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Leesburg Virginia Drunk Driving Defense Law Blog

With paternity comes certain legal rights and obligations

Having a child out of wedlock is starting to lose its social stigma, and it is not unusual these days for a child in Virginia to be born to unmarried parents. However, when this happens the child's father will have to establish paternity, which will confer upon the father all the legal rights and obligations that come with being a parent.

For example, if the child's parents were never married and are no longer in a relationship with one another, the child's father may want to establish paternity, so he can seek visitation rights. It is important to keep in mind that establishing paternity doesn't automatically grant the father visitation rights. They are two separate legal issues. First, paternity needs to be established and confirmed by the court. Once this is done, then the father can file a motion with the court for visitation rights.

Can one refuse a breath test at a DUI stop?

Police in Virginia set up checkpoints all over the commonwealth during the recent three-day holiday weekend in hopes of ensnaring drunk drivers. It is possible that motorists who were not even drunk were subjected to a DUI stop at these checkpoints.

Being stopped on suspicion of drunk driving can be frustrating and humiliating, particularly if sober. This may be especially true if one is asked to take a breath test. People in such situations may be tempted to refuse, but they should be aware that there are consequences for doing so.

Virginia is experiencing a backlog in drug testing

In general, when it comes to drug crimes police will seize what they believe to be illicit drugs. These drugs are usually tested to ensure they are what police believed them to be. However, many people in Virginia facing drug charges may find that there is a lengthy wait time for these items to be tested.

The number of drug cases that go before the Virginia Department of Forensic Science is increasing, becoming more complex and must adhere to safety regulations. This means that the department is experiencing a backlog in processing these cases that is only growing larger.

Young adults are seeing the benefit of prenuptial agreements

Marriage for many is about everlasting love, but it is also essentially a contract between the two spouses, who, once married, will gain certain rights under the law. Because these rights also extend to the divorce process and its outcome, more people in Virginia and across the United States are seeing the value of executing a premarital agreement (commonly known as a prenuptial agreement) before walking down the aisle.

This may be especially true for the "Millennial" generation. A survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that over one-half of the lawyers surveyed reported an uptick in premarital agreements among millennials. According to the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial lawyers, these young adults are approaching premarital agreements as a business deal.

What constitutes the crime of burglary in Virginia?

Sometimes it seems like "familiar" crimes should be open-and-shut cases. For example, many people have a general idea of what they think burglary looks like. They may picture a thief forcing open a locked door in the dead of night and stealing something therein. However, the actual crime of burglary in Virginia is a lot broader than that.

Under Virginia statutes, if during the daytime hours you break and enter the dwelling place of another, or if during the nighttime hours you simply enter the home of another, or if you enter a non-traditional dwelling place, such as a trailer, ship or a building permanently fixed to realty and conceal yourself therein, and if in any of these situations you have the intent to commit murder, rape, robbery or arson, this is considered to be the crime of statutory burglary. Statutory burglary is a Class 3 felony. If this crime is committed with a deadly weapon, it is a Class 2 felony.

Determining the child's best interests for child custody purposes

Parents in Virginia love their children, even if they no longer love one another. When divorce is on the horizon, decisions will need to be made on which parent will have custody of the child and when. In Virginia, child custody decisions are made based primarily on what is in the child's best interests. There are numerous factors the court will consider when determining the best interests of the child for custody and visitation purposes.

First, the court will consider the child's age and health, along with the child's developmental needs, which will change as the child grows. Each parent's age and health will also be considered. The relationship each parent has with the child will be considered, with an emphasis on the positive role a parent plays in the child's life and how well the parent will be able to assess the child's needs. The child's needs will be considered, particularly in light of the important relationship the child has with others, such as brothers and sisters, friends and relatives.

New tax laws could affect Virginians seeking a divorce in 2019

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act brought with it many changes to our nation's tax laws, including changes that could affect divorcing couples in Virginia and nationwide. Specifically, these tax laws affect how spousal support, also known as alimony, is paid and taxed.

Currently those who receive spousal maintenance must report these payments as income on their federal income tax filings, and those who pay spousal maintenance in cash can deduct these payments on their federal income tax filings. However, starting on January 1, 2019, those who pay spousal maintenance cannot deduct these payments and those who receive spousal maintenance do not have to report these payments as income. The new law applies to all those who finalize their divorce after January 1, 2019. Therefore, some people are pushing to finalize their divorce before the New Year, so they can be grandfathered into the current spousal maintenance tax laws.

DUI checkpoints increased across Virginia through Labor Day

Summer is coming to a close in Virginia, and Labor Day is often considered the last hurrah of the season. It is also a popular time to have picnics and parties, often where alcohol is served. Most people in Virginia are responsible drinkers and are aware that drunk driving could lead to undesirable legal consequences. Therefore, they will not become intoxicated over the Labor Day weekend. However, they should still be aware that Virginia police will be increasing the number of DUI checkpoints across the state from now through Labor Day weekend.

Specifically, State Police will set up 612 saturation patrols and 94 sobriety checkpoints across the state. Most people already know that the legal limit here is 0.08 percent, and those whose blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit could be arrested for drunk driving. But, drivers should also be aware that they could face drunk driving charges, even if their blood alcohol concentration is below 0.08 percent, if it can be shown that their judgment, response time or coordination were impaired.

Tips for co-parenting during the school year after a divorce

Kids throughout Virginia are getting ready for the new school year. For parents that are divorced, however, preparing their child for school involves more than simply buying new shoes and school supplies. They will need to make sure that their child custody and visitation schedule is workable during the school year, and that they and their ex are on the same page when it comes to their child's education. The following are some tips on co-parenting during the school year.

These days, most schools have websites where parents can check their child's grades, attendance and other information. Divorced parents should make sure they can access this information. If it is not possible for each parent to have their own login, then the parent with the login access should give the access information to the other parent so they both can view this information directly.

What rights to Virginia juveniles have when accused of a crime?

Teenagers in Virginia sometimes make mistakes or fall in with the wrong crowd. They are still developing mentally and do not have the foresight or maturity of a grown adult. For these reasons, except in the case of serious criminal offenses, a juvenile accused of a crime will not always go through the same criminal trial process as an adult.

Juvenile crimes in general are handled by the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court unless the juvenile is tried as an adult. When a juvenile is accused of a crime, rather than going through a "trial" before the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, the juvenile will have an "adjudicatory hearing." The juvenile's case is decided by a judge, not a jury.

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