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Norfolk’s top prosecutor charged with DUI

April 25, 2014 by Christy

With a DUI conviction now on his record, Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Greg Underwood plans to appeal and could find himself fighting to keep his job.

Accomack County General District Judge found Underwood guilty of driving under the influence and refusing to take a breath test on April 25, 2014. He ordered Underwood to spend three days in jail.

Friday’s court hearing came after Underwood’s case was delayed three times, because his attorney, state Senator Tommy Norment, was dealing with General Assembly business.

The charges grew out of an October 23, 2013 traffic stop on Interstate 264 near the Brambleton Avenue exit.

Underwood, was pulled over along with two motorists who had followed behind him through safety cones that marked off a road construction area, according to State Trooper J.O. Ogden. Ogden testified that he let the other motorists go and made a call to his dispatcher to contact his supervisor after he smelled a strong odor of alcohol on the Norfolk prosecutor’s breath.

He said Underwood’s speech was slurred and when he got out of his vehicle, he seemed unstable on his feet, and appeared to be using the vehicle as a brace or to steer himself, the trooper said. Ogden, a former Virginia Beach deputy, said he knew Underwood from the years that he was a prosecutor in Virginia Beach.
The trooper said he asked Underwood more than once if he was going to take the tests and each time he refused.

Norment argued that the trooper had Underwood get out of his car for a field sobriety test and never specifically asked him to take a breath test. The judge pointed out that Ogden knew Underwood and knew he was an attorney who would understand what kind of tests were involved. The trooper testified that Underwood told him he would refuse any test he offered.

Underwood did not enter a plea on the DUI charge but stipulated the evidence was sufficient to find him guilty. He pled not guilty to the other charges that grew out of the traffic stop.

The judge said he would give Underwood the same sentence he gives to others in such cases. He sentenced Underwood to 33 days in jail, with all but three suspended, and a fine of $1,000 with $500 suspended and ordered him to participate in an Alcohol Safety Action Program. He also said Underwood’s driver’s license would be suspended for a year. The judge dismissed the charge of possession of a concealed weapon while intoxicated in a public place; and reduced the reckless driving in a construction work zone charge to improper driving.

Read the full article here.

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