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Virginia Fairfax County Reckless Driving Double Jeopardy Claim Suspended License Lawyers Attorney

Commonwealth of Virginia v. Corey S. Gibson
CIRCUIT COURT OF FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA
May 16, 1996

On February 23, 1996, one police officer notices defendant Corey S. Gibson driving at unlawful speed in the Tysons Corner area of Fairfax County and starts pursuing him. When defendant noticed that he was being pursued by a police officer, he accelerated away at a high rate of speed and crossed an intersection where a second police officer began pursuing him. When apprehended, defendant told the second police officer that he attempted to elude the officer because he was driving on a suspended license. On March 1, 1996, Gibson was tried in the Fairfax County General District Court and convicted of reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, and speeding to elude. Later Gibson again stood trial in the Fairfax County General District Court on identical charges brought by the second police officer and was convicted of each of the charges. Defendant sought review of the order and claimed that his rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause of U.S. Const. amend. V and Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-294 were violated when he was again tried in another court on identical charges brought by a different police officer.

Issues:

  • Whether the driving on suspended charge has to be dismissed on double jeopardy grounds?
  • Whether the double jeopardy claim applies to reckless driving and speeding to elude charges?

Discussion:

This Court finds that defendant has met his burden of proof on the driving on suspended charge. The first officer’s testimony at trial was clear that defendant was involved in one continuous act of driving from the time he first observed the motorcycle in the Tysons Corner area until Gibson was apprehended by the State Police. The same elements of driving after his license had been suspended were implicated in the charges brought by both the first and second police officer. This court held that the driving on suspended charge must be dismissed on double jeopardy grounds.

This court held that the defendant’s double jeopardy argument must nonetheless fail as to the remaining two charges. The second police officer charged Gibson with reckless driving and speeding to elude based upon driving conduct at the interchange of Routes 495 and 95. While the first police officer charged him with committing the same offense in the Tysons Corner area. The defendant has failed to establish that the acts of reckless driving and speeding to elude, which support the charges brought by the first officer bore any relationship to the charges brought by the second police officer. Consequently, as the defendant has failed to satisfy his burden of establishing that the offenses are identical, the Court rejects his double jeopardy claim on the reckless driving and speeding to elude charges.

Conclusion:

This court hence held the defendant guilty of reckless driving and speeding to elude but dismissed the charge of driving on a suspended license because the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause barred defendant’s second prosecution of the identical offense.

Disclaimer:

These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group.  They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions.  The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content


Source by Atchuthan Sriskandarajah

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