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Louisa, Virginia Criminal Defense & Traffic Law Blog

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.

Build the right criminal defense when accused of a violent crime

Being human, we all have human emotions and responses to our environment. Anger, frustration, and confusion are all emotions that can trigger a person to become violent. However, bringing violent acts upon another person can have legal repercussions. That's what you or a loved one might be facing if accused of a violent crime.

The truth is, the criminal charge likely doesn't tell the whole story. Almost always, there are circumstances that surrounded the incident that need to be brought to light. It's within a person's constitutional rights to defend themselves against criminal charges. Building the right criminal defense is about weighing all the factors and deciding on the strongest criminal defense strategy based on those factors.

Virginia police presence increases over Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day weekend is a popular time for travelers in Virginia who may be headed to parties, the beach, parades and other festivities. These travelers may have noticed, however, an increase in police presence on Virginia's streets this past holiday weekend. And, these officers are keeping an eye out for those who commit traffic offenses.

On Memorial Day weekend 2018, 8,673 individuals received citations for speeding and 2,704 individuals received citations for reckless driving. In addition, 122 individuals were arrested for driving under the influence, 218 individuals received citations for failing to have a child in an appropriate safety seat and 856 individuals received citations for not wearing their seat belt.

Unpacking the crime of sexual battery in Virginia

Most sexual acts between two adults are consensual. However, there are instances in which a sexual act occurs that a person does not consent to. These acts are illegal, and a person who commits them could be charged with sexual battery or aggravated sexual battery.

Sexual battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. An attack constitutes sexual battery if: the sexual abuse took place against a person's will by force, threat, intimidation or trick; the accused sexually abused more than one person within a two-year time span or sexually abused a person more than once without that person's consent; or when a person is an inmate, probationer, parolee or pretrial defendant and the accused holds a position of authority over the person.

The hidden consequences of accepting plea deals

Every day, the news floods us with examples of people pleading guilty to crimes, but if they could potentially win a not guilty verdict in trial, why would they plead guilty? This is because the United States criminal justice system works in such a way that prosecutors make plea bargains seem like attractive options.

According to The Atlantic, more than 90% of all felony convictions are brokered as plea bargains, but these deals aren’t all about justice. They’re largely used to speed up the system and spare courts the expense of a trial. Offering a lesser charge with an easy sentence to avoid a more serious sentence, possibly even a life sentence, is the kind of deal prosecutors make all the time and it comes loaded with consequences.

Can you get a DUI if your BAC is below the legal limit?

Spring is here and many people in Virginia are looking forward to being able to spend time outdoors, especially once summer rolls around. Many people will have a drink or two at a barbecue, a wedding or a holiday celebration. These people may feel safe to drive, especially if they believe that their blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the legal limit. However, even if a person's BAC is below the legal limit, it may still be possible for a person to be charged with driving under the influence.

Most Virginians understand that if they are driving and are pulled over by police and a breath test shows that their BAC is 0.08% or higher, they can be charged with DUI. This is known as DUI per se, and it generally means that no further evidence is needed to prosecute the driver. However, even if a motorist's BAC is below 0.08%, he or she may still be charged with DUI if the officer believes that the motorist is driving under the influence of alcohol in a manner that poses a danger to the driver or other motorists on the road.

Bill makes cellphone use in work zones a traffic offense

It is truly amazing how far cellphone technology has come. We can now use our cellphones to make phone calls, send text messages and emails, use navigation apps, take photos, play music and more. Of course, using a cellphone while driving can be distracting and can lead to reckless driving and motor vehicle accidents. Therefore, to a certain extent, cellphone use while driving can be considered a traffic offense.

For example, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is expected to approve a bill that prohibits the use of handheld cellphones in work zones. Those who violate the new law will be fined $250. The bill will become effective on July 1. Previously, the law only banned texting and driving.

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