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Newport News Criminal Defense Blog

Criminal defense for man accused of assault must probe the facts

Virginia Beach police arrested a suspect in a stabbing case recently. It illustrates a typical incident, and its reported circumstances pose some of the questions that criminal defense counsel must ask in initiating the defense of such an accused individual. The arrest occurred somewhere near the S. Plaza Trail after police heard a man screaming in a parking lot behind the Blarneystone Pub.

Although on another assignment, the police responded to the screaming and allegedly found a stabbing victim. The suspect had not left the scene. The victim was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. He was later released, police said.

Man awaits extradition to Virginia for prosecution of sex crimes

When a fugitive is found and apprehended in another jurisdiction, an extradition procedure is started to return the accused back to the state where the offenses were charged or the conviction entered. Many persons charged with or convicted of sex crimes have left the original state jurisdiction and traveled to other states where they hide out. Recently, for example, a fugitive from Virginia was found and apprehended by authorities in another state.

The U.S. Marshall's Service stated that the man was caught hiding in the homeless sections of a large city.  The Service alleges that he was arrested in front of a homeless shelter. He was originally arrested for sex crimes in Norfolk, Virginia in Sept. 2013 and released by the court on bail in March 2014.

Attending to details protects your Miranda rights

Military people know the drill of reciting name, rank and serial number if captured by the enemy. It's part of their training about complying with the rules of war. In the civilian world, the closest analogy to that might be if you are suspected of a crime and face questioning by the police.

There is no formal training for civilians about what you can and can't do under the rules of law. The only inkling you might have probably comes from all the crime shows on TV. The words of the Miranda warning let you know you have a right to remain silent and the right to attorney before questioning, but do you know how to exercise those rights?

Why you should take reckless driving charges seriously

Each state has its own definition of reckless driving and sets forth corresponding penalties. Virginia law provides a particularly strict threshhold for this crime and includes fairly harsh penalties.

It may surprise people coming from a different state to find what they believe to be a minor infraction treated quite seriously. However, make no mistake: if you face reckless driving charges in Virginia, you need qualified legal assistance.

Drug arrests can mean forks in the legal road

Many different elements can converge to create significant legal troubles for individuals. Imagine for a moment that you are an long-haul trucker from Virginia stopped for a safety check by authorities in another state. These kinds of safety blitzes are common and happen more often this time of year.

In the course of the check, police examine the inside of your cab and find quantities of a substance that field tests as methamphetamine. A deeper dig yields marijuana smoking paraphernalia, a quantity of that drug and a bottle of what appears to be simulated urine. The array of charges that follows ranges from drug and paraphernalia possession and allegations of federal safety rule violations.

What should I do if I'm stopped by police in Virginia?

These are tense times. It would be nice if that wasn't the case, but denying the reality isn't wise. Indeed, just being pulled over by the police for what may seem minor traffic violations can have a deadly outcome, as cases across the country in recent years have shown.

Many things contribute to making a stop a tense situation. From a historical perspective, many would argue that profiling by police, based on racial bias, has been a factor. In the past few years, the ease of taking and posting videos online has put police officers on edge. The potential for confrontation only seems to get worse and now the state of Virginia is moving to address the situation.

'Reasonable doubt' can hinge on knowing broader context

Back in January 2016, we wrote a post to clarify the importance of the state's burden to provide "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" to obtain a criminal conviction. As that post observed, whether the burden is sufficiently met is a subjective decision made by the jury. It's futile to attempt to second-guess the outcome as an outsider.

Very few people know what really occurred in the course of an alleged crime in Virginia. Evidence might prove that a crime was committed and offer clues as to the party responsible, but proving it is another thing. Experienced criminal defense attorneys appreciate that sometimes framing events in a context that differs from what the prosecution proposes can give jurors what they need to acquit.

Obtaining reliable testimony in sex crimes with child victims

"Man, 74, charged with sexual abuse of then 6-year-old." So reads a recent headline from a jurisdiction not far from Norfolk and Hampton Roads. The story goes on to say that the individual is facing an array of sex crime charges including sexual abuse of a minor, child abuse and sex offenses of varying degrees.

It is not our intent here to delve into the details of this particular case. Rather, we hope to use it to look at one of the most challenging aspects of dealing with these kinds of crimes - obtaining testimony from the alleged victim and ensuring that it is reliable. Considering the consequences that can result if a person charged with a child sex crime is convicted, the importance of reliable testimony is clear.

Getting your license back after a DUI charge

One penalty that you face immediately after being charged with a DUI in Virginia is the suspension of your license. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your situation, you may need to wait a certain length of time before you are eligible to have it reinstated. 

Once the suspension period is over, your driver’s license is not automatically reinstated. There are requirements that you must satisfy before you can regain your driving privileges after receiving a DUI charge. 

The trouble you can face for a false license plate

Did you happen to see the story recently about the roundup of an alleged crime ring in another state? Authorities are getting ready to accuse the group of, among other things, renting fraudulent license plates.

At first blush, that there might be a way to make money renting license plates – fake or real -- might strike readers as odd. Further examination of the matter, however, reveals the possibilities, at least as far as the government is concerned. In Virginia, it is a misdemeanor traffic offense to alter or forge any license plate issued by any state with fraudulent intent. It's also illegal to knowingly display, or allow to be displayed, a fake plate on a vehicle.

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