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Newport News Criminal Defense Blog

Sex crimes carry a heavy toll despite young age of accused male

The acts of an adult engaging in sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl are serious criminal acts. When an 18-year-old male is charged with having sex with a girl that age, the tenor of the sex crimes charged do not generally offend societal values quite as much as if the male had been in his 20s, 30s or older. However, the law is equally offended by those acts, and generally in Virginia and other states, such consensual sexual activity is nonetheless chargeable as statutory rape or other major felonies.

Police recently arrested a Chesterfield man who was apparently traveling with a missing 15-year-old Central Virginia girl. The two reportedly knew each other and there does not appear to be any charges of forced sex, assault or rape. Police arrested the 18-year-old on felony charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and several misdemeanors. They indicated, however, that additional charges were forthcoming.

Prominent school board member is arrested on I-64 for DUI/DWI

It is always a difficult and touchy situation in Virginia and elsewhere when an elected local official is arrested for drunk driving. The press coverage will usually be more intensive and the person will suffer a degree of exposure that may be extensive. This is the problem being faced recently by an Henrico County School Board member who was arrested in the early morning hours of Aug. 5 on DUI/DWI charges.

The 43-year-old pastor and vice chair of the school board was pulled over on I-64 for allegedly driving in between two lanes. Police charged him with driving under the influence but did not initially release the results of his blood alcohol level. Generally, when the police stop a driver for erratic driving, they will focus their inquiry on drunk driving only if they observe initial signs that point to impairment.

What constitutes reckless driving?

It is often all too easy to encounter distractions when you are driving, but doing so might result in traffic infractions that then turn into legal trouble. One offense charge that surprises many people is reckless driving. The charge itself calls to mind consciously negligent and harmful behavior on the road, but in reality, a simple mistake could result in criminal charges.

You might wonder then, what exactly constitutes reckless driving? There are a number of answers to this question, and according to WTOP, the state of Virginia is among the top 10 strictest for reckless driving charges. The following three examples can land you in court if you are not careful.

DUI/DWI charges give way to felonies against fleeing driver

It is not helpful for an accused driver to get drunk driving charges that involve hitting a pedestrian and other vehicles in the process. It is clearly much worse if the person who is hit is the on-duty police officer who pulled the operator over for suspected DUI/DWI. This type of scenario played out in Virginia Beach recently when an officer made a traffic stop on a vehicle for suspected drunk driving.

After the initial stop, the operator allegedly drove off, hitting the Virginia Beach police officer and injuring him. The absconding driver also reportedly hit a vehicle at a nearby intersection while escaping from the police stop. To further escalate the suspect's troubles, persons in the car that was hit were injured and treated by emergency responders.

15-year-old must prepare criminal defense to murder charge

The Virginia Beach police report that they are making progress in solving the murder investigation regarding the killing of an 18-year-old man on the front porch of his home with his mother watching on June 23. A 20-year old man was arrested and charged on July 11 with conspiracy to commit a felony. On July 20, the authorities say they arrested a 15-year-old and charged him with murder, conspiracy and using a firearm to commit a felony. Criminal defense attorneys face a tough challenge when a minor is being treated as an adult in a capital case.

It appears that the authorities intend to prosecute the minor as an adult. He is being held without bail in the Virginia Beach juvenile detention center. The shooting had poignantly tragic undertones. The victim had just completed his first day of work at Taco Bell, and it was the day before his 19th birthday.

DUI/DWI charges withdrawn against fugitive driver

A driver who does not stop when law enforcement authorities try to pull the vehicle over is creating a reckless hazard and additional allegations may be made that would not have been charged otherwise. The Virginia State Police reported such an event recently when the operator of a BMW was suspected of speeding and erratic driving. When the operator would not pull over, a chase ensued and the suspect was arrested for DUI/DWI.

In addition to those charges, however, the police charged him with felony eluding, speeding, resisting arrest and driving on a revoked operator's license. The chase started at about 2:45 a.m. on I-264. The driver allegedly exited the interstate at Rosemont Road, then ran a red light and crashed his vehicle at Bonney Road, per the police. He then exited the vehicle and ran on foot, police say.

Man held in jail on sex crimes despite exonerating evidence

It is often easy for the authorities to select an individual with a prior record and tag him or her with perpetration of a crime without substantial evidence to back it up. This kind of criminal justice travesty can occur in Virginia or any other jurisdiction. A person with a prior record may be most vulnerable to being charged with alleged sex crimes or other crimes where identification may under the circumstances be difficult to pinpoint.

These issues seem to be emerging in the arrest of a Virginia man on allegations that he raped a College of William and Mary student last year. The case is beginning to take on frustrating indications of injustice due to a recent forensic report that the 50-year-old man's DNA did not appear anywhere on the victim's clothes or body. The forensic expert recently testified in court that the report eliminated the suspect as a possible source of DNA traces that were found on the victim.

Criminal defense to gun charges will probe eyewitness

When the Virginia Beach Police made a recent traffic stop, they believe that they stumbled onto a suspect who was wanted for offenses allegedly committed a few days earlier. On Wednesday, June 28, police responded to a complaint at a local community college that a man had brandished a gun in a restroom on campus. On Friday, they stopped a man on an apparent traffic offense, but did not then know that they would saddle him also with mounting a criminal defense to the earlier charges of brandishing a gun at the college.

In the earlier incident, which took place at Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach, a woman using a campus restroom at about 3 p.m. said that a man walked into the room and pulled out a gun, police say. The woman screamed and the man ran out of the room. There were no injuries and that was the end of the matter, except that the suspect escaped, according to the authorities.

Virginia DUI stops and sobriety tests

Getting stopped for a DUI can be a frightening experience for many. It can be hard to know which decisions to make and what actions could damage your case further down the line.

Virginia police officers may use various types of testing for two separate purposes: establishing probable cause and building the case for the prosecution. As for other types of crimes, officers can arrest you for DUI if they have "probable cause" to believe you were driving drunk.

Changes ahead for how Virginia treats pot possession and driver's licenses

Right now, most people are eagerly awaiting the start of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, which promises everything from picnics and barbeques to parades and fireworks. In other words, the last thing on their minds is the start of the state's new fiscal year.

While this is understandable, it's nevertheless important to realize that once the calendar turns to July 1, any bills passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor will take effect. Indeed, in less than 24 hours, several hundred new laws will officially go onto the books.

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