Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Richmond Legal Blog

How to defend against a DUI charge

The holiday season is nearly upon us and that means holiday parties that involve alcohol. If you plan to attend one of these parties and to drive home, it’s advisable to avoid drinking any alcoholic beverages as this is the best way to avoid an arrest and accusation of drunk driving.

Even if you don't drink anything before driving—or drink a very small amount—there's still a chance that you'll be stopped and accused of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. If this happens, there are several possible DUI defenses that may apply to your situation and case.

How do LLCs and S corps differ under business law?

Business owners have a lot of stake in their enterprise, financially and personally. They may work hard to see that their business is a success. However, they may also want to be shielded from personal liability for the debts and actions of the business. This can be done by structuring the business as either a limited liability corporation or as an S corporation.

Both of these entities protect the business owner's personal assets, meaning that the business's creditors cannot go after the owners' personal assets to fulfill the business's liabilities. There are also tax advantages to each of these business entities. However, LLCs and S corps differ in the way the business owners are paid. Owners of an S corp receive a salary along with dividends from the business's profits. In an LLC, however, the business's activities are reported on the business owner's personal income taxes. However, this does mean they will have to pay self-employment taxes each quarter on the business's income.

Virginia employers must comply with federal safety regulations

Most employers in Virginia want to ensure they keep their premises safe for their workers. They know that workers have certain rights should they be exposed to dangerous work conditions. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, outlines the regulatory compliance measures employers must take to keep their workplaces safe for employees.

Employers are responsible for keeping their premises free from recognizable dangers as well as comply with federal standards and regulations. This means they must regularly inspect their workplace to ensure they are in compliance with OSHA standards. An employer's operating procedures should be updated when necessary to comply with federal rules, and they need to let workers know of these changes.

Address Halloween in your child custody and parenting plan

Halloween is approaching and that means tricks and treats for many little ghouls and goblins in Virginia. Whether your child is going trick-or-treating, to a trunk-or-treat event, or to a holiday party, Halloween is a special time for them. However, for children whose parents are divorced, this holiday can become more complex.

To ensure their child has a fun Halloween, divorced parents need to plan ahead regarding their holiday child custody schedule. Some parents will alternate years that they have their child in their care on Halloween. For example, the child may spend Halloween with one parent on even-numbered years and with the other parent on odd-numbered years. This may work well for parents who are not on good terms with one another and need separate time with the child.

Are there cases in which a family home may be considered separate property in divorce?

Going through a divorce can be an emotional and frustrating experience. Every divorce case has unique factors that will affect how assets and property are divided. For many divorcing couples, a family home is among their largest and most hotly-contested assets.

Educating yourself about how property and assets are divided in Virginia divorces can help you plan and prepare for your post-divorce life. If you believe that you may retain sole ownership of a home, careful exploration of state law and precedent is important.

Why is it so important to create an estate plan?

No one really wants to think about their death. However, death will come to all of us sooner or later. Through estate planning, we can address issues such as inheritances, end-of-life care and more. However, for a variety of reasons, not everyone in Virginia has executed an estate plan. But, they may want to consider doing so, for the benefit of themselves and their loved ones.

First, without a will or trust, a person will be considered to have died intestate. When this happens, their estate will have to go through probate. This is a court process in which the person's heirs will be located, creditors and taxes will be paid, and the remaining estate assets will be passed on to the person's heirs based on state statute. In the end, probate can take a long time and wind up costing a lot of money. Moreover, since an estate without a will or trust is subject to state intestacy statutes, a person's estate may not go to the heirs they would have selected.

Which spouse will own the family pet after divorce?

You and your spouse make the difficult decision to divorce. You simply cannot get along, and you both feel that separation would benefit your individual lives. Unfortunately, after you married, you adopted a puppy. The dog is an integral part of both of your lives, but who will keep the pet after Hawaii court finalizes your divorce proceedings?

Hawaii operates as an equitable distribution state. Unlike community property laws, which work to separate assets and debts evenly between each spouse, equitable distribution looks at many factors of your marriage to determine a fair, rather than equal, division of property. Though you may feel that your pet is a member of your family, the court will not recognize your animal as needing custody rights. Your dog will fall under marital property division, and the court will determine which spouse receives your beloved animal.

Sentencing for drug charges can be mitigated

Most people in Virginia understand that drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine are highly addictive and dangerous. Therefore, the possession and sale of such drugs is illegal and those who violate the law can expect harsh punishments. This is especially true if a person is in possession of or intends to sell a large amount of these drugs.

For example, under Virginia law, a person can expect a fine of up to $1 million and a prison sentence of five years to life, if they sell or possess with intent to sell 100 grams or more of heroin, 500 grams or more of cocaine or 10 grams or more of meth. However, while five years is the minimum mandatory sentence for such drug crimes, there are exceptions that would make the mandatory minimum sentence inapplicable.

What factors do courts consider in child custody cases?

Sometimes divorcing parents in Virginia are able to negotiate a settlement regarding child custody and visitation issues out of court, while other times they cannot reach an agreement and turn to a judge to make the decisions. The court, in doing so, will base its decision on the best interests of the child. When determining what the child's best interests are, the court will consider a number of factors.

For example, the court may consider the child's age and developmental needs. Each parent's age and health may also be considered. The parents' positive involvement in the child's life and relationship with the child may be considered. The court may also consider the child's relationships with others, such as brothers and sisters, friends and relatives. Each parent's role in caring for the child both now and in the future is an additional consideration.

What is 'reasonable' versus 'fixed' visitation?

It is only natural that Virginia parents going through a divorce will want to end up with a child custody and visitation schedule that allows them both to have a meaningful relationship with their child. Therefore, visitation periods are very important to noncustodial parents. In general, visitation may be either "reasonable" or "fixed." Thus, it is important to understand what the difference between reasonable visitation and fixed visitation is.

If the judge awards a parent reasonable visitation, it is up to the parents to determine how visitation is to be allocated in the parenting plan. If the parents are on good enough terms to cooperate with one another, reasonable visitation can allow them to craft a personalized plan that allows for visitation periods that work with each parent's schedule.

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