Being a public official may provide many satisfying moments, but occasionally, a person’s public role only serves to shine a brighter light on any sort of misstep. The mayor of Strasburg, Virginia, is learning that lesson after being charged with drunk driving within five years of a prior offense.
The mayor was arrested on May 17 and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after he crashed an all-terrain vehicle into the town’s library. Police have now lodged two additional charges against him, and one is far more serious charge than a simple DUI.
In charges filed on July 12, 2019, the mayor was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol within 5 years of a previous conviction for the same violation. The other recent charge was operating an all-terrain vehicle on a public highway. According to police records, the mayor was convicted of driving under the influence on Feb. 2, 2015. County records of the current incident showed that the mayor had a blood alcohol content of 0.17 percent, slightly more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
If the mayor is convicted of the second DUI within 5 years of the prior conviction, he may face jail time. Virginia statutes state that a person who is convicted of a second DUI within less than 5 years of a prior offense must serve from 1 month to 1 year in jail. Twenty days in jail is the mandatory minimum sentence. The penalty also carries a minimum fine of $500.
Despite his status as mayor, the defendant in this case is facing serious charges. However, he is entitled to the presumption of innocence, but an experienced criminal defense attorney may be the mayor’s best option.