Man Convicted of 12th DUI in Spotsylvania County

Pleads Guilty to Felony DWI in Spotsylvania, VA

VA DUI Spotsylvania
David Maron Apraham

A man pleaded guilty yesterday in Spotsylvania County, Virginia to his 12th DUI offense.

David Maron Apraham entered his guilty plea in the Spotsylvania Circuit Court for felony driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license and refusal to take a breathalyzer test. As part of a plea agreement, the Commonwealth’s Attorney dropped a felony charge of eluding a police officer.

Apraham will be sentenced on November 6, 2012. He faces a maximum of seven years in prison for the offense.

According to the plea agreement, Mr. Apraham was first convicted of drunk driving in Mississippi in 1990. He has been convicted of DUI in Mississippi six times as well as three times in Alabama. He was also convicted twice in Virginia: once in Williamsburg in 2008 and again in Colonial Heights in February 2012. Furthermore, he is wanted in the states of Alaska, Mississippi, North Carolina and Washington for DUI-related crimes.

The felony incident occurred in November 2011 when a Spotsylvania County deputy saw Apraham stumbling around a BMW dealership late at night. Apraham got into a pickup truck and drove off. The deputy saw the pickup truck swerve over the double-yellow line three times. When the officer turned on his emergency lights and siren, Apraham proceeded to speed up before turning into a parking lot.

The suspect was handcuffed after he fell while walking towards the officer. Apraham admitted having five beers some five hours early, but he smelled strongly of alcohol. He refused to take a breathalyzer test.

Apraham is being held without bond in the Rappahannock Regional Jail. He will be sentenced on November 6, 2012 for felony DUI in Spotsylvania, VA.

Weiland Upton is a leading firm of Virginia DUI Lawyers

Call 804.355.8037 for a free consultation

How Virginia Assesses Points on Your Driving Record

Speeding in Virginia? How many points is that?

Upon receiving a speeding ticket in Virginia, most drivers want to know how many points will be placed on their driving record. Virginia’s Uniform Demerit Point System can be a bit confusing. It is important for both in-state and out-of-state drivers to understand Virginia’s Uniform Demerit Point System.

All Virginia-licensed drivers and residents are subject to Virginia’s Uniform Demerit Point System. The Commonwealth’s demerit point system does not apply to out of state drivers. For example, a person, licensed in North Carolina, convicted of reckless driving eighty-eight (88) miles per hour in a sixty-five (65) mile-per-hour zone in Henrico County General District Court would be subject to North Carolina’s demerit point system, not Virginia’s. As a result, it is important for out-of-state drivers to contact their state’s department of motor vehicles to determine the applicable demerit points associated with their specific charge.

All Virginia drivers start with zero points on their driving records. Virginia licensed drivers receive one positive (+1) point for every year of good driving. In-state drivers may receive positive five (+5) points by voluntarily completing a defensive driving school. However, this can only be done once every two years. Five points are the maximum positive points permitted by law in the state. As a result, the best driver point balance in Virginia is +5 points.

There are three categories of negative point violations: three demerit point violations, four demerit point violations, and six demerit point violations. Examples of six demerit point violations are DUI, reckless driving by speed, speeding in excess of eighty miles per hour, speeding in excess of twenty miles per hour, and driving on a suspended license. For instance, a Virginia licensed driver or resident convicted of DUI would receive six negative points on their driving record. If a person is convicted of more than one demerit point violation with the same offense date, then that person is assessed demerit points for the highest demerit point violation. For example, a person convicted of DUI and speeding seventy-nine miles per hour in a seventy mile per hour zone in Chesterfield County General District Court would be assessed six negative demerit points for the DUI conviction. No demerit points would be assessed for the speeding conviction.

VA speeding ticket lawyers points drivers license

Click here for a full list of Virginia traffic violations and their corresponding demerit points. 

There is no limit to the number of negative points a person may accumulate. A person who accumulates negative twelve demerit points in a twelve consecutive month period or negative twenty-four demerit points in an eighteen consecutive month period will be placed on probation. This probationary period lasts for six months. Any person convicted of a demerit point violation during the probationary period will have their license suspended for ninety days (six demerit point violations), sixty days (four demerit point violations), or forty-five days (three demerit point violations). For example, a person convicted of reckless driving by speed, who is on probation, will have their driver’s license suspended for ninety days because reckless driving by speed is a six demerit point violation. However, people suspended while on probation may be eligible to petition the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles for a restricted driver’s license.

A person who successfully makes it through the probationary period with no demerit point violations will, then, be placed on an eighteen month control period. A person who receives a demerit point violation during the control period will be placed back on a six month probationary period. Additionally, a person who violates probation will have their probation extended for an additional six months.

The best advice is to try to avoid being placed on probation. You should take even minor traffic infractions seriously because demerit points tend to sneak up on people. For example, a person with zero points who pays off three speeding tickets they received within the same year may be placed on probation. Experienced traffic attorneys, like the lawyers at Weiland Upton, know how to advise their clients to avoid the accumulation of demerit points from reckless driving and speeding tickets in Virginia.

Weiland Upton is a leading firm of Virginia Speeding Ticket Lawyers

Call (804) 355-8037 for a free consultation

Virginia DUI Lawyer Has Charges Reduced for Client


Virginia Drunk Driving Charges Reduced

A lawyer at the Law Firm of Weiland Upton recently defended two clients in a Virginia courtroom charged with driving under the influence. The attorney attained successful results in both DUI cases.

One client was charged with a second offense DUI and refusal to take a breathalyzer test. If convicted of both charges, our client would have suffered severe consequences.

The combination of both the refusal charge and the second offense DUI would have resulted in the following:

  •  A mandatory-minimum sentence of twenty (20) days in jail
  •  License suspension for four (4) years
  •  Inability to obtain a restricted license for the two years of his suspension
  • Ignition interlock on all vehicles he owned

In his discussions with the Commonwealth Attorney, the attorney at Weiland Upton was successful in convincing the prosecutor that there may have been a legal issue with the initial stop of the client by the police officer. The prosecutor agreed to dismiss the refusal charge and reduce the charge of driving under the influence from a second offense to a first offense DUI. As such, the defendant did not receive any active jail time, was immediately given a restricted license and did not have to install ignition interlock in his vehicle.

The other client was charged with a first offense DUI. Due to mitigating circumstances, the attorney was able to negotiate a reduction from driving while under the influence of alcohol to reckless driving. Our client avoided a mandatory one year suspension of his license and did not have to enroll in the in the Virginia Alcohol Action Safety Program required in a DUI conviction.

Weiland Upton has years of experience providing quality legal representation in Virginia traffic cases. Our office specializes in traffic law, and we are prepared to attain the best possible result in your Virginia DUI case.

Weiland Upton is a leading firm of VA DUI Attorneys

Call (804) 355-8037 for a free consultation

Virginia Requires Ignition Interlock for DUI Convictions

VA Drunk Drivers Must Install Ignition Interlock Device

Virginia DUI VA DWI
The driver must blow into the ignition interlock device before the vehicle will start.

Beginning July 1, 2012, any person convicted of DUI in Virginia must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle in order to be eligible for a restricted driver’s license. Prior to recent changes in the law, an ignition interlock device was only required for convicted, first-time drunk driving offenders with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher and for all second and subsequent offenders. The legal driving limit is 0.08.

An ignition interlock system is similar to a breathalyzer but it is installed in a motor vehicle. The person operating the motor vehicle must blow into the device prior to starting it. If the interlock system detects alcohol content above a 0.02, the device will prevent the motor vehicle from starting. The device then asks for a reading every 20 to 30 minutes while the car is being driven in what is known as the “rolling test.” This is to ensure that the driver has not started drinking after turning on the vehicle. If a person fails the “rolling test,” the vehicle’s horn and lights will activate until the driver shuts off the car. Violations are reported to the driver’s VASAP Case Manager when the device is calibrated every month.

In Virginia, a person convicted of drunk driving can choose from four state-approved companies to install the ignition interlock device. These four companies have locations all across the Commonwealth. At the moment, none of them are charging an installation fee, but all four charge approximately $60 every month to monitor the system. By law, these companies are allowed to charge a maximum of $80 a month in monitoring fees.

Bart Chucker, a former partner of the firm, recently estimated in a Richmond-Times Dispatch article that more than 15,000 first-time DUI offenders will be affected by the ignition interlock system by the end of the year. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, 28,162 people were convicted of DUI in the state in 2011.

Persons convicted of a first offense DUI must have an interlock device installed in any motor vehicle driven as a condition of receiving a restricted license. This requirement is limited to motor vehicles driven by that person. A court may allow that person to drive a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock device if that person has to drive a vehicle during work hours as a condition of their employment. This limited exception does not apply if the person has an ownership interest in the business.

The ignition interlock requirements differ for persons convicted of second offense DUI. Persons convicted of second offense DUI must have an ignition interlock device installed in every motor vehicle owned or registered to that person. As a result, it may be wise for that person to own one motor vehicle at the time of their conviction. This will save that person the expense of installing the ignition interlock device on multiple vehicles.

Those convicted of driving under the influence will now be paying more money out of pocket as a result of the new ignition interlock requirement, making it more important than ever to seek quality legal representation if you’ve been charged with driving under the influence in Virginia.

Weiland Upton is a leading firm of Virginia DUI attorneys

Call (804) 355-8037 for a free consultation

Virginia DUI and Reckless Driving: License Suspension

Drivers Risk a Suspended License for DWI or Reckless Driving in VA

Virginia judges are authorized to suspend a person’s driving privileges within the state for convictions of reckless driving by speed, reckless driving resulting from an accident, and driving under the influence. Any license suspension imposed for reckless driving is left to the discretion of the court and may be as long as six months. Out-of-state drivers convicted of DUI in Virginia face a mandatory one year suspension of license. Such suspensions only affect a person’s ability to drive in Virginia. A Virginia judge cannot suspend an out-of-state driver’s license to drive in any other state. As a result, a driver with a Pennsylvania license convicted of a DUI in Virginia can operate a car in any state, except Virginia. However, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles may communicate the suspension to Pennsylvania, at which point the appropriate government entity in Pennsylvania can choose to suspend that person’s driver’s license.

Virginia judges are barred by law from seizing an out-of-state driver’s license after suspending that person’s privilege to drive in Virginia. The applicable part of Virginia Code §46.2-398 states:

For any revocation or suspension of a privilege to drive in Virginia of a person who does not have a Virginia driver’s license but who does have a valid driver’s license from another jurisdiction, the court shall not order the physical surrender of such license.

This prevents Virginia courts from physically taking a person’s out-of-state driver’s license once the court suspends or revokes that person’s driving privileges in Virginia. So, the court cannot take a driver’s North Carolina license after convicting that person of reckless driving by speed. The court may only suspend that person’s ability to drive in Virginia. The person can drive in North Carolina or any other state up until their North Carolina driver’s license is suspended by the appropriate government entity in North Carolina.

Courts may issue out-of-state motorists restricted driving privileges in Virginia. This typically happens when a person possesses a driver’s license from a bordering state—Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, or West Virginia—and works in Virginia. For instance, a Virginia judge is able to grant restricted driving privileges to a person convicted of DUI in Virginia who is licensed in Maryland and commutes to Caroline County, VA. Under this scenario, the person would be permitted to drive from Maryland to their place of employment in Caroline County. They may also be allowed to drive to and from school or be granted a variety of other restricted driving privileges as deemed worthy by the court.

A reckless driving or DUI conviction in Virginia can change your entire livelihood, especially your ability to travel freely to work, school, or to the doctor. And driving on a suspended license will only compound your legal woes down the line. Do not risk having your driving privileges suspended in a Virginia courtroom. Contact an experienced attorney if you’ve been charged with a DUI or reckless driving in Virginia.

Weiland Upton is a leading firm of Virginia DWI and Reckless Driving Lawyers

Call (804) 355-8037 for a free consultation

From the Skies: Cuts in Virginia Aerial Traffic Enforcement

VA Cutting Speeding Tickets Enforced by Aircraft

VA Speeding and Reckless Driving Ticket
These Virginia highway signs are quickly becoming a thing of the past

Virginia has limited the number of speeding tickets issued by aircraft enforcement. It is just one of the many states in the country that have decreased their aircraft patrols to catch speed and traffic violators.

Driving on Virginia’s interstates, you may see large signs stating “Speed limit enforced by aircraft.” In 2000, Virginia State Police initiated an aggressive aerial traffic enforcement campaign to catch violators on the state’s roadways. However, since 2007, those programs have been cut drastically. In 2011, the State Police’s aviation division, based in Richmond, flew one mission, issuing tickets to only 20 drivers. It flew four missions in 2010 and didn’t fly any speed enforcement missions in 2009.

Corinne Geller, a spokesperson for the Virginia State Police, said “Due to economic conditions and mandated budget cuts… we’ve had to look at cost savings.”

Speed enforcement flights were once paid for with federal grants, but with cuts in federal spending, police departments around the country have put their troopers back on the highways.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that aerial enforcement missions require a plane, a pilot, a spotter who times cars as they travel between road markings, and a number of police cruisers on the ground to issue the speeding tickets. It costs Virginia State Police about $150 an hour to fly the planes. That number includes fuel and maintenance, but not officers’ salaries.

The use of aircraft was advantageous in enforcing violations in heavy traffic or over long distances. However, developments in laser technology have evened the field for officers on the ground, making aerial missions almost obsolete for police bureaus facing major budget cuts.

But not all states have done away with aerial traffic enforcement. The Ohio State Highway Patrol issued over 16,000 speeding tickets from aircraft last year. Florida issues an average of 30,000 tickets ever year from the sky.

While police in Virginia may be decreasing their air patrols, laser speed readers are filling in and traffic patrols are as numerous as ever. Contact an attorney if you’ve received a speeding ticket in Virginia.

Weiland Upton is a leading firm of Virginia Speeding Ticket Lawyers

Call 804.355.8037 for a free consultation


Hanover County Reckless Driving Results


Attorney Has Reckless Driving Cases Reduced in Hanover, Virginia

The Old Hanover County Courthouse

A lawyer from Weiland Upton recently handled three reckless driving cases in Hanover County, Virginia. The Hanover General District Court is one of the more difficult courts in Virginia in which to obtain a favorable outcome in a traffic case. Our firm prides itself on providing the best defense possible, even under such circumstances.

Two of our clients were charged with reckless driving by speed, going 88 miles per hour and 86 miles per hour, respectively, in a 70 mile-per-hour zone. Reckless driving by speed is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia and can result in lofty fines, high insurance premiums and six demerit points on your driving record. Even at these speeds, there’s a possibility that the Hanover General District Court will suspend your license. Our clients had good driving records. In both cases, our attorney had the charges reduced to improper driving, which is a simple traffic infraction. They received a fine, but avoided the crippling insurance premiums, excessive demerit points and suspended driving privileges that come with a reckless driving conviction.

We also represented another motorist charged with reckless driving by speed in Hanover County, for going 85 miles per our in a 70-mile-per-hour zone. The driver faced similar consequences, albeit while going a slightly lesser speed. Due to mitigating circumstances, the Court gave our client driving school for dismissal. So long as our client completes a court-approved, eight-hour driver safety class, the Court will dismiss the charge.

It is vital you consult with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney before going to court for a reckless driving ticket in Hanover, Virginia.

Weiland Upton is a leading firm of Virginia Reckless Driving Lawyers

Call (804) 355-8037 for a free consultation