In Virginia, March Madness carries multiple meanings. For most, at least in recent years, March Madness has been the time for our “mid-major” universities, George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth, just to name two, to shock the nation and make runs at the Final Four, while our major universities disappoint. In 2014, the University of Virginia appears poised to reverse this trend, and perhaps make a deep run in the tournament.
But madness in the month of March also means the end of the Virginia General Assembly session. The Virginia system of governance, with our part-time citizen delegates and senators, always provides ample fodder for water cooler discussion. Each Virginia delegate can introduce or “sponsor” an innumerable number of new bills, many of which could make an appearance on one of those desk calendars with a crazy law for every day of the … Read More »
Mixed Martial Arts (“MMA”) has been a sport for about 20 years, but in the last several years, it has gone from being a fringe spectacle to a mainstream sport covered by ESPN and airing matches on major networks. An initial glance at a singular fight might illicit myriad emotions from the viewer, ranging from excitement to disgust. You might view fighters as thugs or beasts, or you may see them as noble gladiators or elite athletes. Whatever your opinion, there is one undeniable fact: the fifteen or so minutes that make up the fight are just a fraction of the time, preparation and work that goes into an MMA contest.
The criminal trial process is extremely similar to an MMA fight, much more than you might realize. Criminal lawyers are often judged based upon their performance in the courtroom, but the … Read More »
Being charged with a criminal offense can be an anxiety-causing event for anyone. But immigrants charged with crimes face not only potential criminal punishments but also the potential impact on their immigration status from a criminal conviction. If you are an immigrant charged with a crime, here are four ways to help your criminal attorney protect your immigration status from the very beginning of your case:
Identify Your Status. It is crucial that you identify your immigration status for your criminal attorney as soon as possible. The immigration consequences of a criminal conviction can vary greatly depending on whether you are a lawful permanent resident, asylee, non-immigrant visa holder, completely without status, etc. If you are unsure of your status, make sure you bring copies of all immigration paperwork with you to the initial consultation with your criminal attorney. Immigration status should be the … Read More »
While most juvenile criminal offenses in Virginia are resolved entirely within the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (JDR Court), there are certain circumstances where cases are transferred and certified to the Circuit Court for resolution. Cases transferred and certified to Circuit Court result in the juvenile being tried as an adult, and resulting convictions can have substantial and lifelong effects on the juvenile.
There are three different ways that juvenile charges can be transferred to Circuit Court for adjudication in Virginia. They are commonly referred to as Section A, Section B, and Section C transfers based on their corresponding provisions in Virginia Code § 16.1-269.1. Section A transfers can theoretically originate from any felony charge, whereas Section B and Section C transfers can only occur when the juvenile has been charged with certain serious felonies. For any transfer, the juvenile must be … Read More »
It can be an unsettling process when your child faces criminal charges. Many parents worry about the consequences for their child’s future and are confused by both the process and the terminology surrounding the juvenile justice system. Unless you have been intimately involved in the juvenile system for a long period of time, it is very difficult for you to predict what will happen in your child’s case. Having realistic expectations on what you as a parent will face in the juvenile system will ease the stress on your family and put you in a better position to protect your child’s future. Here are five things to expect when your child is facing criminal charges in Virginia:
1. The Juvenile System Is Not There to Teach Your Child a Lesson.
It should be no surprise that for many juveniles facing criminal charges, it is not the first … Read More »
The right to appeal an unfavorable or unjust ruling in a criminal case is at the heart of our criminal justice system. In Virginia there are two categories of criminal appeal: appeals to circuit courts from lower courts, and appeals from circuit courts to higher courts. After briefly touching on the latter, this article will serve as a guide to the former: criminal appeals from district courts to circuit courts in Virginia.
Appeals from circuit courts in Virginia. Rulings by city or county circuit courts in Virginia may be appealed (depending on the area of law) to the Virginia Court of Appeals or Virginia Supreme Court. In those circumstances, the circuit court judgment remains in effect until and unless the appellate court decides to vacate or reverse the lower court’s decision. A relatively small percentage of criminal cases actually go through this level of appeal. … Read More »
We all understand that you hire a defense attorney to help you through a tough situation. It may therefore seem counter-intuitive that you have a duty to help your attorney. However, the direction your case will take is often determined by the steps you take on your own. Whether it is what occurs at arrest or in preparing your case, there is a lot you can do to positively (or negatively) influence your chances of success. Here are the best ways to help us defend you in court:
Don’t Admit Anything to the Police and Don’t Consent to a Search
This should be the cardinal rule of interaction with the police—do not admit to anything illegal and do not consent to a search. It always amazes me the number of cases where there is a confession to a crime or someone consented to a search when they … Read More »
Attorney websites and blogs often provide instruction to you, the potential client, on what you need to do: what you need to expect in a particular jurisdiction or from a particular charge, how you need to dress, how you need to find a lawyer, and on and on. So this article, like the dreaded “selfie,” turns the focus away from you and onto us—the legal professionals. If you have hired an attorney to defend you against criminal or traffic charges, you should hold them to certain standards with regard to how they handle your case. Here are five things you should expect from your criminal attorney:
Responsiveness. You shouldn’t know more about the process in your case than your attorney. A criminal attorney who is annoyed that their client has questions has probably lost sight of this simple fact. If you have a question, you … Read More »
Being charged with a crime is, for almost anyone, a nerve-racking experience. If you are being investigated or have already been charged with a crime in Virginia, the first thing you will want do do is refuse to speak to the authorities without an attorney present. Then of course you will want to find an attorney as soon as possible. Finally, you should do a little research both as to the particulars of the criminal charges you are facing, and as to the overall criminal process in Virginia.
To help you on that last point, here is a guide through the five steps of the judicial process in Virginia, and what to expect from a good criminal defense attorney throughout each stage:
Step 1: Initial Investigation. The best criminal lawyers usually advise clients to remain silent when questioned by law … Read More »
We’ve all heard or seen the stories: a scorned husband posts, tweets, uploads, or emails pictures of his wife engaged in sexual acts with someone other than him. Most people are so angry and hurt in the moment that they don’t think about the repercussions—to their significant other or themselves.
Various websites now allow people to post sexual photos of past lovers or spouses, often with explicit commentary. Some of them, such as myex.com, then demand fees to remove material that has been posted. The aftermath of the online harassment for the victim (which is usually, although not always, a woman) can be devastating.
Activists are lobbying state legislatures across the county to take action and prevent this behavior, which has become known as “revenge porn.”
Delegate Marcus Simon of Falls Church introduced House Bill 49 to address, at least in part, revenge porn in Virginia. … Read More »