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Northern Virginia General Law Blog

Back-to-school parties may lead to drunk driving arrests

It is that time of year again when the campuses of Virginia's fine colleges and universities begin to awake with new life. Students are beginning to arrive at their institutions of higher learning, professors are finalizing their class syllabi and retailers are stocking up on college gear for the upcoming terms. August and September can be some exciting months in the lives of young people arriving back at their schools after summers away. They can also times when young adults celebrate with those they have not seen since the prior academic year.

College parties can be a lot of fun but unfortunately they can result in a lot of legal trouble if a person is pulled over on suspicion of driving drunk. Law enforcement officials look for signs of intoxication in drivers and when they spot vehicles moving erratically or otherwise demonstrating that their drivers may not be fully capable of safe operation they pull them over. Once a vehicle is stopped its driver may be questioned, asked to submit to breath or field sobriety tests or otherwise assessed for possible drunkenness.

Is it possible to receive sole custody of my child?

In the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts of Virginia a parent may receive sole custody of their child if a court determines such a child custody plan is in the child's best interests. This post will discuss in brief some of the considerations a court must make before deciding if a parent should have sole custody or share custody jointly with the child's other parent; readers are cautioned, though, to seek their own family law counsel as this post is only an overview of a broad legal topic. It does not provide legal advice.

A parent in Virginia may have sole physical custody of a child and sole legal custody of a child or share these two types of custody jointly with their child's other parent. While physical custody covers where a child lives legal custody covers the rights of a parent to make important decisions about a child's upbringing.

A prenuptial agreement can be an important family law tool

While many Manassas residents consider marriage to be a spiritual or emotional bond of two people together it is actually a change in the legal status of the parties who choose to wed. The status of "married" bestows upon the partners certain rights and responsibilities to each other and their property. For example, married individuals generally have the right to inherit property from their partners in the event their partners predecease them.

However, in some circumstances individuals may wish to limit or control which of their assets their partners may collect in the event that their marriages do not last. If a couple divorces then the property they share will be divided between them and, without a prior agreement about how such a division should be completed, a court may settle property matters between the former partners in a way that challenges their desires.

Police plan DUI checkpoint in Fairfax County

Many suspected DUI and DWI stops are performed when Virginia law enforcement officials believe that drivers are operating their motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. When they encounter suspected drunk drivers police officers may pursue them, stop them, and subject them to sobriety tests that challenge their balance and coordination or that provide data on their levels of intoxication through the collection of breath, blood, and urine samples.

Police can check for drunk drivers in another way: sobriety checkpoints. A sobriety checkpoint, also called a DUI checkpoint, involves police officers locating themselves at a designated intersection or location and then stopping drivers at set intervals to check them for intoxication. DUI checkpoints do not target particular drivers but are intended to serve as a means of checking for safe driving practices within a community.

Virginia’s DUI implied consent law, related laws have changed

Hundreds of new laws took effect on July 1 in Virginia, including a few relating to drunk driving. You may have heard that beer delivery is now legal, as are some higher-proof alcoholic beverages. It’s also newly legal to carry open containers of alcohol in “commercial lifestyle centers,” which are large, pedestrian friendly retail areas in physically integrated outdoor settings. In other words, you may be able to carry a margarita and shop at Stony Point Fashion Park in the near future.

Those examples should not give you the impression that Virginia is focusing less on DUI and related offenses, however. In fact, the new permissiveness in some areas has been paid for, so to speak, by additional strictness in others. What has changed?

No laughing matter: Seven illegal pranks no teen should try

As June winds to a close, the start of a new school year is just around the corner. Eager to get the most out of their summer, many teens will make a push to check off those last few items on their summer bucket list. For some teens, this might mean doing something big or maybe a little risky.

If playing a prank sounds like the perfect idea, think again. While many teens might think pranks are harmless -- and in some cases they are - other pranks can cross the line into illegal activity. As you'll see in the list below, some pranks can lead to a teen's arrest, criminal charges and the potential for jail time and fines if a teen is convicted.

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