Monday, January 7, 2013

Case against motorist who struck cyclist in Vienna

The saga of the motorist who was alleged to have intentionally struck a cyclist with his vehicle continues. The cyclist was riding on Maple Ave. in Vienna. We attended the court hearing once again this morning. This is the third scheduled hearing for this case. It was delayed in October and November and there was supposed to be "one more postponement" that was scheduled for today.

After sitting through around 75 cases, the case against the motorist, John Thorpe of Bristow, was the last one called. Once again the bicyclist did not appear although there were two witnesses present. After discussing the case with the Town Attorney, the aggressive driving charge was amended to reckless driving. The Town Attorney will move to null process the assault charge. Null process means that the prosecutor will take no further action on the charge.

There is a hearing scheduled for April 1 on the aggressive driving charge. The presence of witnesses was waived. Without any witnesses for the prosecution, there won't be much of a case. The lesson here is that if you're going to seek charges against a motorist, you've got to follow through and be willing to appear in court. Otherwise it's a waste of everyone's time.

Regarding the other cases heard this morning, most were for speeding that resulted in fines. Three DWI cases were heard. According to Judge Michael Cassidy, the maximum penalties were $1,500 fine, 180 days in jail, and 12 month license suspension. These were the penalties in the three cases: $500, $750, and $250 fines, 0 days, 4 days, and 5 days (min. sentence given the high blood alcohol level) prison sentence, and no license suspension if an Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) class was completed. It doesn't matter if Virginia has the "toughest DUI laws in the country" if only the minimum sentences are given.

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Meanwhile, if you get caught going too fast on a back country rode in the Shenandoah, you pay $175. It doesn't matter if you were doing the speed limit until you switched roads and there weren't signs because ignorance isn't excuse. Or that there are no houses, no people, and just trees.... "you could hit a deer."

However, if you're a US Senator, drunk, run and red and get a DUI, your infraction will cost you $75 more.

Yep, justice.

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