November 30, 2011

Arrested for Drunk Driving in Richmond? Fight Your Driver’s License Suspension

In Virginia, an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) means the immediate suspension of your driver’s license. As related to your Virginia driving privileges, you do not have to be convicted of a drunk-driving offense before it is illegal for you to drive, just being arrested triggers an Administrative License Suspension (ALS).

If you are facing your first Virginia DUI charge, the automatic license suspension is for one week. If you refused to take a breath test, your Virginia driver’s license will also be automatically suspended. The penalties for being arrested for drunk driving are immediate; your Richmond DUI defense attorney can further explain the possible additional penalties for conviction of a drunk-driving offense.

You Can Fight the License Suspension. Call an Experienced VA DUI Attorney Right Away!

The Administrative License Suspension is in addition to any penalties that may be ordered if you are convicted for a Virginia DUI and the time period that your license will be administratively suspended increases if you are a repeat DUI offender. For a second DUI offense, the ALS lasts for 60 days or until your case goes to trial, whichever comes first. For a third drunk-driving offense within 10 years, your license will be suspended until your case goes to trial.

Contacting an experienced DUI defense lawyer should be your first step in fighting the charges against you. There may be an opportunity to challenge your arrest for DUI and the Automatic License Suspension. A police officer must have ‘probable cause’ to charge a suspected drunk driver with a DUI. If you are able to successfully challenge the existence of probable cause, you may be able to save your Virginia driving privileges from suspension.

Source: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, “Virginia is Tough on Drunk and Drugged Drivers

October 31, 2011

October and Halloween Night Are Particularly Dangerous for Virginia Motorcyclists

A Richmond police communications officer was fatally injured in a motorcycle crash at the beginning of October when he collided with a school bus while riding his motorcycle just west of Jefferson Davis Highway. Another motorcyclist was sent to the hospital with critical injuries after colliding with an SUV in Chesterfield County about a week ago. The cyclist later died from his injuries has well.

To top it all off, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that almost half of all fatal accidents on Halloween night in 2009 involved a motorcycle driver with a blood-alcohol-concentration above 0.08. To say that October is a dangerous month for Virginia motorcycle accidents may be an understatement. October has proven to be even worse: a deadly month for motorcyclists in Virginia and throughout the country.

How Can Richmond Motorcyclists Better Protect Themselves?

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles requires all cyclists on Virginia roadways to first obtain a motorcycle license or a Class M designation on your Virginia driver’s license. Virginia also requires that cyclists and their passengers wear a helmet that either complies with or exceeds the standards set forth by the federal Department of Transportation, the Snell Memorial Foundation or the American National Standards Institute, Inc.

In addition to helmets, motorcyclists are encouraged to wear protective eyewear such as a helmet with a face shield or protective goggles, long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect arms and legs from scrapes and abrasions, non-slip gloves that allow for a firm grip on the handlebars and appropriate footwear that covers the ankles. Leather boots are highly recommended.

While it’s every driver’s responsibility to keep an eye out for others on the road and to follow traffic rules to protect each other’s safety, motorcyclists must be aware that they often go unseen by others on the road. Whether it’s because drivers are not looking for their smaller motor vehicles or whether the motorcyclist is not taking steps to drive in his or her lane so as to be visible to other drivers, lane positioning is very important for motorcycle safety. If you’re riding a motorcycle, make sure to give yourself enough space to avoid traffic hazards as well as to brake appropriately in emergency situations.

September 30, 2011

A Virginia Divorce Doesn’t Have to Hurt Your Small Business

While divorce is of course difficult on families, a small business or a family-owned business may also bear a substantial burden from divorce as well. The founder of a software consulting firm recently recounted that his divorce cost his small business almost a quarter of his annual revenue, simply due to the time he had to be away dealing with issues related to his divorce.

Issues related to the ownership structure of your business, each spouse’s role in the company and the time period when business assets were acquired may all need attention and resolution during your divorce process. If questions regarding the business were not addressed prior to or during the marriage through a valid pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement, they will need to be addressed at the end of the marriage through the divorce proceedings.

A Virginia No-Fault Divorce May be a Lifeline for Your Small Business

One year ago, no-fault divorce became available in all 50 states. A no-fault, or uncontested divorce allows Virginia couples to seek a resolution to their divorce that is as simple and efficient as possible.

When one or both people are running a small business, taking time away from work to argue over assets or child support issues can have a major impact on the continued success of the company. Working with experienced Richmond divorce attorneys through a no-fault divorce allows you to remain in control of your divorce through mediation and negotiation, rather than long, drawn-out court battles.

Divorces that involve small businesses often involve high-asset individuals and complex valuation issues that must be addressed by a team of professionals. While it is impossible to say exactly how long a divorce will take, from start to finish, because each couple is different, a divorce doesn’t have to be the end of your small business.

August 29, 2011

Richmond, Virginia’s Dangerous I-95 Claims Two Lives in Multi-Vehicle Crash

A disabled Ford Taurus in the left-hand lane of Interstate 95 in Richmond lead to a three-vehicle crash last Thursday, fatally injuring two motorcyclists. The Taurus attempted to get off the highway, but could not entirely get out of the left lane of traffic. A Chevrolet Impala, also in the left lane, was able to stop behind the Taurus, but the third vehicle, a Harley motorcycle was not. The motorcycle rear-ended the Impala, ejecting both the driver of the motorcycle and his passenger.

In 2010, Virginia roadways, including I-95, saw over 700 Virginians killed in motor vehicle accidents, including drivers, passengers and pedestrians according to the Virginia Highway Safety Office. Over 4500 car crashes occurred in Richmond alone, resulting in 15 deaths and over 2500 injuries.

Common Causes of Virginia Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents are among the top 15 most common causes of death in Virginia. Although there is no indication that alcohol was a factor in the fatal motorcycle crash on I-95, alcohol played a role in over 37 percent of all crash-related fatalities in Virginia last year.

Other common causes of Virginia motor vehicle accidents include:

  • Distracted or inattentive driving
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit
  • Failing to obey traffic signals, including stop signs and red lights
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Defective vehicle parts
  • Inexperienced/teen drivers
  • Driver fatigue

Regardless of the cause of the crash, motor vehicle accidents can have devastating consequences. The sudden impact of one vehicle hitting another can cause bruising, broken bones, spinal cord and head injury, burns and even death. The steps you take after being injured in a car accident should include moving to a safe place if possible, calling for emergency assistance and seeking necessary medical treatment.

Source: Two Killed In I-95 Crash In Richmond

July 29, 2011

White Collar Crimes in Richmond, Virginia: Defending Against Embezzlement Charges

Charged with taking more than $10,000, a Richmond police officer was indicted July 20, for money he diverted from the Richmond Coalition of Police, Richmond Police Athletic League and a fundraiser for a fellow officer. Earlier this year, the Goochland County Treasurer, admitted to the local Sherriff that she had taken up to $135,000 from the County. A former employee of the Richmond school district plead guilty to stealing $15,000 of federal grant money intended for the Even Start education program.

While none of these individuals’ thefts come anywhere near the $50 million Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff, they are all examples of white collar crimes happening right here in Richmond. Whether out of an intention to deprive or because they did not understand that what they were doing was wrong, each act was a white collar crime: embezzlement.

What is Embezzlement in Virginia?

Embezzlement, generally, is the wrongful or fraudulent use, disposal or concealment of funds in any form that were received for someone else, for an employer or that were otherwise entrusted to the person who wrongfully used them. Embezzlement is deemed to be larceny by Virginia statute and is punished accordingly.

Embezzlement is one of a variety of crimes considered to be a ‘white collar crime.’ Other white collar crimes include securities, wire, bank or computer fraud; identity theft; theft of government property by fraud or deception; and computer hacking.

When Do You Need a Richmond Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you’re being investigated for embezzlement, it’s very likely that you know the investigation is occurring. You should not wait until you are charged with a crime to contact an attorney. Anything that you share with the police may eventually be used against. The best thing you can do is to remain silent and contact an experienced Richmond white collar crimes defense attorney as soon as possible.

It’s important to start building your defense as soon as the police begin building a case against you.

Source: Ex-Richmond school employee embezzled grant money for needy families; Goochland County can recover embezzled funds through bond, insurance; Richmond police officer indicted in embezzlement case

June 30, 2011

Dividing Assets Before Divorce… Even Before Marriage

More weddings occur during the month of June during any other month. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean that April and May see more visits to Virginia family law attorneys to discuss the benefits of a prenuptial agreement.

prenuptial agreement is an important asset protection and planning tool for everyone considering marriage. Many couples are waiting longer to get married; have established careers, own a home or have accumulated substantial liabilities. Others may have previously been married and have children from their first marriage. When established properly prior to marriage, a valid prenup can protect what you have worked hard to build, including your family and your assets.

Of course, no one entering marriage wants to plan for the marriage to fail, but financial disputes are one of the key reasons that marriages end in divorce. Answering tough financial questions prior to the marriage may in fact make your marriage more likely to succeed.

Planning for the Future Does Not Mean Planning for Divorce

A prenuptial agreement, when drafted and executed properly, can determine issues related to assets and property while you and your soon-to-be-spouse are not pressured by the stress and emotion of a divorce. But, there are several pieces to an effective prenup, including:

  • The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.
  • Both parties must have entered into the agreement voluntarily. If one party is coerced into signing, the agreement may be invalidated.
  • Each person must be given a full picture of the others assets and debts. Hiding or withholding financial information can invalidate a prenup.
  • The agreement cannot be so unfair as to make one spouse a pauper.

When most enter into a marriage, the intention is to remain married until death do them part. However, if your marriage does end in divorce, a valid prenuptial agreement may allow you and your spouse to proceed more smoothly through what will likely be a very difficult time with a no contest divorce, saving a substantial amount of time, money and heartache down the road.

When discussing the division of assets that will become effective, if at all, at a potentially much later date in the future, there is no substitute for the guidance of an experienced family law attorney.

Source: June Brides, Are You Ready for Divorce?

May 9, 2011

Tips to Help a Virginia Divorce Proceed Smoothly

In Virginia, a divorcing couple must show grounds for the divorce. This may be based in one party’s fault, such as cruelty or adultery; or it may arise from the couple’s separation. In a separation divorce, the couple must first separate and then divorce after six months (with no children) or one year (with children).

Divorcing couples who are not in agreement over matters such as child custody, alimony orproperty division may need to resolve their disputes in court.

With Virginia divorce as complex as it is, many couples want to minimize the additional complications they introduce into the process. The following are tips to make a difficult situation a little easier, both financially and emotionally:

  • Be clear about finances: It is critical to disclose all assets and liabilities during divorce. If the court discovers that a spouse has covered up such information, that spouse could experience serious financial consequences. In addition, both spouses should ensure that they control their own financial resources-rather than leaving the other spouse’s name on a personal credit card, for instance-and that they are aware of all of the couple’s assets and liabilities.
  • Be willing to compromise when appropriate: Divorce can lead the most levelheaded people to act on impulses they later recognize as being unhelpful. It is important to keep the ultimate goal in mind. It is also vital to be willing to negotiate with the other spouse when compromise is feasible.
  • Be careful about what you say and where you say it: In this digital age, offhand comments can be permanently recorded and subsequently used as evidence. Divorcing spouses should be mindful of both social media and social contacts. When in doubt, they are probably better off keeping their thoughts to themselves, or at least keeping them neutral.

Virginia couples who face divorce often have a choice about how to proceed. If they are in agreement that a lower level of conflict is preferable, they may be able to save a significant amount of time, stress and money.

Source: Ten Things That May Help Avoid Costly Divorce Mistakes

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