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Virginia man accused of DUI manslaughter faces new drug charge

Although individuals are not guilty of a crime unless they are convicted, some Virginia defendants will await trial in jail. Bond is set as a guarantee that freed defendants will return to court. Newport News judges can change their minds about a defendant's freedom if circumstances warrant refusing or revoking bond.

Prosecutors want bond revoked for a sailor who was arrested on a Norfolk drug charge for trying to purchase oxycodone. The man was out on bond for a Virginia Beach case involving the drunk-driving death of a pedestrian. Court papers said the defendant indicated he was planning to use the oxycodone to take his own life.

The fatal pedestrian accident happened in May when the defendant was charged with repeat DUI and involuntary manslaughter. The 30-year-old man's sibling told a judge her brother was a cancer patient who WTKR-TV reported underwent a double-lung transplant in April. Conditional bond was granted.

The defendant, a Navy petty officer, was ordered to stay alcohol and drug free, wear an alcohol monitor and remain in military custody at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center, except for legal or medical reasons. He was not permitted to drive but was allowed to be driven by the military or close relatives. Eventually, he got a court's permission to take limited rides on a bicycle.

Less than two weeks later, the sailor was under arrest for the felony drug charge. A preliminary hearing in the Virginia Beach case takes place later this month. The television station reported that at the time of the pedestrian fatality, the defendant's blood alcohol content level was 0.25 percent, more than three times the legal limit.

Freedom on bond, even with several restrictions, gives defendants the chance to be with supportive family and friends. Liberty becomes fragile when courts believe defendants will run from the law or pose a danger to society -- or themselves.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, "Suspect in DUI fatality accused of trying to buy drugs" Jillian Beck, Aug. 08, 2014

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