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Leesburg Virginia Drunk Driving Defense Law Blog

Allegedly drunk driver drives off road, kills niece

When residents of Virginia elect to drive after consuming too many alcoholic beverages, they worry only about being arrested for drunk driving. They rarely consider the more serious consequences of drunk driving, such as losing control of the vehicle and causing death or serious injury to other people. In a recent case from southern Virginia, a man allegedly failed to make this calculation, and his niece was killed as a consequence.

The defendant in the case was driving a pickup truck on Traynham Grove Road in Halifax County with his niece as the only passenger. According to police, at about 8:00 p.m., the man lost control of his pickup, and it swerved into the opposite lane. The driver then attempted to re-enter the highway, but he overcorrected. The truck re-crossed the highway and ran off the right side of the road. It crashed into a tree and stopped.

Appointment of a guardian ad litem can help children in a divorce

Many divorces in Northern Virginia involve minor children. Issues such as child custody and child support bear directly upon the child's welfare, but in many cases, the child does not have independent representation to ensure that these issues are fully litigated in their best interests. To remedy this, the Virginia court system appoints "guardians ad litem" (GAL). If a judge in a divorce case appoints a GAL for the children in the case, the GAL will act as the child's attorney for the duration of the case. A GAL can also be appointed for an adult who is not able to understand or participate in the proceeding.

All GALs must be attorneys admitted to practice in Virginia. The GAL's first duty is to meet face-to-face with the minor children involved in the divorce. The GAL must also investigate the child's home life, health and health care, relationship with each parent, and any other issues that are relevant to the decision before the court. Information obtained in the investigation must be provided to the court along with the GAL's recommendations on the issue before the court. The GAL must participate in pre-trial conferences, mediation, and settlement negotiations and ensure the child's attendance when that attendance would be appropriate or compulsory.

What should you do when you cannot co-parent with your ex?

When a couple chooses to part ways, they may start off with the best of intentions. If their separation was amicable, it may prove to signal a positive divorce and post-divorce experience.

However, what if your experience is different or changes later on down the line? What if your ex suddenly stops communicating and starts doing things contrary to previous beliefs and practices? When you and your ex have children and need to develop a post-divorce parenting strategy, you may want to skip the co-parenting and adopt a parallel plan instead.

Ignition interlock device laws in Virginia

A DUI conviction in Virginia may pose problems moving forward depending on the details of the incident. Some repercussions may prove more bothersome and expensive than others.

Under the law, anyone convicted of a DUI has to install an ignition interlock system in order to resume driving. On its face, this seems a small price to pay for a resumption of driving privileges. However, how does this device work, and what are some of the parameters around using it?

How do Virginia courts divide marital property and debts?

When Virginia residents begin to consider ending their marriage, one of the first questions is what will happen to the couple's assets and debts. Virginia courts are guided by a legislative enumeration of factors that the courts must consider.

By law, married couples in Virginia can own two types of property: marital and separate (or personal). Separate property is property that was acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage. Marital property is all property titled in the names of both parties and property acquired during the marriage that is not separate property. The classification of property as marital or separate is not always as straightforward as the parties may anticipate.

Fairfax teacher charged with possessing child pornography

High school students provide some of the most vulnerable victims for pornographers because they are just beginning to experience and explore their sexuality. For this reason, among others, child pornography laws carry special penalties for violators. The recent arrest and arraignment of a teacher at Herndon High School serves as an example. The teacher at the Northern Virginia high school has just been arrested and charged with making illicit videos of students in various stages of undress.

The defendant was first arrested in April 2019 when a woman working at the defendant's residence claimed to have found a camera hidden in an air conditioning vent. When police first arrested the man, they had no direct evidence of the alleged crimes, and the defendant was charged with four misdemeanors of unlawful filming and released on bond. However, after police reviewed approximately 3,500 videos found the man's 32 electronic devices, they concluded that the evidence was sufficient to support a prosecution. Police said that the defendant's videos were allegedly filmed at the school during normal school hours for classes, rehearsals, and other events. Some videos were apparently taken in another state. Police have been busy contacting persons who were identified from the videos. The videos were taken between June 2017 and May 2018. Many of the victims allegedly were not aware of the defendant's activities.

What is the court procedure if a family law order is ignored?

Family law disputes are common in Virginia and it is often left up to the court to issue orders and make sure they are followed. If there is a family law order regarding spousal support or child support, or additional support and maintenance are owed and the person ordered to make the payments fails to do so, it is important for both sides to understand what steps will be taken under the law. For people who are dealing with these issues, getting the right legal information is crucial to attempt to settle the matter for the party who is to receive the payments and the party who has been ordered to pay and has been accused of failing to do so.

There are several laws that regulate how the court addresses these situations. The court can enforce the support requirement by ordering the person's employer to withhold the necessary amount from their paycheck so it can be sent to the spouse or custodial parent who is supposed to receive it. The court can order there be what is known as "recognizance" - which is a bond - for it to be paid. Or, the court can even send the spouse or parent who has not paid what is owed to jail or put them on a work release program.

Three arrested in alleged cocaine trafficking ring

Some drug arrests come about more or less by chance. For example, many people are found to be in possession of illegal drugs during routine traffic stops. Other drug arrests come about as the result of long investigations. These are likely to lead to serious charges of drug trafficking and other crimes.

Three people were arrested recently in Loudoun County as part of what police called a cocaine trafficking ring. Police said they had been investigating the trio since March, and an undercover agent had purchased an assault rifle from one of the alleged traffickers.

Expungement of police and court records in Virginia

Being arrested and charged with a crime is an extremely unpleasant experience, but the consequences can also be unpleasant. A written record of the arrest and criminal charge can follow a person for an entire lifetime, adversely affecting job possibilities, credit and other important personal matters. Virginia law permits certain persons to remove their name and other information from the state's police and court records. The process is called "expungement," and it is available to anyone who has been charged with a crime and then either acquitted or has the charges dismissed.

The purpose of expungement is to correct the state's criminal records and eliminate all references to the innocent person. Expungement is obtained by filing of a petition setting forth the relevant facts and requesting "expungement of the police records and the court records relating to the charge." The petition shall be filed in the circuit court where the case was resolved, either by acquittal or dismissal. The petition must include certain relevant data, such as the date of arrest, the name of the arresting agency, the specific criminal charge for which expungement is requests, and information about the petitioner, including name, address and birth date.

Proving paternity in Virginia

The paternity lawsuit seems a bit anachronistic in the early decades of the 21st century, but for some young mothers in Virginia, proving that a particular man is the biological father of her child can be the difference between living in poverty and having enough money to provide for the baby's and her basic welfare. Knowing the identity of the child's biological father can also help diagnose certain genetically transmitted diseases. Also, many studies have shown that young children benefit emotionally from knowing their father.

Paternity can be established in two basic ways. Both parents can acknowledge paternity voluntarily by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity under oath. These forms are most commonly signed at the hospital after the mother gives birth. The forms can also be signed later in the presence of a notary public.

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