If you are part of a traffic offence in Virginia, you may be in a lot of trouble. The traffic laws in Virginia are strict. You may receive an administrative and a criminal penalty or both for a traffic offence. It is why you should be aware of all the traffic laws. The Fairfax County is a place where you may end up in a road accident or any other offence such as over speeding or reckless driving, etc. To get out of trouble and not get penalised, you should hire a Fairfax Virginia, traffic lawyer. Only a lawyer will help you and make sure that the state does not put maximum charges for your offence. Traffic laws are a vast area of law which you need to study. You may not even know, and you may be part of a traffic offence. Parking in the wrong area is also a traffic offence. Not reading the signs or making a U-turn where you should not is also a traffic offence. All these offence s can earn you a traffic ticket. It is why knowing the laws and having a lawyer is a good idea. When you know the laws, you will not break them. If by any chance you are making an offence, you should have a traffic lawyer to back you up.
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Except as otherwise provided in this article, the maximum speed limit shall be 55 miles per hour on interstate highways or other limited access highways with divided roadways, nonlimited access highways having four or more lanes, and all state primary highways.
The maximum speed limit on all other highways shall be 55 miles per hour if the vehicle is a passenger motor vehicle, bus, pickup or panel truck, or a motorcycle, but 45 miles per hour on such highways if the vehicle is a truck, tractor truck, or combination of vehicles designed to transport property, or is a motor vehicle being used to tow a vehicle designed for self-propulsion, or a house trailer.
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the maximum speed limit shall be 70 miles per hour where indicated by lawfully placed signs, erected subsequent to a traffic engineering study and analysis of available and appropriate accident and law-enforcement data, on: (i) interstate highways, (ii) multilane, divided, limited access highways, and (iii) high-occupancy vehicle lanes if such lanes are physically separated from regular travel lanes. The maximum speed limit shall be 60 miles per hour where indicated by lawfully placed signs, erected subsequent to a trfc engineering study and analysis of available and appropriate accident and law-enforcement data, on U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 58, U.S. Route 360, U.S. Route 460, and on U.S. Route 17 between the town of Port Royal and Saluda where they are nonlimited access, multilane, divided highways.
A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit.
Kevin Ray Mitchem (appellant) appeals from his conviction of felony driving under the influence (DUI), third or subsequent offense, in violation of Code §§ 18.2-266 and 18.2-270. On appeal, appellant contends the trial court erred in admitting his Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) driving transcript as proof of a prior conviction. Specifically, appellant argues the presumption of validity given to DMV transcripts, articulated in Code § 46.2-384, and the burden on appellant to rebut this presumption, violates his right to due process and his rights under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Finding appellant failed to make these arguments before the trial court, we hold the issues are not properly preserved for appeal. Appellant further contends the trial court erred in denying his motion to strike the evidence, because the DMV transcript was insufficient to prove his prior DUI conviction, and thus insufficient to prove a third or subsequent offense. We find the evidence sufficient to prove appellant’s prior convictions, and, accordingly, we affirm appellant’s conviction.
“On appeal, ‘we review the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, granting to it all reasonable inferences fairly deducible therefrom.’” Archer v. Commonwealth, 26 Va. App. 1, 11, 492 S.E.2d 826, 831 (1997) (quoting Martin v. Commonwealth, 4 Va. App. 438, 443, 358 S.E.2d 415, 418, 4 Va. Law Rep. 127 (1987)).
So viewed, the evidence showed that on October 27, 2007, appellant was arrested for DUI, having been convicted of DUI on two previous occasions within the past ten years. As a result, appellant was charged with DUI as a third or subsequent offense committed within a ten-year period, in violation of Code §§ 18.2-266 and 18.2-270.
At trial, the Commonwealth admitted into evidence, without objection, a certified conviction order of appellant’s DUI in Fauquier County. In addition, the Commonwealth sought admission of a portion of appellant’s DMV transcript to establish appellant’s DUI conviction in Prince William County. Appellant objected to the admission of the DMV transcript on several grounds. First, appellant argued the transcript was inadmissible hearsay because the Commonwealth failed to lay a proper foundation. With regard to this objection, appellant’s counsel also stated, “generally speaking, it’s not good enough.” Second, appellant argued that admission of the transcript violated the rule articulated in Sargent v. Commonwealth, 5 v. App. 143, 360 S.E.2d 895, 4 v. Law Rep. 762 (1987), because the Commonwealth failed to prove appellant was represented by counsel in his prior convictions. Finally, appellant argued the Commonwealth failed to comply with the requirements of Code § 46.2-384, which governs the admission of DMV transcripts into evidence, claiming the Commonwealth did not certify the transcript under Code § 46.2-386. The trial court admitted the transcript over appellant’s objections.
At the close of evidence, appellant moved to strike the evidence, again arguing that without a conviction order, the DMV transcript was insufficient to show appellant’s prior DUI conviction. The trial court denied appellant’s motion to strike and found appellant guilty of DUI, third or subsequent offense, in violation of Code §§ 18.2-266 and 18.2-270. This appeal followed.
On appeal, appellant argues that Code § 46.2-384 is unconstitutional because it impermissibly shifts the burden to appellant to produce evidence that he was not convicted of a prior DUI offense, thus depriving him of his due process rights. Appellant further contends the Commonwealth’s use of the DMV transcript to establish its prima facie case violates the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Finding appellant failed to make these objections in the trial court, we hold appellant is procedurally barred from making these arguments for the first time on appeal.
Rule 5A:18 requires that objections to a trial court’s action or ruling be made with specificity in order to preserve an issue for appeal. See Nelson v. Commonwealth, 50 v. App. 413, 420-21, 650 S.E.2d 562, 566 (2007) (citing Rule 5A:18; Edwards v. Commonwealth, 41 v. App. 752, 760, 589 S.E.2d 444, 448 (2003) (en banc)). A trial court must be alerted to the precise issue to which a party objects. Buck v. Commonwealth, 247 v. 449, 452-53, 443 S.E.2d 414, 416, 10 v. Law Rep. 1269 (1994) (holding that appellant’s failure to raise the same specific arguments “before the trial court precludes him from raising them for the first time on appeal”); see also, Neal v. Commonwealth, 15 v. App. 416, 422-23, 425 S.E.2d 521, 525, 9 v. Law Rep. 614 (1992). “Rule 5A:18 applies to bar even constitutional claims.” Ohree v. Commonwealth, 26 v. App. 299, 308, 494 S.E.2d 484, 488 (1998) (citing Deal v. Commonwealth, 15 v. App. 157, 161, 421 S.E.2d 897, 900, 9 v. Law Rep. 402 (1992)). The main purpose of this rule is to ensure that the trial court and the opposing party are given the opportunity to intelligently address, examine, and resolve issues in the trial court, thus avoiding unnecessary appeals and reversals. Lee v. Lee, 12 v. App. 512, 514, 404 S.E.2d 736, 737, 7 v. Law Rep. 2647 (1991) (en banc).
Upon review of the record in this case, appellant failed to make the specific arguments to the trial court he now makes on appeal. At trial, appellant objected to admission of the DMV transcript on the ground that it was inadmissible hearsay. He also claimed its admission would be inconsistent with the rule advanced in Sargent, 5 v. App. 143, 360 S.E.2d 895, 4 v. Law Rep. 762, because the Commonwealth failed to prove appellant was represented by counsel in the prior proceeding. In addition, appellant argued the Commonwealth failed to comply with the admissibility requirements of Code § 46.2-384. At no time did appellant contend the presumption of validity pertaining to DMV transcripts in Code § 46.2-384 violated his due process rights or his Confrontation Clause rights under the Sixth Amendment. Because he failed to preserve these objections, he cannot now be heard to make this argument on appeal. See Walton v. Commonwealth, 24 v. App. 757, 485 S.E.2d 641 (1997) (finding the defendant’s objection at trial that suspension of his driver’s license upon conviction for possession of marijuana violated his substantive due process rights, did not preserve for appeal his claim that the suspension violated the Eighth Amendment proscription against cruel and unusual punishment), aff’d, 255 v. 422, 497 S.E.2d 869 (1998).
Appellant contends his argument that the Commonwealth violated the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment is not procedurally barred, in light of Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 129 S. Ct. 2527, 2533-34, 174 L. Ed. 2d 314 (2009), which was decided after the trial in this case. In Melendez-Diaz, the United States Supreme Court held certificates of analysis, detailing the results of forensic testing performed on seized narcotics, are “testimonial,” and, therefore, the preparer of the document is subject to confrontation by the accused. Id. at 2532. Appellant argues that applying Melendez-Diaz, this Court should find the trial court erred in admitting the DMV transcript without subjecting the preparer of the DMV transcript to cross-examination. Without deciding whether DMV transcripts are testimonial under the framework of Melendez-Diaz, we find appellant again failed to make this argument in the trial court.
“The futility of presenting an objection to the state courts cannot alone constitute cause for a failure to object at trial.” Snurkowski v. Commonwealth, 2 v. App. 532, 536, 341 S.E.2d 667, 669, 348 S.E.2d 1, 3 v. Law Rep. 79 (1986). Further, “it is undisputed that a criminal defendant can waive the right to confrontation.” Magruder v. Commonwealth, 275 v. 283, 302, 657 S.E.2d 113, 122 (2008), cert. granted sub nom. Briscoe v. Virginia, 129 S. Ct. 2858, 174 L. Ed. 2d 600 (2009); see Brookhart v. Janis, 384 U.S. 1, 4, 86 S. Ct. 1245, 16 L. Ed. 2d 314 (1966); Bilokur v. Commonwealth, 221 v. 467, 473, 270 S.E.2d 747, 751-52 (1980). Appellant asserted at trial that the DMV transcript was hearsay, not that it violated his rights under the Confrontation Clause. The trial court was not given any indication that appellant sought to cross-examine the DMV Commissioner regarding the accuracy of the transcript. In fact, appellant’s argument at trial was that the Commonwealth did not lay a proper foundation for admission of the transcript as a business record and that “generally speaking, it’s not good enough.” Rule 5A:18 requires that objections to a trial court’s action or ruling be made with specificity in order to preserve an issue for appeal. Nelson, 50 v. App. at 420-21, 650 S.E.2d at 566 (citing Rule 5A:18; Edwards, 41 v. App. at 760, 589 S.E.2d at 448). Appellant’s objection, by its very wording, is a “general” objection and thus does not come close to the specificity required to preserve an issue for appeal. Accordingly, we need not decide whether Melendez-Diaz applies to the facts of this case because appellant did not properly preserve the issue for appeal.
Because the requirements of Rule 5A:18 have not been met, we will not consider appellant’s constitutional arguments. Moreover, because appellant does not ask us to do so, and we may not invoke the ends of justice exception to Rule 5A:18 sua sponte, we hold that appellant waived his constitutional arguments and decline to consider them on appeal. Edwards, 41 v. App. at 761, 589 S.E.2d at 448.
In the alternative, appellant argues that even if the trial court properly admitted the DMV transcript, the evidence was insufficient to prove he committed the two prior DUI offenses. Appellant contends the DMV transcript is unreliable and, absent a court order corroborating the transcript, it is entirely possible the DMV transcript contains erroneous information. Thus, appellant argues the trial court erred in denying his motion to strike.
In enacting Code § 46.2-384, the legislature, in its wisdom, determined that a DMV transcript, certified pursuant to Code § 46.2-215, “shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein with respect to the prior offense.” “Prima facie evidence is ‘sufficient to raise a presumption of fact or establish the fact in question unless rebutted.’” Nicely v. Commonwealth, 25 v. App. 579, 582, 490 S.E.2d 281, 282 (1997) (quoting Moffitt v. Commonwealth, 16 v. App. 983, 987, 434 S.E.2d 684, 687, 10 v. Law Rep. 170 (1993)); see also Dicker v. Commonwealth, 22 v. App. 658, 662, 472 S.E.2d 655, 657 (1966) (finding DMV transcript alone constitutes prima facie proof of the convictions listed and the defendant’s evidence of an allegedly defective order was not sufficient to rebut the presumption of the prior conviction’s validity).
In this case, once the DMV transcript was admitted, the Commonwealth presented a prima facie case sufficient to prove appellant’s prior DUI convictions. Appellant presented no evidence to rebut that presumption. Accordingly, the evidence was sufficient to prove the instant offense was appellant’s third DUI within a ten-year period.
For these reasons, we find Rule 5A:18 bars our consideration of appellant’s argument that Code § 46.2-384 is unconstitutional. We further find the evidence was sufficient to convict appellant of driving under the influence, third or subsequent offense within a ten-year period, in violation of Code §§ 18.2-266 and 18.2-270. Accordingly, we affirm appellant’s conviction.
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