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Leesburg Virginia Drunk Driving Defense Law Blog

County supervisor in Virginia accused of drunk boating

Whether it is on a lake, a river or the ocean, many people in Virginia will head out on boats this summer. However, when a person is on a speed boat, a pontoon boat or any other type of boat, they should understand that they must take care if they are consuming alcohol at the time. This is because it is possible for a person to face criminal charges for doing so, as one incident at the end of June shows.

According to a news report, a York County Supervisor is facing criminal charges, including one for boating under the influence. He was stopped by Marine Police on the Poquoson River. The accused stated that he was heading home after dining at an area waterfront restaurant. He says he did see a Virginia Marine Resources Commission boat with its lights on, but did not realize it was heading in his direction. He stated that once he became aware the VMRC boat wanted to stop him, he signaled that he was going to stop at his dock for safety reasons. The dock was around 500 feet away and was lit. He says he never meant to evade the police. He also did say that alcohol was involved. The incident is being investigated.

Virginia couples may cite money arguments as reason for divorce

People in Virginia often come into their marriages with very different money habits. Some may be savers, while others may be spenders. It can be a sticking point for a while, until a couple comes to a consensus about how to handle their finances. Unfortunately, financial matters are fraught with difficulties, especially if couples just can't agree about whether to spend or whether to save. In fact, according to one article, some studies report that financial disagreements are the primary reason couples get divorced.

One reason a couple might run into financial issues is if they do not have much in the way of savings. The aforementioned article states that 50 percent of families in the United States have under $1,000 stashed away for emergencies. This can put stress on a person's marriage. This is true when an emergency situation comes up or if it means that the couple is living paycheck to paycheck.

How much will your ex get in your divorce?

Dividing property in a marriage is one of the most difficult parts of divorce. It can be highly contentious and involve hidden assets. The more property you have, the more complex the process becomes. All this may cause you to worry about how much your ex will get in the divorce, especially if you feel he or she does not deserve a fair share due to being responsible for the split, abusive or deceptive.

The reality is that your ex will get more than you want to give up. However, Virginia is an equitable distribution state. This means that property division is not automatically 50/50. Instead, many factors determine the fair amount for each party, as well as the need for and the amount of alimony.

Why should you finalize your divorce in 2018?

2018 is more than half way over. For many people in Virginia, the first half of the year was a blur and they wonder where the time went. However, for those in unhappy marriages, these months may have seemed to drag on. Sometimes, if a person's marriage just cannot be saved, divorce is in their future. However, there are some important tax reasons why a person might want to consider divorcing before the year ends.

The U.S. tax laws underwent dramatic changes in 2017. Some of these changes affect spousal maintenance. Currently, the person who pays maintenance can deduct such payments from their income taxes, while the person who receives maintenance must report it as income on their income taxes. However, starting in 2019, the person who pays maintenance cannot deduct these payments from their income taxes, and the person who receives maintenance no longer needs to count it as income when it comes to their income taxes. If a person wishes to be grandfathered under the current maintenance tax laws, they will need to divorce before 2019.

Virginia DUI penalties increase if there is a child in the car

Many of us have seen the familiar yellow "baby on board" sign on a motorist's window. When a person in Virginia drives with a minor in their car, they will often take care to drive safely, as they do not want to do anything that might harm the child. However, sometimes a person is accused of driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle. This is a very serious situation.

If a person is convicted on drunk driving charges and the person had a child age 17 or under in the vehicle when the DUI offense took place, the penalties they face are significantly raised. In addition to the fines and jail time a person will be penalized with in connection to their DUI offense, if there is a minor in the vehicle age 17 or under when the DUI offense took place, the motorist will also spend five days in jail and will be fined an additional $500 to $1,000. If a person is convicted on a second DUI offense with a minor in the vehicle age 17 or under, then the person must also perform 80 hours of community service, along with all other penalties.

Keeping emotions in check when dividing assets

Many people in Virginia who are going through a divorce are suffering from a broken heart or the disappointment that a marriage they thought would last forever is ending. They may be angry at their spouse for events that led up to the end of the marriage. Yet, they must remember that the decisions they make during the divorce process could affect them for the rest of their lives. It is important to try to think practically when it comes to property division, even during what is understandably an emotional time.

First, it can help to nail down exactly what you want out of the divorce. What property are you ready to fight for during property division, and what property are you willing to let go of? Having a clear idea of where you stand when it comes to dividing assets can help the negotiation process run more smoothly.

Virginia governor signs two new crime bills into law

Virginia keeps a DNA database in which a person convicted of a crime has his or her DNA collected and kept. This DNA could link a person to a past or future crime. In some cases, it could exonerate a person accused of a crime. However, when it comes to DNA analysis, as well as the taking of fingerprints and photographs after a conviction, it is important that one's due process rights aren't violated.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently signed into law two bills regarding mandatory DNA testing and analysis for certain individuals and expanding fingerprint databases in the state. Under one of the new laws, those who receive a conviction for misdemeanor battery, assault or criminal trespassing must submit to DNA analysis. The other new law makes it mandatory for police to include fingerprints and a photograph in the reports for those who are convicted for disorderly conduct or trespassing.

Can DNA evidence be expunged in Virginia?

When it comes to violent crimes, a person in Virginia may be convicted based, at least in part, on DNA evidence. Other times, investigators will collect DNA evidence from a crime site, with the intent of locating or charging the alleged perpetrator. However, DNA evidence is not infallible, and sometimes a person will be charged or convicted of a crime they did not commit based on the wrong DNA evidence. When this happens, what will happen to the DNA evidence, and how will it affect the accused?

DNA evidence is often stored in local, state or federal data banks. Under Virginia Code ยง19.2-11.10, if it is determined in writing from a Commonwealth lawyer or a law-enforcement agency that DNA stored in a data bank does not have a connection to the criminal offense at issue, the DNA evidence will be expunged -- that is, removed -- from the DNA data bank. DNA evidence will also be expunged from the applicable DNA data bank if it is shown that the DNA does not match that of the putative perpetrator.

Being charged with DUI is a serious issue in Virginia

Whether it is a summer wedding, a backyard barbecue, at the ballgame or during happy hour, many people in Virginia will celebrate such events with a drink or two. Most people in Virginia are responsible drinkers. However, the dangers associated with drunk driving are well known, so when Virginia residents are out drinking, they will either moderate so they don't become intoxicated, ride with a designated driver, take a cab or stay where they are until they are sober enough to drive.

However, once they are on the road, police only need reasonable suspicion that a traffic offense or other crime is occurring to pull a driver over. And, if the officer suspects the driver is under the influence of alcohol, the situation can become very serious, very quickly. Even a driver who has had a single drink could be accused of driving under the influence. Police may rely on a field sobriety test or breath test in order to determine whether a driver should be arrested and charged with drunk driving.

Virginians should think of their financial futures in a divorce

Financial issues can be a sensitive topic between spouses, and money is often at the root of many divorces. Once a couple in Virginia has decided to end their marriage, trying to reach an out-of-court settlement can help divorcing spouses, particularly when it comes to financial issues. This is because when it comes to executing a settlement agreement, each spouse has more of a say in the outcome of their divorce, which may make them more satisfied with the final result. However, there are a couple points couples should keep in mind when addressing money-related issues during their divorce negotiations.

First, spouses may understand that there must be complete transparency with regards to assets, liabilities and income when it comes to property division, child custody, child support and spousal maintenance. However, this transparency must continue even after the divorce is final. For example, if the spouses agree to share certain costs, bills will need to be kept and shared. If a spouse experiences some other financial upswing or downfall, this will also need to be communicated, as it could require a modification of a child support or spousal maintenance order.

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