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Supreme Court decision requires Constitution be upheld in DUI / DWI and Drug cases!

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The June 25, 2009 Melendez-Diaz decision by the Supreme Court of the United States is a huge step in the right direction for Virginia criminal defense, particularly in cases involving DUI / DWI and drug offenses.  This decision confirms loudly and clearly that the state can not rely on affidavits to prove the case.  Virginia DUI / DWI and drug offenses have long been prosecuted using certificates of analysis (affidavits) indicating a blood alcohol content, or that a tested substance was marijuana, cocaine, etc., without actually bringing any witnesses to court to testify.  This decision does not necessarily mean there will be more dismissals of DUI / DWI or drug cases in Virginia, but it unquestionably upholds the right of the accused, as contained in the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, to confront the witnesses against him - a right which courts acknowledge has at times been disregarded for the sake of making it more convenient to prosecute DUI / DWI and drug cases.  

Counties across the state of Virginia are now feeling the impact of this decision. Defense attorneys are demanding the sixth amendment actually be upheld and apparently is creating a lot more work for prosecutors.
Posted by Katy Moore on August 13, 2009 at 08:41 AM

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