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Trial date set for priest accused of drunk driving

It may not seem like a big deal to have a couple drinks at a friend's house, whether it is with dinner or simply as a means to bond and relax. However, sometimes a person in Virginia who operates a motor vehicle after drinking is accused of drunk driving, which could have a major impact on their future, especially if they are in a position of leadership.

A date has been set for the trial of a Virginia priest accused of drunk driving. The trial will take place in September. The priest, age 64, has been charged with misdemeanor second DUI offense in five to 10 years. He was due to be in court earlier in July, but the prosecution and defense have agreed to continue the bench trial until the end of September.

The priest was charged with drunk driving after a police officer pulled him over in early June. According to the complaint, the officer saw the priest swerving from the southbound to the northbound lane of traffic four times. The officer claimed the priest's eyes looked glassy and watery, and the officer smelled alcohol. The priest underwent a field sobriety test, but, according to the officer, he did not pass it.

Following that, the priest was given a breath test, which reportedly indicated he had a blood alcohol content level of 0.11. The officer claims that the priest told him that he had a couple of glasses of wine earlier at the home of a colleague and also some bourbon. A second breath test was administered at the sheriff's office. This breath test indicated the priest's blood alcohol content level was 0.10.

The defense asks that people not judge the priest in the "court of public opinion," but, instead, wait for the priest to have a chance at a fair trial. The defense notes that the priest has a good reputation among his community and an excellent history of service. Still, being accused of drunk driving can affect a person's personal and professional reputation, even if that person is never convicted. Therefore, it is important that those facing drunk driving charges prepare a strong defense, so their side of the story can be told and a fair and appropriate result can be reached.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Powhatan priest faces charge of second DUI offense," Laura McFarland, July 6, 2017

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