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Louisa, Virginia Criminal Defense & Traffic Law Blog

Studies disagree: Is the violent crime rate up or down?

Is the violent crime rate rising? Recent reports in Virginia and nationwide came to widely different results.

In a report released earlier this year, Virginia State Police said the number of violent crimes fell 2% in 2018. For the purposes of the report, violent crimes were defined as homicide, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault. Homicides alone fell 14%. States vary widely in how they compile and report crime statistics, but many other states have reported similar drops.

Common defenses against DUI charges

Everyone who is accused of a crime deserves a defense, and that includes people who have been accused of drunk driving. With the help of a skilled defense lawyer, you can defend yourself against DUI charges, and protect your license, your freedom and your future.

There are many possible strategies for criminal defense. If you are accused of drunk driving, a defense lawyer will listen to your story and advise you on your best options for defense strategies, based upon the exact circumstances of your case and the particular charges against you.

5 things to do if you’re pulled over for DUI

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a mistake that puts you, as well as others on the road, at risk of serious injury or even death.

Despite the fact that drinking and driving is illegal, it's easy to make this mistake. If you find yourself pulled over for suspicion of DUI, there are several steps you should take:

  • Stay in your vehicle: Once you see police lights in your rearview mirror, put on your hazard lights, move to the side of the road and stay in your vehicle. Getting out will give the officer reason to believe that you're up to something.
  • Remain polite: This alone won't allow you to escape an arrest, but it can't hurt. Not to mention the fact that remaining polite and respectful helps prevent additional criminal charges.
  • Think before you speak: Your first thought is to say anything you can to defend yourself. However, there are times when you're better off invoking your 5th Amendment rights. Anything you say during the traffic stop and arrest can be used against you in the court of law.
  • Don't make up a story: "I only had one drink five hours ago." "I am on my way to church, not the bar." A story that's obviously false will only anger the office and make it look like you're trying to hide something. Stick to the facts, while avoiding saying anything that will incriminate you.
  • Don't resist arrest: If you're put under arrest, resisting won't do you any good. The officer won't change their mind just because you're fighting back. Rather than resist, cooperate during the arrest and during your time at the police station.

Defense against traffic offense charges

Many Virginians may feel that a traffic offense is little more than an inconvenience, but in fact it can be a lot worse. A traffic offense can stay on a driver's license record for years, and any subsequent offense can lead to much harsher penalties.

Worse still is a charge of reckless driving. While some offenses may result in no more than a traffic ticket, reckless driving is criminal charge that can carry a penalty of a year in jail and a fine of $2,500.

Convenience store shooting highlights issue of self-defense

A fatal shooting in Virginia last month has put a spotlight on the issue of self-defense.

The shooting occurred July 25 at a convenience store in Virginia Beach. According to news reports, several men were robbing the store when a bystander pulled out a legally concealed gun and fired, killing one of the men and wounding another. Two men have been charged in connection with the attempted robbery. The commonwealth's attorney said it will not file charges against the shooter.

Ignition interlock device requirement can be a big burden

In July 2012, Virginia started requiring ignition interlock devices to be installed in the cars of all people convicted of drunk driving offenses. The devices require drivers to take a breath alcohol test before they can start their cars.

Proponents of the law say it has led to a significant drop in repeat-offender DUIs. Some estimates say repeat offenses have dropped by as much as 67%. It's hard to say if this has translated to fewer DUI-related accidents.

Man faces murder charges for Louisa killing

It's shocking to a community when a person is violently killed. It is perhaps especially shocking to a smaller community like Louisa County. Residents get frightened and angry, and want to see justice done as soon as possible.

At times like these, it's important to take a step back and remember that everyone must be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Everyone deserves a defense.

Choose the right drunk driving defense strategy

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime with potentially serious consequences. In addition to increasing the risk of an accident, a DUI conviction can lead to penalties such as license suspension, fine, mandatory use of an ignition interlock device and even jail time.

Even if you're arrested for drunk driving, it doesn't necessarily mean the court will find you guilty. There are various drunk driving defense strategies to consider, with these among the most common:

  • Improper stop: Police must have probable cause to make a traffic stop, such as if you ran a red light or were speeding. Without cause, you may be able to argue that your case should be thrown out.
  • Improper administration of field sobriety test: An arrest typically comes after the administration of a field sobriety test, as these determine if you're under the influence of alcohol. However, improper administration and/or maintenance can lead to inaccurate results.
  • Accuracy of portable Breathalyzer test: A Breathalyzer is often used alongside field sobriety tests to determine if you're drunk. While these devices are designed to be accurate, this doesn't always hold true. For example, if used in the wrong manner, a Breathalyzer could display an inaccurate reading.
  • Rising blood alcohol concentration: After consuming alcohol, your blood alcohol level will change with time. When pulled over, your blood alcohol level could be under the legal limit. However, as time passes and it absorbs into your system, it could increase. By the time the officer tests your blood alcohol level, it could be in the illegal range.

What is DUI in Virginia and what are the penalties?

Virginia has very strict laws against drunk driving and drugged driving. People convicted of DUI offenses may be subject to stiff sentences, license suspension and more. Motorists in Virginia should be aware of what constitutes DUI. This blog post will provide some basic information on DUI in the Old Dominion.

There are two scenarios in which a prosecutor can charge a motorist with driving under the influence. The first is when a motorist is driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater. The second is when a motorist is driving while "under the influence" of drugs, alcohol or a combination of the two.

Virginia eases license suspension rules for many drivers

Virginia drivers may find themselves with suspended driver’s licenses for many reasons. The suspension may be the result of a DUI conviction, multiple traffic tickets, driving without insurance or for some, unpaid court fees.

For drivers with unpaid court debt and suspended licenses, Virginia plans to restore driving privileges on July 1. Suspensions due to unpaid court fees have long been a source of frustration for many across both the state and the rest of the country. A suspended license can complicate the ability to get to work, school and more, while driving on a suspended license can risk jail time and other penalties.

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