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Court overturns prosecutor’s DUI conviction

Our regular readers will recall that not long ago, we wrote in this space about the arrest of Virginia prosecutor Greg Underwood. He was found guilty in April of misdemeanor DUI following his arrest in October of last year.

However, Underwood and his attorney appealed the decision. After watching a police video of the arrest and hearing witnesses testify that the prosecutor appeared sober shortly before his arrest, a judge overturned the conviction.

A state trooper had pulled the Norfolk prosecutor over after he drove through safety cones in a road construction zone. Troopers had told a court that Underwood’s speech was slurred, and that he had stumbled and smelled of alcohol.

Underwood declined to take a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test.

However, a Circuit Court judge watched a police video of the arrest, noting that though it was of poor quality, it did not appear to support the troopers’ allegations. The judge did find the prosecutor guilty of refusing to take the breath test and suspended Underwood’s driver’s license for a year and levied a fine of $50.

Underwood had previously been sentenced to serve 72 hours in jail after the DUI conviction.

His defense attorney called three witnesses to dispute the troopers’ account of the prosecutor’s fitness to drive. One was a neighbor with whom Underwood had a single beer. Underwood told his neighbor that he was headed to a store and left.

The chair of the Norfolk Planning Commission spoke with Underwood a short while later at the store, and said he didn’t appear under the influence.

A pharmacy employee reviewed video of Underwood’s visit to the store and said there was nothing to indicate the man was intoxicated.

The witnesses and video persuaded the judge that the prosecutor was not guilty of DUI.

Source: PilotOnline.com, “Norfolk commonwealth’s attorney wins DUI appeal,” Janie Bryant, July 1, 2014

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