Most people in Virginia have heard references to the concept of “due process” as it related to a criminal arrest, defense or trial. What constitutes this due process may vary from case to case but one thing remains consistent and that is the requirement that due process be followed as indiated by the law.
WTKR reported on a case in which the requirement to follow due process is actually preventing a defendant from entering a plea in a criminal case against her. The case dates back to last autumn when the woman was involved in a vehicle accident along a stretch of Interstate 264. The crash involved the defendant’s vehicle and one other vehicle. The driver of the second vehicle died after the accident. The defendant herself was seriously injured.
It is alleged that the defendant was driving under the influence at the time of the wreck and she has since been charged with multiple offenses. Some time ago she entered guilty pleas to the charges of not following a highway sign and of driving on the road side of the road. She only just recently was served in connection with the charge of driving under the influence and plead guilty to the charge.
The delay in being served actually prevented the defendant from entering any plea in relation to the DUI charge until the service took place. When looking forward to a potential sentencing, a judge has indicated some concern about the care that the defendant needs and whether or not she would receive that in jail.