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Leesburg Virginia Drunk Driving Defense Law Blog

Amazon founder settles property division issues in his divorce

Most people in Virginia have ordered something from the online retail giant Amazon at some point in time, and it seems like the company grows in popularity every day. The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has recently settled his divorce with his wife, MacKenzie Bezos.

Under the terms of the couple's divorce settlement, Bezos will retain 75 percent of the couple's shares in Amazon and he will retain sole voting authority over his soon-to-be ex-wife's stock in the company. This means that Bezos has an approximately 12 percent interest in Amazon worth nearly $108 billion, while his wife has approximately a 4 percent interest in the company worth nearly $36 billion. Bezos was also awarded total ownership over The Washington Post and the space company Blue Origin.

How does an annulment differ from a divorce?

Our readers may have heard the news that following a recent wedding in Las Vegas, actor Nicholas Cage is sought an annulment after only having been married for four days. While this might seem to be a story out of a movie or television program, the fact of the matter is that sometime a couple who quickly realize that their marriage will not last will seek an annulment rather than a divorce. This may cause people to wonder, how does an annulment differ from a divorce?

An annulment differs from a divorce in the sense that while a divorce recognizes a marriage existed and it is now over, in an annulment the court deems that, for legal purposes, the marriage never existed at all. Thus, the marriage is "void." An annulment can affect your marital property rights, stop you from inheriting a share of your former spouse's estate and you will not be eligible for spousal support.

Virginia has a zero tolerance policy for underage DUI

It is not unusual for teenagers and young adults to dabble in risky behavior, including drinking alcohol, even if they're underage. However, just like adults, those under age 21 sometimes find themselves facing drunk driving charges. Virginia residents may wonder, however, if those under the legal drinking age will face the same penalties adults do if they are convicted of DUI.

Virginia has a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to underage drinking. It is illegal for those under age 21 to buy, possess or drink alcohol. In fact, there is a lower legal limit for those under age 21 when it comes to drunk driving. The legal limit for those over age 21 is 0.08 percent. However, the legal limit for those under age 21 sits at merely 0.02 percent. Effectively, this means that those under 21 who have only had one drink before driving could potentially face a DUI charge.

Have you considered mediation as an option for divorce?

If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, your first thought may be about the traditional form, which requires going to court. However, if you believe the two of you can resolve your differences in a more amicable fashion, the better option could be mediation.

A little background

Does Virginia allow for DUI expungement?

Most people in Virginia understand that being convicted of driving under the influence can have a significant long-term impact on a person's entire life. Of course, there are the initial penalties, such as fines, the suspension of a driver's license and possible jail time to contend with. However, even after a person has paid their debt to society, having a DUI on your criminal record will show up when a person performs a criminal background check on you. This could limit your housing options and employment opportunities, meaning that you could feel the effects of that DUI conviction for a very long time.

One way that a person might want to address their DUI charges is to see if they can have the charges expunged from their criminal record. However, in Virginia, this is only an option in very limited circumstances. If a person in Virginia was charged with DUI, but was either acquitted, or the prosecution abandoned the charges or the charges were otherwise dismissed, it may be possible for a person to seek an expungement of the DUI from their criminal record. Note that in Virginia, if a person is convicted of DUI, expungement is not an option.

New app aims to help co-parents with child custody issues

These days there are many different types of apps aimed at helping divorced parents in Virginia and across the nation who want to co-parent their child. A new app on the market, coParenter, aims to help make co-parenting easier. The app provides a means for parents to share calendars and schedules. It also has location-based tools that can be used during child custody exchanges and provides a way for parents to request a one-time change in their normal parenting-time schedule if necessary. Parents can keep track of their expenses relating to the child, as well as reimbursements. It also provides tools parents can use when it comes to making day-to-day care decisions with regards to raising their child.

The app has a "solo mode" that allows one parent to use the app, even if their ex does not. What makes the app unique, however, is that the coParenter app is designed to help divorced parents interact with one another in a productive manner, even during high-conflict situations. The app uses artificial intelligence technology to flag swear words and other offensive language to stop a heated disagreement from getting worse, not unlike a human mediator would, and can warn parents that such language could be inappropriate.

Birdnesting is a unique approach to child custody

Parents in Virginia who are going through a divorce may want to make joint custody work, so that they can both play a meaningful role in the day-to-day upbringing of their child. However, joint custody does not always mean that the child must be shuffled from one house to another every week. In one unique child custody arrangement known as "birdnesting," the child stays put in the family home, and it is the parents who take turns living there with the child and residing in a separate apartment when it is not their time to have custody of the child.

Some parents believe birdnesting provides the child with the stability the child needs following a major life upheaval, such as a divorce. When the child stays in the family home, the child can stay in the same neighborhood, go to the same school they had while their parents were married and they do not need to go through the stress that child custody exchanges can sometimes cause. However, parents considering birdnesting should understand that, in some ways, it is more complex than traditional child custody arrangements.

Codeine can lead to possession charges but can cold medicine?

It is well-known that certain illicit substances have the potential to cause substantial harm, and thus possession of these substances is illegal. Some of these dangerous substances include heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. However, sometimes even the possession of prescription or over-the-counter drugs can be illegal in Virginia under federal law.

To possess prescription drugs, a person must have a valid prescription for the medication from a physician. For example, codeine is prescribed to treat pain. However, it is classified under federal law as a Schedule III substance, and if people possess it without a prescription they could face prescription drug charges. The same can be said for other prescription drugs. For example, Valium and Xanax are used to treat anxiety, but they are also Schedule IV substances. This means if people possess them without a valid prescription, they can be charged with a drug offense.

How to prepare for the property division process

When a couple in Virginia decides to end their marriage, they will need to make some important decisions regarding the division of their assets and liabilities. These decisions can affect their entire future post-divorce. It is important for each party to be prepared with the right information before property division negotiations begin.

Once you have made the decision to divorce, it can help to take inventory of all your assets and pertinent financial documents. This includes identifying your marital and non-marital assets, as well as gathering bank statements, investment account statements and the deed to your house. Similarly, any statements or documents regarding debts, such as a mortgage or credit card account, should be collected. Estate planning documents and insurance policies are also useful to have on hand. Finally, if you have a prenuptial agreement, make sure to locate this important document as it can help the entire property division process run smoother.

Virginia bill would change penalties for certain DUI offenses

Police and prosecutors in Virginia take drunk driving seriously, and generally want to ensure that those who drive under the influence are punished accordingly. Lawmakers also recognize that drunk driving is a serious issue in the commonwealth, and some of them are looking to impose harsher penalties for those who commit certain DUI offenses.

Under current Virginia law, if a motorist is intoxicated and causes an accident that results in significant permanent damage, that motorist will be facing felony drunk driving charges. If the accident resulted in body injuries that were not significant or permanent, then, in general, such a motorist will only be charged with a misdemeanor.

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