Month: April 2017

Get the Facts about DUI Laws in Virginia

Drunk driving offenses are aggressively prosecuted in the commonwealth of Virginia. Even a first-time offense can result in harsh financial penalties, loss of driving privileges, and even jail time, as well as several other negative consequences. If you have made a bad decision which resulted in a DUI arrest, don’t compound your error by neglecting to secure knowledgeable and skilled legal representation. Those who speak to an experienced Virginia DUI attorney as soon as possible have a much higher likelihood of a successful outcome in their case.

Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits

Virginia refers to drunk driving as DUI or driving under the influence, and measures DUI by blood alcohol concentration (BAC.)  In the commonwealth of Virginia, the blood alcohol content limits for a person twenty-one years or older is .08%.  If you are younger than 21, the legal limit is .02%. For commercial drivers the BAC limit is .04%.  In addition to DUI charges, you can also be charged with other alcohol related crimes including:
  • Misrepresenting your age (using a fake ID)
  • Possessing alcohol on school property
  • Buying alcohol for someone under the age of 21

DUI Penalties

If you are younger than 21 years old and purchase, possess, or consume alcohol (above the legal limit of a 0.02% BAC), you face the following consequences:
  • License suspension for up to 1 year from your conviction date.
  • Minimum $500 fine, or minimum 50 hours of community service.
  • Possible Alcohol Safety Action Program.
  • Possible restricted driver’s license
Virginia DUI penalties for drivers 21 years or older vary depending on whether this is a first offense or if you’ve had previous DUI convictions. If you’ve been convicted of a DUI offense in the past, the court will consider the number of convictions, the time period in which they occurred, and the BAC at the time of arrest. A first DUI offense is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor and punishment will include the following:
  • Administrative license suspension for 7 days
  • $250 – $2500 fine
  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • License revocation for 1 year
  • Court-ordered restitution (if applicable)
  • Possible Alcohol Safety Action Program
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device
  • Possible restricted driver’s license
Subsequent DUI convictions will include all first offense penalties outlined above, but may also include additional mandatory jail time, significantly higher fines, and longer license suspensions or revocation, and may also include felony charges with seizure and forfeiture of your vehicle.  An extremely high BAC of .15% or above, or driving under the influence with a minor in the car will automatically incur additional jail time.

Should You Take a Breathalyzer Test?

Many people believe that by taking a Breathalyzer test you have willingly provided the state with evidence to use against you at trial. While this is essentially true, Virginia operates under the implied consent law. This means that if you refuse to take a chemical test, blood or breathalyzer, after you have been arrested, you will be charged with Refusal in Virginia and you could be subject to an automatic license suspension. The Implied Consent law in Virginia states that any Virginia driver, regardless of which state he or she is licensed in, impliedly consents to a Breathalyzer or blood test just by driving on a Virginia highway.  The Implied Consent law in Virginia applies after a driver has been arrested and the arrest must occur within 3 hours of the alleged offense.

Call & Speak to an Experienced Virginia DUI Defense Attorney

Being charged with DUI is a serious offense that carries harsh penalties that can affect your freedom and your bank account. Additionally, a DUI conviction may impact your ability to find a job or maintain employment, especially if a clean driving record or the absence of a criminal record is a job requirement. You can expect your car insurance rate to increase, or you may even be dropped by your insurer or have difficulty obtaining auto insurance coverage. If you’re looking for a law firm that will fight for your rights throughout the DUI criminal process, contact Melone Law P.C. Our attorneys have successfully represented individuals throughout Virginia who have been arrested and charged with a DUI. Contact us today at 703.995.9900 to discuss your case.

Should You Make A Trust For Your Kids?

    When it comes to estate planning, most families have the same objectives: to provide income for their children or other descendants. Parents want their children to continue having the sa me comfortable lifestyle and the freedom to pursue their education and career objectives. But what happens if your children are still under 18? What happens if they are 18? For children under 18 the court will appoint a guardian to act as the children’s custodian. That individual may also have the authority to manage their inheritance. A guardian will have to post a bond with the court and make reports to the commissioner of accounts office. For children over 18 they will simply receive their inheritance outright when the estate is settled. Now, many children may understand and recognize that the funds are meant to be used for their health, education, and welfare, but if they need a car, why not a Range Rover? If they are going to college, why not an international program or expensive private school? How can you be sure that your assets are utilized in the best way possible to promote your children’s success after you are gone? The answer, most often, is through a trust. In establishing a trust for the benefit of your children you have several different options. Some of the most popular choices are to either set up a revocable family trust during your life that continues after your passing, or, a testamentary trust which is a directive in your will requiring a trust to be established after you pass. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks. The Revocable Family Trust This option allows you to receive the benefits of the trust during your lifetime. Many individuals manage their own revocable trusts, which keeps the management cost minimal. Families can transfer assets such as real estate, cash, investment accounts, and even retirement accounts into a trust during their lifetime. One major benefit of this type of trust is the ability to establish exactly what you want during your life and an easy transition after your passing. If management of the trust becomes complicated and overly time-consuming, you always have the option to appoint an individual or corporate trustee. The trustee will manage the assets in the trust and follow the trust’s directives on making distributions. Some financial firms offer co-trustee services which provide a cost savings compared to other trustee services. The Testamentary Trust A few simple provisions added to your traditional will can direct that any distributions to parties under a certain age must be placed into a trust. It can direct how the trust is organized and name an individual or corporate trustee to manage the trust. In order for the testamentary trustee to be appointed, they will have to qualify with the court the same way an executor or personal representative qualifies. A testamentary trust may provide for distributions of income over a certain period of time, or it may provide for one payout once the beneficiary reaches a certain age. Under either option the trust or the will may waive any requirement of a trustee to post bond and file reports with the commissioner’s office. You must balance any concerns over mismanagement of funds with convenience and ease of management for your guardian or trustee. Revocable trusts and testamentary trusts can both help you achieve your estate planning goals, and provide income and support to your children after you are gone. The attorneys at Melone Law, P.C. can help you evaluate your options and achieve your estate planning goals. Contact us for a free estate plan evaluation.

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