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Roanoke Criminal Defense Blog

Addiction crisis fuel: How the VA played a part

When you come back from battle with wounds that are painful and disabling, the last thing you want is to be left in pain. The way the VA hospitals handled this was by giving out opioids, which are now known to be highly addictive pain medications.

There are around 64,000 fatal drug overdoses every year, and opioids fuel that number. The Department of Veterans Affairs did nothing to help this. In fact, a 2011 report showed that veterans were around two times more likely to die from an overdose from opiates than nonveterans.

Fighting marijuana charges within a changing legal landscape

Marijuana is not looked at in the way it once was. It's important to realize that it's still illegal in many states, Virginia included. Despite that, arrests are not as common as they once were.

Even though many officers look the other way for minor marijuana possession, not everyone does. A first-time offense for possessing marijuana is a misdemeanor with up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500, if the officer chooses to arrest you.

Can sober people fail a field sobriety test series?

You may not believe it, but the fact is that many sober individuals are falsely accused of being intoxicated because they fail field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are just one indication of a person's abilities, and they shouldn't be the only factor involved in an arrest.

Field sobriety tests include the one-leg stand, walk-and-turn and horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Each test has its benefits. For instance, the HGN can identify people who can't focus or who have trouble following the movement of the officer's light or finger. A one-leg stand can show if a person is unbalanced. A walk-and-turn test can show if a person can walk well unaided.

The benefits of negotiating a plea bargain

A plea bargain is a negotiation between the defendant and the prosecution that ends in the defendant pleading guilty to one or more criminal charges in exchange for a reduction in punishments.

Sometimes, defendants will plead guilty to one of their charges in exchange for having the rest of the charges dropped. In other cases, defendants will plead guilty to a less severe version of their current criminal charge in order to benefit from the lower punishments associated with that charge.

Violated parole? There's still hope

You had an emergency, and even though you were out on parole, it meant you had to violate one of the terms of the agreement. You left the area, and now you're worried that an arrest warrant may be out for you.

The first thing you should always do if you think you've violated parole is to talk to your attorney about your options. You may be able to discuss what happened with your parole officer, who typically has some discretion. For instance, if you violated the terms of your parole because of having to go to a hospital out of state, that could be acceptable compared to someone who flees the area to escape the court or orders he or she is under.

Know your Miranda rights to protect yourself

If you've been arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it's important that you understand how your Miranda rights could affect your case. While you may be familiar with Miranda rights from television, the truth is that they're not as straightforward as it appears.

The police don't actually have to read you any rights when you're first arrested. It's up to you to stay quiet until your rights are read, or anything you say could be used against you in court.

Pseudoephedrine: What you should know about possession

In 2006, products containing ephedrine, phenylpropanolamine and pseudoephedrine were restricted on the market. The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 bans the sale of any over-the-counter cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine. If you want to purchase this drug, it's required that you speak with a pharmacist who then has to release it from behind the counter.

Pseudoephedrine sales to an individual are limited. You'll need to produce your photo ID in order to purchase it. Stores selling it have to then keep your personal information on record for at least two years.

A DUI conviction in Virginia is a big deal

It doesn't matter if you live in the state of Virginia or another part of the country, a DUI conviction can change your life in many ways.

With this in mind, an arrest for driving under the influence is something you should take seriously. It's up to you to understand your legal rights and to determine which defense strategy puts you in best position to avoid a conviction.

Will you go to prison if you violate probation?

Your probation officer was clear: You have to follow orders or you'll end up back in court. The last thing you want is to go back to jail or to be penalized, so you did your best to follow through on the court orders.

Unfortunately, an emergency in the family called for your attention, and in your rush, you forgot to inform your probation officer about needing to leave town. You were only a few miles out of the state, but since you were restricted to the state, you violated probation.

Drunk driving decreases thanks to ride-share services

New Year's Eve was a lot of fun for many people, but it also had its innate risks. Drivers still got behind the wheel while intoxicated, and that means that people still got hurt. As one of the most popular holidays for partygoers, New Year's Eve creates a hazard each year. More officers make their ways to the streets to prevent drunk driving from getting out of hand, but it's nearly impossible to stop everyone.

One thing that happened during New Year's Eve 2017 was that there was a decrease in drunk drivers on the roads. A civilian crime specialist reported that this was likely thanks to the increase in ride-sharing services. Locally, Big Lick Boomerang car service was taking people and their vehicles home after a night on the town for a fee, while others chose to take Ubers or Lyfts to get home safely.

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Roanoke, Virginia 24011

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