In a recent case coming out of a Virginia court, the defendant appealed his convictions for driving under the influence and refusing to submit to a field sobriety test. On appeal, the defendant argued that the police officer he spoke with did not have reason to suspect that he was intoxicated, thus making it illegal for the officer to force him to submit to a breath test. The court disagreed with the defendant, citing several indictors that the officer used to suspect that the defendant had been consuming alcohol.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, an officer in Virginia was on patrol one evening when he came across a single-vehicle accident on the side of the road. The officer saw that a car had struck a tree, but also that the car was unoccupied with a cold hood and warm engine. The officer also noticed several beer cans outside of the car’s door.
While investigating the scene, the officer saw the defendant emerging from behind some bushes. The defendant acknowledged that the car next to the road belonged to him and explained that the crash had happened a few minutes prior because he had turned off for the exit too soon. The officer asked the defendant for his driver’s license, and the defendant could not find it, even though it was later found in one of his pockets.