judge did not give him any jail time at all – no active time and no suspended time. When we first met with the client, we advised that the likely best-case scenario would be if the prosecutor agreed to reduce or defer one or both of the charges, and if that did not happen, then it would be a serious risk to re-try the case based upon the factual scenario and the high probability of active incarceration if convicted.
The prosecutor refused any plea in the case due to the serious nature of the facts. After confirming which judge was going to hear the case on the day of trial, we proceeded to attempt to secure a positive result for our client, knowing that the risk was still extremely high that he could come out far worse than he was prior to the appeal. Prior to the trial, we compiled an extraordinarily impressive sentencing package for the judge to review, which was full of our client's outstanding service record: his evaluations, commendations, awards, and character letters. Based on our strategy for the case, we entered a not guilty plea to both charges, but stipulated to the sufficiency of the evidence.
The prosecutor and officer summarized the facts of the case, followed by our presentation of our client's sentencing package and mitigation case. The prosecutor thereafter asked that our client be convicted of both offenses, while we requested a dismissal or deferral of the charges. The judge noted how impressive our client's career had been to that point, and thereafter DISMISSED the disturbing the peace charge, and DEFERRED the drunk in public charge, which will be DISMISSED after a short period of good behavior. This result undoubtedly salvaged our client's impressive career, and allowed him to return to protecting our nation's troops.