Jury Sentences Defendant to 3 Years in the Penitentiary and $1,500 Fine for 3rd Offense DUI

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Jury Sentences Defendant to 3 Years in the Penitentiary and $1,500 Fine for 3rd Offense DUI

On August 29, 2016, in the Alexandria Circuit Court, Jasmine Vanderplas (a/k/a Jasmine Thundershield), age 35, of Alexandria, Virginia was found guilty by a jury of her peers of one felony count of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, 3rd Offense within 10 Years. The jury recommended a sentence of three years in the penitentiary and a fine of $1,500.

On April 27, 2016, Vanderplas was observed making an illegal U-turn at the intersection of Duke and Walker Street.  She failed to immediately bring her car to a stop when police attempted to pull her over.  During her interaction with law enforcement, Vanderplas exhibited confusion, slurred speech and problems with her balance.  Vanderplas performed badly on standard field sobriety offenses and was arrested.  Vanderplas refused to submit to a breath test to determine the amount of alcohol in her blood. Vanderplas has previously been convicted of Driving Under the Influence two times within the past 10 years.  

In a separate proceeding prior to this trial, Vanderplas was convicted of Unreasonable Refusal to Submit to a Blood or Breath Test, as well as Driving on a Suspended License for her conduct during this incident.

A formal sentencing hearing will be held on October 13, 2016, in the Alexandria Circuit Court.  During that hearing, the judge will determine whether the sentence recommended by the jury should be modified. The sentencing judge may adopt the jury's recommended sentence or decrease it. The judge is not legally empowered to increase the recommended sentence.

The case was investigated by the Alexandria Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David A. Lord. 

With regard to the sentencing, Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter said: “The sentence recommended by the jury, speaking as the conscience of the community, is evidence that the citizens of Alexandria do not tolerate repeat drunk drivers."          

Porter continued: "Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol is a dangerous crime that endangers the safety of the community.  Repeat offenders present a particular threat to the safety of the public because of their demonstrated resistance to probation and willingness to continually put the lives of other drivers at risk.  This conduct is taken with grave seriousness by my office and will be prosecuted to the utmost extent permitted by law."

"I thank the Alexandria Police Department for their thorough investigation of this matter and commitment to deterring drunk driving. Alexandria Police Officer Yuriy Mikhin deserves particular commendation for his exemplary efforts on this case." 

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