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Lynchburg Criminal Defense Blog

Can you drive when charged with driving under the influence?

Facing drunk driving charges means you will have to deal with a number of different potential consequences. Everything from your ability to receive financial aid to college to continued employment at your current job may hinge on whether you plead guilty, get convicted or successfully defend yourself against impaired driving charges.

Whether it is your first offense or not, one of the most profound impacts of driving under the influence (DUI) charges is likely the loss of your driver's license. Virginia courts have the authority to suspend or revoke your license after any number of impaired driving charges. Even a first-time offense could result in the suspension of your license. Thankfully, you do have rights that could allow you to stay on the road.

What is forgery?

You may think of forgery as the copying or reproduction of literary or artistic works and passing them off as originals. According to FindLaw, this is forgery on a grand scale and generally makes big headlines once discovered. However, the more common incidences of forgery are much more mundane. Opportunities to commit forgery on university campuses are plentiful, but if found out, the penalties can be severe. 

If you live in a residence hall or in an apartment off campus with one or more roommates, it may be difficult, if not impossible, for you and your roommates to secure your possessions, even those of a personal or financial nature. Forging a signature to a check is one of the most common forms that the offense may take, and roommate situations may present the potential forger with ample opportunity.

Cyberstalking defined

Communication technologies have allowed Virginians to connect to others in ways undreamt of as recently as 20 years ago, to the point where it has become quite a casual thing for people to speak of following one another on social media. However, such attention is not always desired and may sometimes be damaging, in which case it may qualify as cyberstalking.

Because the technology that facilitates cyberstalking is relatively new, the law has not always kept pace with the new terminology. The Code of Virginia, for example, does not explicitly use the term cyberstalking, although it does make clear that using a computer network to harass or intimidate another person, threaten an act that is immoral/illegal or make suggestions or proposals of an obscene nature is a Class 1 misdemeanor. 

Alcohol use by veterans leads to increase in drunk driving

It can be hard for Virginia veterans to readjust after returning home from active duty. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, many veterans turn to drinking alcohol as a coping mechanism. There is a link between PTSD and problems with alcohol, and having either condition puts a veteran more at risk for developing the other. Memories of trauma may prompt a veteran with an alcohol use disorder to go on a drinking binge, and suicide is a greater risk for veterans over 65 who have a drinking problem or depression in combination with PTSD. 

According to WTKR 3 News in Norfolk, a recent study by American Addiction Centers shows that both binge drinking and drunk driving are on the rise among veterans nationwide. Though lower than the national average in a state-by-state breakdown, Virginia's numbers are still a cause for concern among local advocates against drunk driving, who say that the upward trend indicates a need for treatment in this particular area because the problem of veterans drinking and driving is not going away on its own. 

Multi-agency investigation in Virginia leads to 19 drug arrests

A U.S. Attorney calls the modern opioid crisis one of the "most vexing problems" faced by public health officials and law enforcement. A multi-agency investigation in and around the town of Mount Jackson, Virginia that lasted for months and involved officials at the local, state and federal levels has resulted in 19 arrests on charges related to firearms and drug trafficking.

Agencies involved in the investigation at various levels of government included the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office, the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives. 

Looking for trends in college student crimes

In a college town, students sometimes get a bit of a bad reputation. Older people may assume they have less regard for the law and that they tend to get into more trouble. The cliched college experience, after all, includes underage drinking, drug use and frequent social gatherings.

This is somewhat unfair. Just because those cliches exist by no means indicates that all college students have that experience. For instance, one study asked college students if they had consumed alcohol in the previous month, and about 60 percent of them said that they had. However, the study looked at students between the ages of 18 and 22. Two-fifths of those students are at least 21 years old and can legally drink. Only those between 18 and 20 would be breaking the law, so it stands to reason that far less than 60 percent participated in illegal activity.

What does it mean to jump bail?

If law enforcement arrests you in Virginia and takes you to jail, you will most likely have to pay a bond to get out. This bond is a certain amount of money you pay to guarantee you will show up on your court date. Typically, the court sets bond amounts high to give you more motivation to go to your court date. Because of this, you will probably use the services of a bail bond service to help you pay the full amount of bond.

If you fail to show up for your court date, the bail bond service loses the money it put up for your bond. The court issues an arrest warrant. However, according to All Star Bail Bonds, jumping bail is generally not going to result in a manhunt for you. It really depends on the amount of the bail.

How do white and blue collar crimes compare?

In Virginia, there are "white collar crimes" and "blue collar crimes". Mark B. Arthur knows well that these types of crimes can come with equally harsh penalties, making it important for you to have a strong defense regardless of what you're being accused of.

The terms white and blue collar crimes originated from the classes that these crimes were considered "typical" of. Lower classes were usually thought to commit blue collar crimes, while higher classes were thought to commit white collar crimes. Naturally, these days we understand that anyone can commit any sort of crime. The labels and definitions stuck, however.

Virginia law enforcement gets tough with enforcement

The holiday season is one often marked with celebrations that involve the consumption of alcohol. Starting even with Halloween but certainly from Thanksgiving through to New Year's Day, people in Virginia often attend dinners, parties or other gatherings with friends, family members and colleagues. Once the events are over, a great number of people get in their cars and drive home. It is important for people to remember that the act of driving after drinking is not illegal. What is illegal is driving after drinking to the point that a person's blood alcohol level exceeds a certain point. 

It can sometimes be hard to remember this distinction with all of the negative connotations associated with the phrase "drinking and driving". The Old Town Alexandria Patch.com recently reported on how law enforcement agencies throughout Virginia were planning to step up their enforcement efforts during this year's Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Of particular interest to them was watching out for potential drunk drivers.

Hazing could lead to tougher penalties

With several high-profile deaths related to hazing on college campuses dominating Virginia headlines over the past few years, university officials, law enforcement and state legislators are no longer disposed to regard such initiation rituals as harmless fun. Several states are now cracking down, seeking harsher penalties for those who engage in hazing, especially if the initiate comes to bodily harm. 

The death of a 19-year-old student at Penn State University in 2017 has prompted the introduction of anti-hazing legislation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where the student hailed from originally. Pennsylvania signed its anti-hazing legislation into law in honor of the fallen student last month, and a New Jersey lawmaker recently introduced a bill to the state senate that would make hazing a fourth-degree crime and hazing that results in a bodily injury a third-degree crime that carries the potential penalty of jail time. The state senator hopes the bill will send a message to fraternities and other college organizations and hopefully prevent future hazing-related injuries or deaths. 

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