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Traffic stop leads to DUI charge for commissioner

West Virginia State Police say that a trooper detained and charged the commissioner of Gilmer County with DUI on July 19. The trooper pulled over the commissioner around 8 p.m. when he allegedly saw the man driving erratically.

When the trooper approached the commissioner, he reported smelling alcohol on his breath. The officer says that a second chemical test showed that the commissioner's blood alcohol concentration was .089 percent. The trooper detained the commissioner until about 10:30 p.m., and the man reportedly cooperated during that time. The judge arraigned the commissioner on the drunk driving charge, and the commissioner was released on a personal recognizance bond.

The legal BAC limit in West Virginia is .08 percent. When chemical test results are close to the legal limit, as in this case, the lawyers for drivers accused of DUI might argue the accuracy of the tests and reliability of the results. There are several factors that may affect the results of breath tests, including medications and body temperatures. The way that a blood sample is drawn, handled and stored could also affect the results of blood tests. Lawyers who challenge these aspects may be able to argue for the evidence to be dropped, which might result in the charges being dropped as well.

If a DUI case does not allow for such challenges, the lawyer may try to negotiate a plea deal to reduce the severity of the consequences for the accused. This might mean that the accused would need to plead guilty to a lesser charge and complete an alcohol abuse program, for example, rather than pay a large fine or go to jail.

Source: West Virginia MetroNews, "Gilmer County commissioner arrested, charged with DUI", Aaron Payne, July 21, 2014

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