Friday, August 12, 2005

General district court judge finds Virginia DUI law unconstitutional

Here is the AP story which begins: "A Fairfax County judge has ruled that key components of Virginia's drunken driving laws are unconstitutional, citing an obscure, decades-old U.S. Supreme Court decision that could prompt similar challenges nationwide."

The lawyer who raised the issue explained that "O'Flaherty's ruling is based on a 1985 U.S. Supreme Court case called Francis v. Franklin, which deals with prosecutors' obligation to prove all elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt." She said that "Virginia's law is problematic not just because of the presumption of intoxication at 0.08, but also a presumption in the law that the blood-alcohol level at the time the test is taken is equal to the level at the time of the offense, even if the test occurs hours after police make a stop."

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