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Roanoke Virginia Criminal Defense Law Blog

Can I get my gun rights back?

A felony conviction can permanently alter the course of your life. Even after you have served your time, that conviction can follow you through job interviews and educational opportunities, and it can also impact other important rights. In fact, if you have a felony record, then you have probably already lost your gun rights. But did you know that it is possible to restore those rights in Virginia?

New law prevents police stops for some traffic violations

Virginia drivers may have fewer reasons to feel nervous when they encounter a police car. Many fear that when police pull them over for minor traffic violations, the incident will escalate to a search of their vehicles, an arrest and more serious charges. However, lawmakers recently passed a bill that would limit the reasons why police may pull drivers over and search their vehicles.

Still waiting for the governor's signature, the bill is part of police reforms that many believe are long overdue. Proponents of the bill believe police often use traffic stops for minor violations as an excuse to search vehicles for drugs, which can lead to criminal charges. These traffic violations and pretexts for vehicle searches routinely target young people and people of color, according to civil rights advocates. The bill would restrict police from pulling over vehicles for any of the following:

  • Having a broken taillights
  • Driving with a headlight out
  • Having windows tinted too dark
  • Smoking in a vehicle with minor passengers
  • Not having license plates illuminated
  • Having excessively loud vehicle exhausts
  • Having expired registration within the grace period

What are expungements?

An arrest or criminal conviction can follow someone through life, cutting off certain opportunities for education or work. Having a criminal history really does make it so much harder to improve one's life. Expungements could be the answer for those in Virginia who are ready to move forward in their lives but are struggling because of their pasts.

An expungement is when the legal record for a criminal conviction or arrest is sealed up or essentially erased. This can have a multitude of benefits for someone who has been struggling to restabilize his or her life. Many job openings, apartment contracts and other important documents require people to disclose arrests or convictions, but there is generally no legal requirement to do so following an expungement. Expunged records usually do not show up when employers or educational institutions conduct background checks, either.

DUI defense: Fatal crash in Virginia leads to arrest

Police have arrested a man believed responsible for the death of another motorist on Sept. 23, according to local sources. Virginia State Police have released the identity of a man who was killed on Interstate 95 after being involved in an accident officers say may have been predicated on drunk driving. There is no word as to whether the accused man has retained a DUI defense attorney. 

According to the report, around 11:23 on the night in question, a southbound SUV was traveling at a high rate of speed when the accident occurred. It appears the 27-year-old driver came upon a traffic jam that he was unable to stop in time to avoid. He rear-ended a sedan driven by another man, and the force of the impact drove both vehicles into the back of a tractor-trailer. 

Your allergy pills could lead to a DUI charge

You may not realize it, but each and every medication you take has a different effect in your body and could interact with one of the others you took. For people who need to drive or operate heavy machinery, it can be dangerous to take certain medications together or to combine them with alcohol or other substances.

That's important to know, because it means you're more likely to avoid DUI charges as a result of mixing your medications or taking too much before you drive.

DUI Defense: man arrested in Virginia

A man in York County was arrested and charged after allegedly striking a VDOT subcontractor on the side of Interstate 64 on the afternoon of Sept. 19. The man has been charged with drinking and driving and will therefore require a DUI defense when he faces a Virginia court. He is currently in police custody at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail against no bond, though it is unclear whether he has retained criminal defense counsel at this time. 

According to the report, witnesses at the scene reported the man was driving an SUV on I-64 when the accident occurred. Apparently, traffic was congested as a result of construction in certain lanes, so the accused individual drove around the cones, proceeding down a lane that was still under construction. The 30-year-old driver then reportedly struck a subcontractor before re-entering the interstate and fleeing the scene. 

Virginia woman requires DUI defense after accident

A woman from Manassas was arrested in Stafford County on suspicion of drunk driving, according to local sources. Virginia authorities in the area arrested the woman after she was observed traveling the wrong way on Warrenton Road on Sept. 8. She is currently being held against a $3,000 bond in Rappahannock Regional Jail, and it is unclear whether she has retained counsel to build a DUI defense at this time. 

According to the report, it appears that, at around 3:33 a.m., the 38-year-old suspect was driving south in the northbound lanes of Warrenton Road when she apparently passed a police officer headed north. The vehicles did not collide, but the deputy gave chase to her vehicle. Her vehicle was observed pulling from the northbound into the southbound lanes before leaving the road entirely and entering a ditch. 

DUI defense: Woman charged in Virginia

A woman who was reportedly driving the wrong way on Interstate 395 has been charged with drunk driving, according to a report from state police. Virginia authorities responded to the early-morning crash that shut down all northbound lanes for over an hour. The woman was arrested a short time later and will now require a DUI defense to fight the charges filed against her. 

According to the limited report, it appears the woman was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of I-395 around 5 a.m. when the accident occurred. The woman apparently struck two different vehicles, sending debris all over the highway, before fleeing the scene. Two people were taken to local hospitals with injuries described as minor. 

DUI defense: man allegedly strikes Virginia squad car

A man is facing a DUI charge following an accident that damaged a state police vehicle, according to local sources. The 32-year-old Woodbridge, Virginia, resident was arrested on site and charged. He will be represented in criminal court by a defense attorney who will work to build a DUI defense against the charges filed against him. 

According to the limited information provided in the report, it appears that a state trooper was completing an investigation into a different crash around 4 a.m. on Interstate 395. Apparently, while the officer was sitting in his vehicle, an SUV ran off the side of the interstate and crashed into the back of the officer's car. The force of the impact badly damaged the police vehicle, as photos in the report show. 

The most recent findings on Breathalyzer test accuracy

If you have a driver's license, you will know that one of your many responsibilities is to avoid driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Law enforcement officials have the right to pull over your vehicle and ask you to perform a Breathalyzer test if they have reasonable cause to suspect that you are driving while intoxicated.

It's generally within your interests to perform the Breathalyzer test regardless of your situation. This is because, if you do not, this may be perceived as an admission of guilt. Those who feel they have no choice but to take the Breathalyzer test, even though they are confident that they are under the legal limit for alcohol intoxication, can find themselves in a difficult situation. This is because Breathalyzer tests are known to not be completely accurate.

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