Mitchem v. Commonwealth, 2010 Va. App. LEXIS 18 (Va.Ct. App. Jan. 12, 2010)
At trial, the Commonwealth admitted into evidence, without objection, a certified conviction order of appellant's DUI in Fauquier County. In addition, the Commonwealth sought admission of a portion of appellant's DMV transcript to establish appellant's DUI conviction in Prince William County. Appellant objected to the admission of the DMV transcript on several grounds. First, appellant argued the transcript was inadmissible hearsay because the Commonwealth failed to lay a proper foundation. With regard to this objection, appellant's counsel also stated, "generally speaking, it's not good enough." Second, appellant argued that admission of the transcript violated the rule articulated in Sargent v. Commonwealth, 5 Va. App. 143, 360 S.E.2d 895, 4 Va. Law Rep. 762 (1987), because the Commonwealth failed to prove appellant was represented by counsel in his prior convictions. Finally, appellant argued the Commonwealth failed to comply with the requirements of Code § 46.2-384, which governs the admission of DMV transcripts into evidence, claiming the Commonwealth did not certify the transcript under Code § 46.2-386. 2 The trial court admitted the transcript over appellant's objections.
Rule 5A:18 require that objections to a trial court's action or ruling be made with specificity in order to preserve an issue for appeal. Upon review of the record in this case, appellant failed to make the specific arguments to the trial court he now makes on appeal. In enacting Code § 46.2-384, the legislature, in its wisdom, determined that a DMV transcript, certified pursuant to Code § 46.2-215, "shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein with respect to the prior offense." In this case, once the DMV transcript was admitted, the Commonwealth presented a prima facie case sufficient to prove appellant's prior DUI convictions. Appellant presented no evidence to rebut that presumption. Accordingly, the evidence was sufficient to prove the instant offense was appellant's third DUI within a ten-year period.
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