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The Celebrity Criminal Docket – Rapper DMX arrested for driving 102mph.

No stranger to the criminal justice system, famed rapper DMX (born Earl Simmons) was arrested yesterday in Arizona for driving 102 miles per hour in a 65mph zone.  Reports suggest that he was charged with criminal speed, reckless driving, and driving on a suspended license.  Under current Virginia traffic laws, similar conduct could have resulted in DMX facing at least two Class 1 Misdemeanors.  In Virginia, Class 1 misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500, either or both.  Maximum sentences on just two charges equates to 24 months of jail time should the judge order them to be served consecutively!

At this time it is unclear what particular method law enforcement utilized to determine the speed of DMX’s vehicle.  While 102 in a 65 is an eye-opener to read, I am certain there will be issues for X’s counsel to explore regarding proper speed detection methods.  Given DMX’s long record (at least 10 convictions), a conviction on his most recent charges could result in maximum punishment on all charges.  If I were representing Darkman X, I would immediately conduct a due diligence investigation into the equipment used to track speed and the particular officer’s training, certification, and operation of speed detection equipment that night.  I also recommend to my clients that they have the speedometer on their vehicle calibrated for accuracy.  I doubt DMX’s speedometer was off by 38 miles, but at such a high speed, anything that can help is worth pursuing.

TLODLB will track this case and post updates as they become available.

*This blog site is intended to give for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed as formal legal advice and should not be interpreted to create a lawyer/client relationship.  Attorney Bugg is admitted to practice law before the courts of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the District of Columbia, the federal courts of the Eastern District of Virginia, and the United States Supreme Court. 

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Virginia Traffic Law: Is Leaving The Scene of an Accident Considered a Felony or Misdemeanor?

In juridictions throughout Northern Virginia, the charge of Leaving the Scene of an Accident, or Hit and Run as it is commonly referred to, frequently appears on the traffic/criminal docket.

Traffic laws in Virginia are set out in the Code of Virginia, primarily in Title 46.2.  The Code of Virginia also defines whether a crime is considered a misdemeanor or a felony.  Generally, misdemeanors are offenses that come with no more than 12 months in jail and felonies are offenses for which jail time can exceed anything over one year.  That is the basic distinction between the two.  As you would assume from the penalties involved, a misdemeanor is a lesser offense than a felony.

Section 46.2-894 of the Code of Virgina places a duty on any driver involved in an accident to immediately stop as close to the scene of the accident as possible without obstructing the flow of traffic.  Section 46.2-894 also requires any driver involved in an accident to provide certain information to the other driver and/or law enforcement, as well as render reasonable assistance to any injured persons.  Failure to do so is a jailable traffic traffic offense that carries with it the possible punishments described above.  Whether or not the offense is a felony or misdemeanor hinges on if the accident results in injury to or the death of any person, or if the accident causes more than $1,000.00 in damage.

Essentially, failing to stop at the scene of a garden variety fender-bender where there are no injuries and only miminal damage to a vehicle should proceed as a misdemeanor offense.  However, anyone that has ever had to take their car to a body shop following an accident knows that $1,000.00 in damage is a benchmark that is easily reached.  Depending on the year, make, and model of the cars involved, a broken taillight and crushed bumper can cost thousands to repair.  Also, you likely noticed that the amount or type of injury sustained is not defined by the Code of Virginia.  Obviously death and serious physical injury are intended to be covered.  But what about a sprained wrist or a small bruise to a knee?

If you’ve been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, you should speak with an experienced traffic law attorney to discuss your rights and options.

*This blog site is intended to give for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed as formal legal advice and should not be interpreted to create a lawyer/client relationship.