According to a recent article in The Virginian-Pilot, a 27-year-old Chesapeake sheriff’s deputy was acquitted of DUI charges, but was convicted of misdemeanor hit-and-run charges, for which he received a $250 fine. Kenneth W. Stolle Jr. is the son of Virginia Beach Sheriff and former state senator Ken Stolle, as well as the nephew of Virginia Beach Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle. As a result, Stolle’s case was prosecuted by the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, and a retired judge sitting in the General District Court heard the case.
Stolle reportedly rear-ended another vehicle on Virginia Beach Boulevard on November 14 and then left the scene of the accident. There were no injuries in the mishap, and less than $500 in property damage to the other vehicle. An officer witnessed Stolle leaving the scene and pulled him over two blocks away. At the time he was stopped, Stolle allegedly had watery eyes, smelled of alcohol, and was walking unsteadily. He refused to take a field sobriety test, and a breath test later measured his blood alcohol content to be 0.18%, according to a certificate in the court’s file.
Nonetheless, the judge did not permit the breath test results to be used as evidence against him by the prosecutor in the DUI case, as the judge ruled that the officer did not have probable cause to stop Stolle following the accident. Due to a lack of evidence, then, Stolle was acquitted of the DUI charge, and found guilty only of the hit-and-run charge. However, Stolle remains on unpaid administrative leave from the sheriff’s department as they continue to investigate the incident.
This case is a good example as to how the experience and knowledge of a Virginia DUI lawyer can be invaluable in challenging a DUI accusation. By contesting whether the arresting officer had probable cause to stop Stolle in the first place, the defense attorney was able to keep what was perhaps the most damaging piece of information – Stolle’s breath test results – from being used as evidence at his trial. There is no doubt that the exclusion of this evidence directly led to Stolle’s acquittal on the DUI charge, since without the breath test results, there was no concrete evidence that Stolle was intoxicated in violation of the law at the time that he was involved in the hit-and-run accident. For these reasons, if you or a loved one is accused of DUI or related charges, it is essential that you contact a skilled and qualified Virginia DUI attorney for assistance as quickly as possible following your arrest.