McBride v. Commonwealth

In McBride v. Commonwealth, 24 Va. App. 30, 34-35, 480 S.E.2d 126, 128 (1997), the defendant was convicted of a second offense of driving under the influence. At trial, the Commonwealth introduced a certified copy of an arrest warrant, indicating that the defendant was charged with previously violating Code 18.2-266. The warrant contained a printed form upon which the district court had reported the proceedings. The form indicated that the defendant was charged, pled not guilty, and was sentenced. However, the form was blank in the space where the court is to designate whether the defendant was tried and found guilty of the charged offense. The Commonwealth offered no other evidence to prove a prior conviction. The defendant moved to strike the evidence, arguing that the evidence did not prove that he had been previously convicted of violating Code 18.2-266. The trial court denied the motion and found the defendant guilty of the second offense. The accused pushed an unknown object into his victim's back and said he would "shoot" if the victim did not comply with his demands. Although no one actually saw a gun and the accused never expressly stated that he had one, we held that "the clear inference to be drawn from his threat to 'shoot,' is that he did have a gun." 24 Va. App. at 608, 484 S.E.2d at 168. Thus, the Court ruled that "circumstantial evidence, considered as a whole and viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, excluded all reasonable hypotheses of innocence and is therefore sufficient to support the trial court's finding of guilt." Id.