Law enforcement officials are responsible for keeping Portsmouth residents safe. On rare occasions, police officers themselves will be charged with a crime. Whether a resident of Virginia or an officer of the law in the state, individuals accused of crimes face the same consequences and are afforded the same defense rights.
A Portsmouth officer was recently charged with reckless driving due to his involvement in a fatal car accident in May of this year. A grand jury indicted the officer in August with the misdemeanor charge.
According to reports, the officer was driving in his police cruiser when he hit a man at the intersection of Portsmouth Boulevard and Woodstock Street. The 59-year-old pedestrian was believed to be walking home from the laundromat at the time of the accident.
Investigators believe that the officer was driving at a speed of 35 mph when the vehicle hit the pedestrian. A police detective also said that the officer was not responding to a call and that his vehicle lights and siren were not activated at the time of the crash.
The officer told investigators that he did not see the pedestrian and was not using his phone at the time of the accident. He also reported that he did not feel that he was traveling at an excessively high speed. For now, he has been placed on administrative assignment.
Virginia residents facing criminal charges should remember the basic principle, “innocent until proven guilty.” The prosecutor in the case must show to the judge or jury that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To help their case, the accused can come up with a defense to help prove their innocence.
Defending against any criminal charge, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, can be difficult. However, with the right defense, the penalties faced may be significantly less severe. Some accused people may even get their charges dropped altogether.
Source: WAVY, “Portsmouth officer charged, following deadly crash,” Erin Kelly, Nov. 20, 2014