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Leesburg Virginia Drunk Driving Defense Law Blog

The digital age offers new tools to those seeking divorce

The number of couples in the U.S. who decide to end their marriage is on the decline for adults born between 1981 and 1996 -- also known as "millennials" -- according to some researchers. However, the fact of the matter is that some millennials in Virginia and across the U.S. will still decide to divorce. Younger adults are more apt to have a greater social media presence than older adults -- from Facebook and Instagram accounts, to Twitter feeds and accounts other social media platforms. These individuals may also be more likely to use online services to facilitate their divorce.

For example, one online platform, dtour.life, allows users to keep track of their financial information digitally. Users can enter bank account information, record what they spend money on and log what assets they hold. This information can be an important part of the financial aspects of divorce, including property division and calculating an appropriate amount of spousal maintenance.

Are field sobriety tests performed at a DUI stop infallible?

If an officer suspects a person in Virginia is drunk driving, the officer may perform a field sobriety test before performing a breath test. There are three standard field sobriety tests that may be performed at a DUI stop. They include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test and the one-leg stand test.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is intended to measure intoxication based on the involuntary movements of the motorist's eyes. These movements may be exaggerated if a person is drunk. Officers performing this test will note whether the motorist can smoothly follow a moving object, whether the motorist's eyes involuntarily move within 45 degrees of their center and the involuntary movement of a motorist's eyes when they are at maximum deviation.

How can Virginians prepare for the financial aspects of divorce?

Divorce involves not just the unraveling of a personal relationship, but also a financial relationship. Virginia couples seeking to end their marriage will face financial and property issues that must be resolved before they can part ways. Property division is a major focus of many divorces, and its outcome can affect a spouse well after the divorce has concluded. It can help to keep a few points in mind when it comes to the financial aspects of divorce.

For example, when preparing for a divorce, it is important to collect all the necessary financial records and paperwork. This includes bank account statements, Social Security statements, record of payments on major assets, receipts for any improvements made on the family home, retirement account statements, tax information and paystubs. These documents can be useful for negotiating a settlement. In the property division process, all of a person's assets, liabilities and sources of income must be made known to the other party.

Harassment via the Internet can lead to criminal sanctions

The digital age has provided us with new ways of communicating with one another that decades ago may have seemed impossible. With the advent of the Internet came email, chatrooms, social media platforms, video conferencing and more. In fact, it may seem as if there are more ways to communicate with one another than ever before.

However, with this increase in technology came the rise of a new crime: cyberbullying. In fact, harassment by computer violates the law in Virginia. Under ยง18.2-152.7:1 of the Code of Virginia, if a person uses a computer or computer network to communicate something obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd or lascivious or suggests of proposes something of an obscene nature or makes a threat that he or she will do something illegal or immoral, with the intent to coerce, intimidate or harass another person, this is a Class 1 misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor can lead to a jail term of up to 12 months and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Life has changed -- can spousal support in Virginia change too?

Paying spousal support can be a sticking point between a couple, even after their divorce is finalized. Not only does it tie a person to an ex-spouse well after their marriage has ended, but life events may occur that makes one party feel the spousal support order needs to be modified. However, not all spousal support requests will be honored.

Under Virginia law, either the paying party or the receiving party may choose to ask the court to modify a spousal support order. It is important to note that the judge has the discretion to increase the award, decrease the award or even terminate the award, regardless of which party asked for it to be changed. The court must find that a material change in circumstance has occurred that could not have reasonably been contemplated when the order was issued, or that it was anticipated that a certain significant event would take place, but that event never actually takes place through no fault of either party. The court may consider several factors when making its decision.

The stakes are high when a trucker in Virginia gets a DUI

It takes skill to handle a semi-truck, bus or other large commercial vehicle. In fact, drivers of these vehicles must obtain a special license to operate them. In addition, the law holds them to a higher standard of care than motorists of standard automobiles, specifically when it comes to drunk driving.

The legal blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers of a standard automobile in Virginia is 0.08 percent. However, the legal limit for the operator of a large commercial vehicle is half that -- 0.04 percent. In addition, per Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, drivers of commercial vehicles cannot be on the road within four hours of drinking alcohol. A violation of these laws could lead to drunk driving charges.

New app aims to help parents with child custody issues

Parents in Virginia who have gone through a divorce may want to try to keep the matter as stress-free as possible for their children. In an effort to try to put their children's needs first, they may attempt co-parenting with regards to child custody and parenting time. Through co-parenting, parents will generally make decisions regarding their child's care together, and they may both play an active role in the upbringing of their child, for example, by attending important events with the child together.

However, co-parenting can have its challenges, especially if parents have a tough time communicating with one another after their divorce. However, a new app -- coParenter -- aims to help parents address child custody and parenting time issues before they become problems. Through the app, parents can coordinate their calendars with one another and "check in" at locations where they are picking up or dropping off children for their respective parenting time periods. The app also allows parents to exchange messages with one another that cannot later be edited, and it gives parents access to child support expense forms and legal documents.

Is aiding and abetting the same thing as conspiracy in Virginia?

What happens if you give someone a loaded gun, knowing that they're going to use it to do something illegal? Or, what if you serve as the getaway driver for a person who has committed a crime such as burglary? Perhaps you didn't plan the crime itself, but you did something that you knew would help another person commit that crime. In these cases, Virginia residents may have committed complicity, and could be criminally charged.

Complicity -- also known as "aiding and abetting" in Virginia -- takes place when a person assists or encourages another person to do something illegal. An accomplice can be subjected to the same penalties as the person who committed the crime. The key point when it comes to complicity is whether the alleged accomplice intentionally and voluntarily either aided and abetted another person to commit a crime or, under certain circumstances, failed to stop a person from committing a crime. This knowing or purposeful mental state is known as "mens rea."

Planning ahead for summer vacation: 3 custody tips

Many people begin planning and saving for summer vacation early in the year. Summer is one of the most difficult times to co-parent. No matter who gets to take the kids on a vacation this year, remember that this is a time to relax. You do not need to go through the emotional turmoil of renewing old arguments with your ex. 

Before you solidify your summer vacation plans, it is vital to sort out some details first. Here are some things you can accomplish to make summer custody easier to manage.

Who can be the victim of domestic violence in Virginia?

It is not unusual for those who live together to get into arguments sometimes. Most of the time these arguments involve nothing but words and are ultimately resolved with no issue. Other times, however, these arguments can escalate into a physical altercation that leads to charges of domestic violence.

Under the Code of Virginia, domestic violence occurs when a person commits a violent or forceful act or threat, including forceful detention, against a family or household member that either places that person in reasonable apprehension that they will be seriously harmed or that results in serious injuries. This is referred to as assault and battery against a family or household member. Depending on the circumstances, this crime could be penalized as a Class 1 misdemeanor all the way to a Class 6 felony.

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