Mike Crapo, the Idaho senator, was arrested for DUI early Sunday morning in the City of Alexandia, Virginia. Police said the senator’s blood-alcohol level was .110. In Virginia, drivers at a blood-alcohol level.08 or higher are considered intoxicated. There is no difference in punishment between DUI and DWI in Virginia, which is Virginia Code Section 18.2-266.
Idaho Senator Crapo will face a Class One Misdemeanor, which means that, if found guilty, he can be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2500.00, and lose his driving privileges in Virginia for 12 months. He will also be required to serve at least 12 months of probation and complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, or VASAP. He was released on $1,000 bond, and has a court date scheduled for January 4, 2013 in Alexandria General District Court.
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) issued a public apology after being arrested for drunken driving or DUI in Northern Virginia.
Jody Donaldson, a spokesperson for the Alexandria Police Department, said in an e-mail that Crapo was arrested at 12:45 a.m. Sunday. An Alexandria police officer noticed Crapo’s vehicle run through a red traffic light, and after the vehicle was stopped, the officer conducted field sobriety tests, which Crapo failed, Donaldson said. Crapo was arrested for driving under the influence, and taken into custody without incident, Donaldson said.
In a statement, Crapo apologized for his actions.
“I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance,” Crapo said. “I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter.
“I will also undertake measures to ensure that this circumstance is never repeated.”
The 61-year-old Republican is serving his third term in the U.S. Senate. According to Politico.com, Senator Crapo has said publicly that he abstains from alcohol.
Alex Gordon, a Virginia DUI attorney in Fairfax County, which neighbors the City of Alexandria, has represented hundreds of clients on charges of DUI. Gordon, a trial attorney for 18 years, offers the following advice to congressmen, senators, and anyone else who are unfamiliar with Virginia DUI laws.
- First, if you have been drinking in the DC metro area, it is always best to call a taxi or a designated driver. The $50 spent on a taxi each time will save you thousands on fines, insurance rate increases, and attorney fees. If you are an elected official, that $50 cab fare will also prevent you from having to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for television ads to counter your opponents attack ads that show your mug shot.
- Second, in Virginia, field sobriety tests are voluntary. You do not need to say the ABC’s. You do not need to follow the pen with your eyes. You do not need to touch your nose, walk a straight line, or stand on one leg. If an officer asks you (or orders you polititely) to perform these tests, you can say “No”. If you choose to say no, do so politely and realize that you may still be arrested by the officer. However, by refusing politiely to do these voluntary tests, a driver eliminates a great deal of the typical evidence that is usually used at trial to convict a driver of DUI.
- You are not required under Virginia law to tell the police officer how much you had to drink. Whatever amount you claim you drank that night is a voluntary statement that will be used to convict you. How many times do you think the officer has heard, “I only had two beers.” If you admit to three drinks or more, you probably should have called a taxi and the judge and prosecutor (or your constituents) are not likely to be impressed with your honesty.
- You are not required to blow into any machine in Virginia that a police officer can hold in his or her hand. If an officer says that it cannot be used against you in court, understand that despite the officer’s friendly legal advice, any result that is obtained by the handhold device can be used for purposes of determining probable cause to arrest you. Also the result probably will be written down in a public record called a “Criminal Complaint”, that will be filed with the Clerk of Court in order to suspend your privilege to drive.
- You are required to blow into a machine that is attached to a computer. HOWEVER, if you do not blow into that machine, the only punishment is a civil penalty of a 12 month license suspension. For a first offense of refusing to blow into that machine, there is no fine, no probation, no jail, and no criminal record. BUT if you refuse to blow into the machine, the evidence that you refused the test may be used against you at your DUI trial. You get to choose whether to blow into the machine. If you are like Senator Crapo, who chose to provide a breath sample, which proved to be .11, which is above Virginia’s limit of .08 BAC, that evidence (unless challenged successfully) will hurt his chances at trial a great deal.
- In Virginia, you do not get to choose between a blood test and a breath test. The police do not have to follow your request to have a blood test taken after your breath test is completed. Congressmen and Senators, please note that the police officer does not have to listen to how DUI laws work in your state.
Alex Gordon has been named one of the Top 100 Trial Attorneys in Virginia by the National Trial Lawyers and was designated as one of the top criminal defense attorneys in NorthernVirginia magazine. If you, a family member (or your congressman or senator) have been charged with DUI or Reckless Driving in Virginia, please contact The Gordon Law Firm at 703-218-8416 or 800-591-6682. We offer free consultations for all traffic and criminal defense cases.