Delegate charged with DUI

Published 10:50 pm Thursday, September 27, 2018

State Delegate Matthew James was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence in Portsmouth on Sept. 22, according to an arrest report.

James, who represents part of Suffolk, has been charged with driving under the influence and reckless driving.

According to a criminal complaint, a law enforcement officer observed a vehicle go through a stop sign and almost strike another vehicle on Greenwood Drive after exiting Interstate 264 westbound. After following the vehicle, the officer observed the vehicle “crossed the solid white line and drove while straddling it for approximately three seconds,” according to the document filed in Portsmouth General District Court.

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After being pulled over, according to the complaint, James allegedly provided the officer with an expired driver’s license and exited the vehicle to attempt to find his registration. As he attempted to do so, he was observed “placing his hand on the vehicle and steadying himself.” The officer “smelled an alcoholic beverage” when he approached the vehicle, he wrote in the complaint.

Starting just after 8:30 p.m., the officer began to conduct a variety of field sobriety tests on the delegate, the document states. James allegedly was unable to perform the tests. During a “walk and turn exercise,” he stepped off the line and failed to place his heel to toe as the officer demonstrated, the complaint alleges. During a “one leg stand exercise,” James allegedly put his foot down before he was done counting.

The officer placed James under arrest and transported him to Portsmouth Police Headquarters, where James allegedly blew a .18 on a breathalyzer test.

James will report to Portsmouth General District Court on Jan. 31, according to online court records.

In a statement reported by 13News Now, James said, “I sincerely apologize for my actions and look forward to restoring all negative impacts on my family, friends, constituents as well as colleagues related to this one-time incident. Lastly, I ask you to keep us in your prayers and respect our privacy throughout this difficult time.”

The Suffolk News-Herald reached out to James multiple times via phone and email with no response.