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Criminal Law Archives

False confessions and their extensive impact on your life

If you have been charged with a crime, the entire process can be extremely intimidating and frightening, particularly if this is your first offense. Even the smallest mistake can land you in a world of trouble, and affect your entire future before you realize what you are saying. Magazines and newspapers are full of stories where those accused have given false confessions and been convicted of crimes they did not commit. Before you are in this situation, you may not even consider ever giving a false confession, but it is a real problem you should be aware of before you deal with it.

JUVENILES CAN BE TRIED AS ADULTS

JUVENILES CAN BE TRIED AS ADULTS

Most people understand that juveniles and adults are treated differently in the criminal justice system. However, there are a variety of situations in which juveniles can be tried as adults, even if they have absolutely no criminal record.  Further, while many people might suspect that older teenagers, such as sixteen or seventeen year olds, would be most likely to be tried as adults, in fact Virginia law allows teens as young as fourteen years old to be tried as an adult.

THREATS IN WRITING-WHAT EXACTLY IS ILLEGAL?

Issuing threats in writing is a serious charge in Virginia. With the advent of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, this issue is arising more frequently in area courts. While most written speech, even vulgar or distasteful speech, is protected under the First Amendment, certain threatening speech can land you a felony conviction in Virginia.slider-bg_03.jpg

EXPUNGEMENT OF POLICE AND COURT RECORDS

Criminal Law- What is an expungement?

An expungement is the process of purging a criminal or arrest record.  In other words, it is the legal procedure used to clear an eligible person's criminal or arrest record.  Chapter 23.1 of the Virginia Code governs the process of expunging criminal records.  The specific policy behind the expungement process acknowledges "that arrest records can be a hindrance to an innocent citizen's ability to obtain employment, an education and to obtain credit." See the code for Expungements Va. Code 19.2-392.1.

TRESPASSING IN VIRGINIA

The crime of trespassing in Virginia prohibits entering the land of another after having previously been forbidden from doing so. Va. Code 18.2-119 says that "if any person without authority of law goes upon or remains upon the lands, buildings or premises of another, or any portion or area thereof, after having been forbidden to do so, either orally or in writing, by the owner, lessee, custodian or other person lawfully in charge thereof"...he or she is guilty of trespassing." Many people are surprised to learn that trespassing is a Class 1 one misdemeanor punishable by up to twelve months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.

SHERIFF BILL WATSON V. MAYOR KENNY WRIGHT AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MISDEMEANOR AND FELONY EVADE AND ELUDE

Sheriff Bill Watson v. Mayor Kenny Wright: Politics or Enforcing the Law?

As many people already know, Sheriff Bill Watson and Mayor Kenny Wright of Portsmouth, Virginia, squared off on Tuesday night in a very unusual low-speed police chase.  According to local news networks, Sheriff Watson attempted to issue a traffic summons to Mayor Wright for an expired inspection sticker after a city hall meeting. Mayor Wright however did not stick around for his citation and instead drove off in his vehicle.  Shortly thereafter, a low-speed law enforcement chase with multiple stops ensued. At the end of the ordeal, Sheriff Watson issued Mayor Wright a summons for the expired inspection sticker.  Then, to make matters worse, Sheriff Watson went to the Magistrate Judge the next day and took out a warrant for felony evade and elude.  Here are some local news links to the story:

REASONABLE DOUBT: WHAT DOES IT MEAN? WHAT ABOUT STEVEN AVERY?

make-a-murderer-195x300.jpgWhat is Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?

These days it seems like everyone is talking about Steven Avery and the Netflix docuseries "Making a Murderer."  The news networks and social media have had a field day with the high profile case out of Wisconsin.  There is even a misguided petition to the President of the United States, Barack Obama, seeking Avery's release.  Along with all of this buzz, many people keep wondering about the burden of proof for the government.  Specifically, people want to know what it means to prove a case "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?"

INTERNET SEX CRIMES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!

Internet sex crimes are extremely serious. Not only are crimes such as possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, and solicitation of a minor felony offenses, but convictions can lead to consequences such as registration on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry for life. Further, sex crime convictions can severely impact your ability to obtain employment, go to school, or even live in the house or apartment of your choice, depending on its proximity to places such as schools and churches. If charged with an offense such as possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, or solicitation of a minor, it is vital to have an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law and who is knowledgeable of all possible defenses.

POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

Possession of a controlled substance, such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, or methamphetamine, is a Class 5 felony in Virginia, punishable by up to ten years in prison, a $2,500 fine, and a mandatory six month loss of your driver's license. People are often shocked to discover that even the residue of a controlled substance can lead to a serious felony charge. More so than nearly any other area of the law, a possession of a controlled substance charge requires an attorney who stays up to date on the ever changing case law in this area and who is experienced in filing motions to suppress the Commonwealth's evidence that was obtained illegally.

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