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Roanoke Criminal Defense Blog

DUIs are costly in more ways than one

Getting a ticket for driving under the influence (DUI) costs you more than your dignity or a night in jail while you sober up. The fines and social penalties associated with a DUI may be severe. A person's first DUI can cost $2,000 or more, which is a hefty price tag for a single mistake.

Of course, the expense of a DUI is part of the way the law intends to deter people from driving drunk. If they know the risk of a fine as high as that is possible, some people will avoid drinking and driving out of concern for the cost. This isn't the only way a DUI costs you, though. Your car insurance is likely to spike in price.

What constitutes assault?

When a conflict between two or more people gets heated, it is often difficult to know when the situation moves from tense or frustrating to legally actionable. In many cases, some people believe that as long as they do not physically harm someone, there are no grounds to press charges. This, however, is not always true.

Assault charges can arise even if no one physically harms another person. If you or someone you love recently received assault charges, you should consult with an experienced defense attorney. It is crucial to use all the tools available to defend yourself and protect your legal rights. The guidance of an attorney can help you examine the details of your experience and identify strong strategies you can use to fight the charges.

Facing a charge? Here's what to expect from your attorney

When you're facing a drug charge, weapons crime charge or other type of charge, it's important to develop a defense against those allegations. Most people are aware that they have a right to an attorney, but some may not understand the importance of working with one.

Attorneys are professionals trained in law. They're familiar with cases like yours and the law as it applies to your situation. Since that's the case, they're in the perfect position to help someone who faces charges. Here are a few things you can expect if you work with an attorney.

Facing charges of marijuana? You have a right to a defense

The possession of marijuana is unlawful in Virginia unless it is obtained with a valid prescription. As someone with an injury but no medical marijuana card, it's important that you go through the proper channels to obtain the drug. If you don't, you could face drug charges even though you're using the drug in the same way as other patients.

The good thing about Virginia law is that there is a presumption that if marijuana is discovered in a home or vehicle, it's not necessarily the accused's. That gives you, if it is your home or vehicle, time to defend yourself. If you are found guilty, you'll face a misdemeanor charge and may go to jail for up to 30 days. You can even be fined up to $500.

Virginia: Biking while intoxicated could become illegal

Drunk driving is a serious offense, but is it as serious if you're not behind the wheel of an automobile? In Virginia, the State Senator George Barker thinks so, which is why he's backing SB1223, a bill that could make it a crime to get behind the wheel of any electric personal assistive mobility device and to drive on the highway while intoxicated.

The question this draws is how much this was a problem in the past. On the whole, vehicles this bill targets, like Segways and electric-powered bicycles, already aren't allowed to be on highways or interstates, because they don't move fast enough.

Student faces prison for threats against school

When you're young, it's possible to make mistakes that end up affecting your life for the foreseeable future. In many cases, young people who make errors in judgment don't realize how serious their errors are until it's too late to do anything about them. For instance, making threats against people, whether you have the ability to carry those threats out or not, could land you in hot water with the law.

Take for example this case involving a student who could face time in prison for a threat he made on social media. The student who goes to Powhatan High School has been charged with a felony for a social media threat against the school. According to the story from Oct. 12, the Powhatan County Sheriff's Office described the threat as being credible.

4 arrested in drug bust in Caroline County

When new drugs hit the market, it's not unusual for the police to go undercover to try to locate where it's coming from. Their operations could take months, and during that time, the focus on finding out the names of people who are involved in the drug trade.

Sometimes, that means that innocent people get caught in the crosshairs. People who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time could be accused of serious drug-related allegations.

Is marijuana legal in Virginia in any form?

You enjoy smoking marijuana on occasion. It's relaxing, and you don't think it has any negative effects. In fact, on a recent trip to Colorado, you enjoyed the freedom to smoke when you wanted to without the potential for being arrested or charged. That's not the case in every state, though.

If you've been using marijuana in Virginia, you may want to rethink your behaviors. Virginia does not yet recognize marijuana as a legal drug, and it still penalizes those who smoke, sell or distribute marijuana. While marijuana laws are changing throughout the states, Virginia doesn't recognize recreational or medical marijuana at all. Possessing as little as 2 ounces of cannabis can result in a jail sentence of up to 30 days as well as a fine of up to $500. Selling .5 ounces or more is a Class 5 felony.

Virginian gun laws: Common sense restrictions for safety

Every state has its own relationship with guns. Some states have loose gun control laws, while others are strict and barely allow sales. Virginia has fairly middle-of-the-line laws that have common-sense restrictions.

Virginian law does restrict who can own a gun, and it makes certain firearms illegal. Using or carrying guns on or near school grounds is illegal and an offense punishable with a felony.

Ignition interlock devices protect everyone, including you

Virginia's ignition interlock laws are keeping convicted drunk drivers from breaking the law a second time, which is good news for everyone. Getting convicted a second time costs hundreds to thousands of dollars, can result in incarceration and negatively affects your relationships. With an ignition interlock device, you might never have to see that happen.

In 2012, Virginia passed a law requiring all DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device installed. Interestingly, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) immediately reported that there was a 67 percent drop in the number of DUIs caused by repeat offenders in states where this law was implemented. In Virginia, Roanoke reported a drop right away. In 2012 to 2013, there were 474 arrested, but in 2014 to 2015, that dropped to 309. In 2015 to 2016, that dropped again to 215. The number rose slightly in 2016 to 2017 to 265, but that may be due to more officers spending time patrolling for drivers who are under the influence.

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15 Salem Avenue SE Suite 203
Roanoke, Virginia 24011

Phone: 540-627-5182
Fax: 540-491-9696
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