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Lynchburg Criminal Defense Blog

What should you do if you've been pulled over for DUI?

Drivers in Virginia may be subjected to randomized DUI checks when on the road. It's also possible to be pulled over for minor offenses, such as having expired stickers or a broken tail light. But what do you do if you've been pulled over because an officer suspects that you've been drinking?

There are many reasons an officer might believe that you're driving under the influence. The first thing they look at is driving behavior. Lane-weaving, sudden stopping, or missing traffic signals are all potential red flags, and this will get you pulled over even if you haven't been drinking. If you have been, the situation can get serious quickly. As stated by the Huffington Post, police are often trained to look for all signs of potential DUI, including things you might not consider. For this reason, it's not wise to try evasion. If you see the lights go off, pull over, stay in the car, and wait to see what they have to say.

Study: Divorce may be passed down in genes

As many in Virginia know, divorce runs in families. Children who have divorced parents are more likely to get divorced. A new study shows that this may be because of inherited personality traits, and not because of repeating the behavior they saw from their parents.

According to Science Daily, researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden studied the Swedish population registry to see if adults adopted as children followed in the adoptive parents' marriage footprints. They were surprised to find that, in fact, the opposite was true. Those who were adopted were more likely to follow the marriage outcomes of their biological parents and siblings, not that of the parents who raised them. This is contrary to what many previous studies found, which is that children mimic the behavior they saw as children and thus have similar relationship issues as their parents.

Why is it important to contest underage DUI charges?

Kids under the age of 18 in Virginia often have a license and the ability to drive, but aren't yet legally able to drink. That doesn't stop it from happening, though. Unfortunately, underage drinking occurs quite often, and illegal situations such as drinking and driving can follow. Mark B. Arthur, P.C., is here to show you the potential far-reaching effects of a DUI conviction for someone who's underage like you.

First of all, consider your future. As a student who may not even be in college yet, there are plenty of things that you have left to accomplish. But imagine being unable to apply to your preferred college or to get hired at the job of your dreams, all because you have an underage DUI conviction on your record. Some schools and many places of employment deny admittance for people with underage DUIs, so this is a real possibility.

Divorcing when one spouse is imprisoned

For many Virginia couples, marriage is hard enough without adding prison into the mix. When one spouse is imprisoned for committing a crime, getting a divorce can become more complicated, and states have different rules regarding both the grounds and the process for divorce.

As FindLaw explains, some states, like New York, include imprisonment for a specific amount of time as one of the grounds a spouse can use to file for divorce. This means that no reason outside of one spouse being in prison needs to be given to the court when filing for divorce, and this can sometimes be used as grounds for divorce for several years following imprisonment as well. Other states do not specify serving time as a ground for divorce, so the spouse filing for a divorce will need to show a different cause. After filing for divorce, factors including whether or not you have children or property together and if your spouse will try to contest the divorce. An uncontested divorce will proceed normally, with the papers being served and signed in prison. 

2017 laws reduce risk of losing license for marijuana possession

When you decided to go to college away from home, part of you wanted to do so to experience all there is to the college experience. Unfortunately, part of your college experience has been getting a drug charge after being caught with marijuana. You don't think it's that big of a deal, because it's legal in other states, but the truth of the matter is that it's not legal in Virginia. Those charges could have a serious impact on your future.

Fortunately, as of 2017, several new laws went into effect that could help you with any marijuana charges you face. One of those laws has made it possible to keep your driver's license, which is one thing you could have lost in the past.

What influences the severity of DUI penalties?

As a university student in Virginia, chances are high that you'll end up at a party or gathering with alcohol at some point. Unfortunately, DUI charges are still just as harsh for college kids as they are for anyone else. You can trust Mark B. Arthur, PC. to inform you of the penalties you may face if you're convicted of any DUI-related charge, therefore enabling you to take these charges as seriously as you should.

First, you should know that your age can factor into your penalties, but not in the way you may think. Drinking while underage, for example, can land you with even more severe penalties than if you received a DUI sentencing when over 21. This can directly conflict with the idea some people have of getting off "easy" due to being younger. This is especially true if you're over 18, since then you're a legal adult and will usually be tried as such.

Joint custody best for chldren say new studies

When a Virginia couple decides to get divorced, what will happen to the children is often a primary concern. Since neither parent is normally keen to give up their parenting time, this often becomes a point of contention. Yet new studies show that when it is safe to do so, children who split their time between both children have the best results.

As Science Daily notes, a new study out of Sweden found that even in young children, once believed to suffer from lack of stability, shared custody resulted in fewer issues. The parents and preschool teachers of more than 3,600 children between the ages of 3 and 5 were surveyed to find any psychological or behavioral problems in young children. The study found that both teachers and parents reported more problems for children who were being completely or primarily raised by only one parent. Reports from parents of both children from intact nuclear families and those with joint custody found no difference between the two, however, there were fewer symptoms of problems of children from intact families as reported by the teachers.

Extra DUI checkpoints across Virginia for holiday weekend

As people across Virginia prepare to have one last hurrah this summer, law enforcement officers are gearing up for a long weekend on the lookout for drunk drivers. According to WAVY, Virginia State Police, along with nearly 200 other state agencies, are ramping up their efforts to crack down on driving under the influence as a part of Checkpoint Strikeforce. The long holiday weekend will be marked by increased patrols and DUI checkpoints.

Typically, Labor Day weekend has at least ten traffic fatalities, about a third of which are due to drunk drivers. Last year, drunk driving took the lives of 262 people on Virginia roads. So far in 2017, there has been an eight percent increase in fatalities caused by drunk driving. This is a reverse from a declining number of fatal accidents in 2014 and 2015. Law enforcement is working diligently to put a stop to these preventable deaths through Checkpoint Strikeforce, and 2016 saw more than 19,000 convictions for DUI. The program specifically attempts to target those drivers statistically most likely to drive while intoxicated, which is men between 21 and 35 years of age.

Intoxicated manslaughter laws in Virginia

Involuntary manslaughter is a complex topic on its own; when alcohol enters the picture, the situation becomes all the more complex. In Virginia, manslaughter is defined as the killing of one human being by another, but without intention or premeditation. It is important to know what is at stake in the case of an intoxicated manslaughter. 

Many do not think twice about driving after a drink or two. Yet Findlaw confirms that a death occuring from driving under the influence by any means could produce an involuntary manslaughter charge. And while the courts can acquit someone found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, the victim's family may still choose to file a wrongful death claim in civil court. Findlaw goes on to clarify that most wrongful death claims follow criminal trials, which often use similar evidence but with lower standards of proof. There is an additional set of penalties that can apply to an individual's involuntary manslaughter charges, including imprisonment of no less than one year but no more than ten years or confinement in jail for no more than 12 months. Other factors include disregard for life of others, wherein an individual involuntarily kills another while driving with exceptionally high blood alcohol content. 

Can your car be impounded in Virginia?

You thought it would be fun to go out with your friends, and while it was, you probably had a little too much to drink. You were stopped by the police, and they arrested you at the scene. They informed you that your blood alcohol concentration was over the .08 percent limit, which means that you now face a DUI charge.

That's a problem in itself, but now you've also found out that your vehicle was impounded. Why would that happen? Shouldn't you keep your vehicle since an ignition interlock device could be installed? Interestingly, Virginian DUI laws allows for both.

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