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Leesburg Virginia Drunk Driving Defense Law Blog

Teacher in Virginia accused of DWI following accident

Being a teacher is a very respected occupation. Parents across Virginia put great faith in those tasked with educating their children. After all, having a good education as a child can pave the way to great success throughout the child's lifetime. However, if a teacher is accused of a crime, it could affect both their professional career as well as their personal life.

An elementary school teacher in Virginia is now facing drunk driving charges following an afternoon crash in which she allegedly struck another vehicle from behind. According to police, the teacher initially said that she was looking at an email when the accident occurred. However, upon questioning, the teacher allegedly said she had consumed alcohol days earlier and was taking an antidepressant. She complied with a field sobriety test, which she allegedly failed, and a breath test performed later on reportedly showed her blood alcohol concentration was over the legal limit. Also, police saw what they initially believed to be a broken perfume bottle in her vehicle, but later deemed it to be a bottle of liquor.

How can social media affect a DUI case?

Many people have become accustomed to posting every last detail of their lives on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In 2013, Facebook reported that users uploaded 350 million new photos every day. 

If the police arrest you for DUI, then you can be certain they will take a look at your social media. Courts have slowly acclimated to the prevalence of social media in modern society, and there are plenty of cases where a person's Facebook post played a crucial role in the trial. You need to be mindful that if there is a picture of you drinking on the night in question uploaded to Facebook, then the prosecution will find it. 

How to behave at a DUI checkpoint

Many people wonder whether DUI checkpoints are actually legal. The truth of the matter is that it varies by state, but in Virginia, these checkpoints are legal. The only condition is that the police must announce the location of the checkpoint to the public beforehand. 

Whether you are completely sober or had a drink or two earlier in the evening, you need to behave the right way to get through this checkpoint unscathed. The police officers are simply there to do their job, and you can make things easier on everyone by following these steps. 

Mediation may help parents make child custody decisions

Sometimes some of the toughest and most emotional decisions parents in Virginia must make when they are getting a divorce have to deal with child custody. It can be difficult to reconcile that there will be times when your child is not in your care, but will be in the care of your ex-spouse periodically. Moreover, such important decisions can be difficult to make if you and your ex-spouse still have hard feelings against one another.

However, in any child custody case, the best interests of the child must prevail. In fact, the "best interests of the child" is the legal standard that a court will use when making child custody rulings. Of course, not every child custody decision has to go to court. Sometimes, parents can agree to settle matters out-of-court through mediation.

Facing drunk driving charges is a serious situation

Most people who know they're going to a place where they'll be drinking alcohol will have some sort of plan for getting home safely. Of course, drinking in moderation, or not at all, and making sure you are sober when it's time to leave is an option that many people decide is right for them. After all, it is possible to have just one drink with a meal and not become drunk in the slightest. Unfortunately, police in Virginia are always on the lookout for those they think are driving under the influence, and they will not hesitate to pull someone over based on that suspicion.

Being pulled over by the police is an intimidating experience no matter what the circumstances. However, when the police are shining a flashlight at you and asking you to perform a field sobriety test, a person can become incredibly nervous, even if they are not drunk. Some tests, like the one-leg stand or walking toe-to-toe in a straight line, can be difficult even for any person.

Does genetics play a role in the likelihood of divorce?

Given the many complexities and experiences in any given marital relationship, it is no surprise that there are many things that go into a couple's decision to end their marriage. People in Virginia contemplating divorce may be musing over what actions or inactions lead to the demise of their marriage. One study, however, suggests that genetics may play a role.

Back in January, a study in the scientific publication Psychological Science reported that there might be a genetic component to the probability of divorce. In this study from Virginia Commonwealth University and the Swedish university Lund University, researchers compared the divorce rate of almost 20,000 participants in Sweden who had been put up for adoption prior to age 10 to the divorce rates of those participants' biological parents.

Don't underestimate the impact of juvenile crimes

Parents in Leesburg do their best to raise their children to become kind, respectful, self-sufficient and productive members of society. However, part of growing up is making mistakes, and sometimes a teenager is accused of doing something illegal. This situation might not seem so serious at first, but parents and teens must keep in mind that a criminal conviction acquired in their youth can impact their entire future.

Sometimes teens who are accused of a crime think that if they take a plea bargain they will be better off in the long run. However, this is not always the case. Teens need to understand the big picture of the potential consequences of taking a plea bargain. This is because a conviction could affect a teen's ability to go to college, get a job or even take out a loan.

Changes to tax law could complicate divorce in Virginia

Tax season is here, and those who are divorced and have not yet filed their taxes may find it more difficult in years to come. This is due to recently passed legislation that affects how spousal maintenance is taxed.

For the past 70 years, the party paying spousal maintenance was allowed to deduct these payments from their annual income taxes, while the party receiving spousal maintenance would have to report the payments as income and have them taxed at a rate of 15 percent. However, under the recently passed federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, beginning in 2019 the party paying spousal maintenance will no longer be able to deduct these payments, and in fact would be taxed on them at the federal level. Moreover, the party receiving spousal maintenance would no longer have to pay taxes on these payments. Divorces finalized prior to 2019 will be grandfathered in under the previous tax laws, but this new law would be applicable to any divorce finalized after December 31, 2018.

Bill would significantly broaden Virginia distracted driving laws

The Virginia Senate has recently approved legislation that would make it illegal to use a handheld cellphone while operating a motor vehicle. The bill passed by a 29-11 vote. The bill will now go on to the Virginia House of Representatives and, if approved, to the governor's desk for a signature.

Under the bill, motorists would be prohibited from holding a cellphone to their ears while operating a motor vehicle. However, motorists will still be able to utilize voice activation services. Motorists will also still be able to make phone calls using their cellphone's speakerphone feature. Playing music on one's cellphone or using a cellphone GPS will only be permitted if the cellphone has been attached to either the vehicle's windshield or dashboard. Finally, motorists would be prohibited from using the Internet or social media services while operating their motor vehicles on the interstate. If a motorist breaks this law, he or she would receive a $125 fine and a traffic violation. A second or subsequent incident of breaking this law would lead to a $250 fine.

Protect your assets in the event of a divorce

Premarital agreements, also known as prenuptial agreements, can be helpful for many soon-to-be wed couples in Virginia. If one or both partners is coming into the marriage with significant assets or has their own business, a premarital agreement can address who will keep these assets in the event of a divorce. Even couples who are starting out in their marriage with few assets of their own can use a premarital agreement to lay out who will get what with the assets they intend to purchase during the course of the marriage. However, for many reasons, not every couple executes a premarital agreement prior to walking down the aisle. Fortunately, there are still ways these couples can protect their separate property while married, just in case the marriage doesn't last.

Some couples intend to open joint bank accounts once their married. While having a joint bank account can be convenient, it is important to understand that the funds in it may be considered marital property, even if separate funds are placed in it, due to commingling. So, it can help for each partner to open their own separate bank account as well. The joint bank account can be used to purchase marital property, and the separate bank account can be used to pay for items that a spouse wants to keep separate. In addition, gifts and inheritances can be protected by being placed in a separate bank account.

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