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Virginia driver convicted after vodka-before-driving admission

Newport News defendants can harm their legal cases by making incriminating statements. Defendants may not realize what they say can come back to haunt them in court. Criminal defense lawyers tell anyone charged with a crime to remain silent, as is your right, until legal counsel advises otherwise.

A Virginia woman was convicted of assault by auto in a recent trial. The Cape Charles driver was accused of crashing into another vehicle in April 2013. The alleged car accident victim testified she was prescribed pain medication for back, neck and shoulder injuries after her car was shoved off a West Deptford road.

The defendant reportedly confessed to investigators that she had downed three vodkas within a half hour just before the accident. During the two-day trial, the defendant's mother revealed her daughter suffered from health problems that could have impacted a field sobriety test. During prosecutor questioning, the mother also revealed the defendant had alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver.

The defendant was administered that test after the crash, but refused an alcohol breath test. The prosecutor asserted the defendant wouldn't take the test because she knew she was driving under the influence.

Sentencing for the assault by auto conviction will occur in October. The 37-year-old woman also will be penalized for breath test refusal, DWI and careless driving.

Drug courts provide intensive treatment programs for qualified substance abusers charged with nonviolent felonies. According to the Virginia Drug Court Association, the alternative program helps users achieve long-term sobriety, while saving the Commonwealth court and prison costs. The VDCA claims drug courts also do something prisons can't – restore families.

A criminal defense attorney is aware substance addiction is a serious problem for some defendants. When possible, a lawyer will work to have a client placed in a drug court program. Successful treatment and compliance can have a tremendously positive impact on a client's case and health.

Source: NJ.com, "Former Westville resident convicted of assault by auto in West Deptford crash" South Jersey Times, Jul. 26, 2014

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