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Virginia National Guardsman Takes Armored Vehicle on Intoxicated Joy Ride


A National Guardsman was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) after taking an armored vehicle on a 65-mile joy ride into downtown Richmond, reported the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The 29-year-old lieutenant in the Virginia Army National Guard stole M577 vehicle from a training exercise. This vehicle resembles a tank, but there are no weapons on board. The M577 functions mostly as a command center, allowing officers to direct their troops in the battlefield.

After the lieutenant stole the M577, National Guard officials notified the Virginia State Police immediately. Over the course of a lengthy pursuit, the lieutenant regularly ignored police commands to pull over and exit the vehicle. He also appeared to post several photos to social media during the incident. Police eventually apprehended the lieutenant near Capitol Square, without any apparent property damage or injuries.

At this point, the lieutenant is in city jail without bond. As a result of this incident, he faces criminal charges for DUI, felony unauthorized use of a vehicle and felony eluding police. To understand the gravity of these charges, the following sections will explore the penalties for DUI, felony unauthorized use of a vehicle, and felony eluding police in Virginia.

What are the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Virginia?

Under Code of Virginia § 18.2-270, DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor in many cases. The penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor include up to 12 months in jail and $2,500 in fines. In certain circumstances, such as repeat offenses or fatal accidents, the offender may face felony charges. At that level, the penalties increase sharply a for DUI offense.

What are the Penalties for Felony Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in Virginia?

Under Code of Virginia § 18.2-102, unauthorized use of a vehicle is generally a Class 6 felony. The penalties for a Class 6 felony include 12 to 60 months in prison and $2,500 in fines. On the other hand, if the vehicle is worth less than $200, then this offense becomes a Class 1 misdemeanor with the same penalty structure above stated.

What are the Penalties for Felony Eluding Police in Virginia?

Under Code of Virginia § 46.2-817, felony eluding police is generally a Class 6 felony. The penalty structure is the same as above stated. However, if the offender kills an officer while eluding police, then the offense becomes a Class 4 felony. The penalties for a Class 4 felony include up to 10 years in prison and $2,500 in fines.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you are facing charges for DUI or other criminal offenses in Virginia, it is crucial that you speak with an accomplished criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, feature a wealth of combined legal knowledge in the field of criminal defense, including DUI, unauthorized use of a vehicle, and eluding police. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.



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