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Giving a drink to your friend at a party could be a criminal act

There are so many laws related to alcohol sales and consumption that many people are unaware of. That lack of information won't protect you if you find yourself in a legally dangerous situation.

College students, in particular, are often vulnerable to facing charges under certain alcohol laws in Virginia. After all, alcohol often plays a significant role in socialization for college students. From parties to club initiations, alcohol is common on and off campus.

Alleged hazing leads to 9 arrests

The fact that one is no longer a university student in Virginia may not be enough to protect one from charges related to hazing. Two young men found this out to their detriment when they, along with seven current students at Louisiana State University, faced arrest related to an alleged recent hazing incident at their fraternity.

The fraternity's national organization, which went on to revoke the chapter's charter, provided hazing reports to LSU authorities, who launched an investigation. The nine current and former students who allegedly instigated the hazing subsequently turned themselves in. Two of the nine are 23-year-old men not currently enrolled in classes at the university. They both face felony battery charges, along with two current students, while the other five students face misdemeanor charges.

What are your rights at a DUI checkpoint?

If you are like many Virginia drivers, you may question the legality of DUI checkpoints. With St. Patricks' Day just around the corner, your query may become more urgent as you make plans with classmates and attempt to map out the safest way to get from point A to point B and back to campus again. While your question is a valid one — after all, sobriety checkpoints often feel like a violation of your constitutional rights — know that DUI checkpoints are, in fact, legal. That said, just because they are legal does not mean your rights vanish as you approach one.

According to Flex Your Rights, DUI checkpoints allow law enforcement to get a close look at passing motorists by briefly detaining them. The stop is quick, but it is not so quick that police officers cannot make note of license plate numbers and tags or to get a quick whiff of vehicle occupants' breath. If an officer catches a whiff of alcohol, or if he or she believes you look impaired, he or she has the right to stop you.

Is there really such a thing as a pink collar crime?

The CBS show Pink Collar Crimes has sensationalized a niche area of criminal law that some may find interesting. While the media likes to bring attention to a subject by giving it an unusual name, you and other Virginia residents should understand that “pink collar crime” is an unofficial term for crimes committed by women. In fact, take gender out of it and pink collar crime is a trendy term for white collar criminal activities.

Forbes explains that since 1970, the number of women in U.S. jails has increased by 14 times. Many women in prison have been convicted of white collar crimes, such as embezzlement, money laundering and fraud. Typically, as you may know, people who are accused of a white collar crime were placed in positions of trust financially. They may be bookkeepers, accountants or – especially pertaining to pink collar crimes – PTA representatives and volunteers for school and extracurricular functions.

Different types of employee theft

At Mark B. Arthur, PC, in Virginia, we often counsel employees who find themselves charged of white collar crimes. Whether you work for a large corporation or a small business, allegations of theft from your employer can be devastating. 

Your employer may be very sensitive about how you use the various company resources that you have access to, even though you may not have any direct contact with the company's finances. Business Practical Knowledge points out that, while you are on the clock, your employer is paying you for your time, so doing nonwork-related tasks while you are at work may cause an issue. You may also regularly use company supplies, or interact with merchandise.

It is possible to challenge Breathalyzer results

Many people face drunk driving charges at some point in their lives, and it is rarely easy to beat these charges without a strong legal defense. For many prosecutors, drunk driving charges represent easy wins they may use to build their own record of convictions. It is important to review all the evidence carefully to identify weaknesses a defendant can use to protect themselves and their rights.

This is particularly true when the charges involve Breathalyzer results. In many instances, these results are flawed, or are sometimes based on assumptions a defendant may challenge. If you recently received drunk driving charges after failing a Breathalyzer test, you must begin building your defense as soon as possible. You may find you have more defense options than you realize.

What is entrapment?

The idea of being framed for a crime is terrifying. It is even more so when you worry about law enforcement tricking you into committing a crime. However, you should understand that law enforcement in Virginia will not do that. It is against the law. The United States Department of Justice explains that when law enforcement coerces or otherwise influences you to commit a crime, it could be entrapment.

There is a fine line between proper police work and entrapment. The key to proving a situation is entrapment is your involvement. If you were forced or otherwise led to commit a crime that you would not have otherwise committed, then it becomes entrapment. Your main burden in proving your case will be to show you were an innocent person who would not have committed the crime under any other circumstances.

The elements that make up a DUI offense

Virginian residents likely know the basics of a DUI offense. It involves being under the influence of some sort of substance while also operating a moving vehicle, most commonly a car. Today, we break down those elements further to get a closer look at what a DUI offense is typically comprised of.

FindLaw divides this into the two main components: driving, and being under the influence. In reference to the latter, they talk about three different types of evidence that can be used to prove that someone was under the influence. This includes driver evidence, blood-alcohol evidence, and field evidence. In these categories, there are:

  • Incriminating statements
  • Photos at the scene of the arrest
  • Testimony regarding the driver's appearance, conduct, or driving
  • The results of a field sobriety test
  • Results of a blood test

Fake IDs and fraud

Many Virginia college students may see fake IDs as a right of passage and think that every student gets one. They may not realize, though, that their fake ID is a form of fraud and that there can be severe consequences for using or making these IDs.

According to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, it is illegal for people to have a form of documentation with incorrect information. While some students might think a fake ID is all right as long as they use their legal name, this is not usually the case. Falsified documents can include those with an altered birth date, something many students may wish to change on an ID. Driver's licenses, student and military IDs and birth certificates are all forms of identification which it is illegal to falsify.

Are DUI penalties stricter for commercial drivers?

Virginian residents, especially those attending college, might have a side job or two to help them cover their expenses. Commercial driving is a popular way to make money, as it includes a wide array of things from delivery to transport and more. However, the impact commercial drivers have on others means DUI convictions are treated even more seriously than usual.

The way DUI charges can impact commercial drivers largely differs from the way it impacts the driver of a personal vehicle. FindLaw takes a look at commercial driver regulations, which are stringent because drivers like you are holding more than just your own life in your hands. Not only do you pose a serious threat to other drivers or potential passengers if you drive while under the influence, but your employer can also suffer from serious reputational damage.

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