Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Richmond Legal Blog

What is "reckless driving"?

Traffic violations can be damaging legal problems for Virginia residents who count on their drivers licenses to perform their personal and professional duties. It can be difficult for individuals to meet their schedules when they must rely on public transportation to get them to where they are required to be. Losing one's license due to reckless driving charges can affect many aspects of a person's life.

Reckless driving is generally considered to be driving conduct that demonstrates a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others. It is a greater level of wrongdoing than negligence. Whereas negligence may result in accidental harm, recklessness fails to account for the harm that may result due to the irresponsible actions of the actor.

A new school may mean new custodial needs

By now children all across the Commonwealth of Virginia have been released from their classes and are enjoying the freedom that comes with the summer break. While some will go back to their same schools when fall rolls around and classes resume, others will move up to schools for higher grades or will relocate and therefore change institutions where they study. Changes in schools can mean big changes in scheduling for families, and new schedules can sometimes require new custodial plans.

For example, a high school may have an earlier start time than a middle or elementary school, which may necessitate a child's earlier drop off than in years past. If a parent has a morning conflict that may prohibit them from being consistently responsible for this important child-rearing task then they may need to alter their custodial duties to allow their child's other parent to participate in this ongoing event.

Great summer driving weather can lead to reckless driving charges

The monotony of driving can lead to distraction and questionable decisions. For example, a driver bored with their daily commute may be more likely to exceed the speed limit or engage in other dangerous activities, such as texting at the wheel. For Virginia drivers, those questionable decisions can often carry very serious consequences.

Drivers who might expect to face nothing more than a speeding ticket if they get stopped by law enforcement could instead find themselves facing reckless driving misdemeanor charges. Reckless driving allegations are more serious than a standard traffic violation and can sometimes can even be a felony. They require a court appearance and can continue to affect your driving record for more than a decade if you wind up convicted or plead guilty to the charges.

What does it mean to drive under the influence?

Summer has officially started and many Virginia families may be making plans for the Fourth of July holiday. While some will travel to faraway destinations to visit family and friends, others may stay close to home to enjoy the festivities. Wherever they go and however they travel, though, they should be aware that law enforcement officials may be watching.

Drunk driving arrests are not uncommon during the summer months of the year as individuals get together with their loved ones for cookouts and parties, and those events often involve alcohol. In Virginia, law enforcement officials can charge drivers with driving under the influence, also known as DUI, if their blood alcohol concentration is at or above .08 percent. However, this is not the only way that a driver may be charged with DUI in the Commonwealth.

A partnership may serve a new business's needs

Virginia recognizes a number of different business structures that individuals may use when they set up their new entities. From the simple sole proprietorship to the more complex S-Corporation, there are a myriad of structures that individuals may assess before they select the ones that will serve their business's needs. This post will offer information on one popular form of business structure - partnerships - that readers may wish to pursue. However, readers should seek their own legal guidance before committing to a business structure as this post does not provide any legal advice.

A partnership is a business that is owned by more than one person. The partners to the business venture may decide how they will share the costs of running their business, how they will distribute the profits of their efforts and how they will manage any liabilities that their business acquires. Partnerships are not taxed as separate businesses entities, and therefore the money that partnerships make is taxed through the partners' individual income taxes.

What is virtual visitation?

Readers of this Virginia legal blog may know others or may themselves have the kinds of jobs that they can do from anywhere. Whereas in the past a person had to go to the offices of their employer in order to complete their job tasks, today the interconnectedness of the world allows individuals to work from practically anywhere they want. As long as they have access to the internet and reliable electronic devices, they can respond to emails, chat with co-workers and even teleconference with their bosses whenever it is required.

While it may not seem like technology is as important in the realm of family relations as it is in the world of employment, this notion is undergoing change. For example, one way that parents and children may stay connected after divorce is through special communications known as virtual visitation.

What are some advantages to drug courts in Virginia?

It is recognized that those who commit drug crimes often benefit more from rehabilitation rather than simple incarceration. For this reason, the Virginia court system has drug treatment courts that, depending on the circumstances, may be an alternative to traditional criminal courts. According to the state, the recidivism and re-arrest rates of those who complete drug court programs are around 50 percent less than the rates of recidivism or re-arrest rates for those whose drug cases went through the traditional trial process.

In a drug court, a multidisciplinary team will work together to help the individual stay sober. This team may consist of a judge, commonwealth attorney, treatment professionals and probation officers. The person who committed the drug crime will be monitored and will participate in a standard treatment program. The person will undergo frequent testing to ensure they are sober and will be frequently monitored by their probation officer. Finally, if the person relapses, they will be penalized, but the relapse will be considered part of the recovery process and thus the person will not be criminally charged.

Consider all defense options after drug charges

When you are facing drug charges, your entire future is suddenly uncertain. If the prosecution handling your case chooses to push for harsh sentencing, and you do not have a strong defense, you may face harsh fines, loss of privileges and significant jail time. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your arrest and charges, to protect your future opportunities and rights in Virginia, you must begin building a strong defense as soon as possible.

Many defendants feel overwhelmed by the circumstances of their arrest and do not understand that they probably have multiple defense options. By examining the evidence against you and scrutinizing the actions of the police and prosecution, you and your attorney can formulate a defense strategy that provides a much better chance of reducing your charges or beating them altogether. However, the longer you wait, the fewer opportunities you have, so it is crucial to focus on your defense immediately after your arrest.

Drug treatment courts offer alternative to criminal trials

People in Virginia who have been charged with a drug crime may think that they have no other choice but to go through the traditional criminal trial process. However, what they may not know is that Virginia offers drug treatment courts to qualifying individuals that could help them regain sobriety

Drug treatment courts provide those charged with drug crimes with an alternative to the traditional court system. Traditionally, a criminal case is adversarial -- pitting the commonwealth of Virginia against the defendant -- and will result in a person being found either "guilty" or "not guilty." Courts do not follow up on a defendant's progress once the defendant's case has been adjudicated. Any attempts to prevent further criminal activity or provide drug treatment programs are overseen by entities that are not connected to one another. The type of treatment a defendant may be eligible for varies, and any relapse on the part of the defendant will result in new drug charges or be considered a violation of the terms of the person's probation.

Estate planning for high-conflict families

Family relationships are complicated, and many families in Virginia have their fair share of squabbles. However, when it comes to estate planning, family feuds can complicate matters. A person might want to name some relatives as heirs but not others, or an heir might contest a will they feel is unfair. Fighting can also come up during difficult emotional times, such as having to make medical decisions for an incapacitated loved one. Executing an estate plan in a high-conflict family takes care.

For example, it can help to make sure that once the estate plan is executed, all beneficiaries understand what the details of the plan are. This way there are no surprises, and it is understood what the creator's wishes are. Sometimes a simple conversation is all that is needed to make sure all parties are on the same page. However, leaving one heir less than another or disinheriting an heir entirely may lead to hard feelings if there is no reason given for the decision.

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Coates & Davenport, P.C.
5206 Markel Road Suite 200
Richmond, VA 23230

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