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Fairfax Virginia Legal Blog

Tailgating can be fun, but alcohol may put you at risk

As a football fan, you likely have many weekends this time of year planned in advance. Whether you are traveling to see an away game or staying local in Virginia, you know when you will be getting ready to cheer on your favorite team. In fact, you and a few friends may have standing plans to tailgate whenever you head to a game.

Tailgating is a pregame activity enjoyed by fans of numerous sports. You may consider football season your time to shine, and you do your part to participate in the tailgating experience. Of course, if your participation includes consuming alcohol, you may want to remember that irresponsible drinking and other actions could have negative consequences.

Understanding Virginia's drug treatment courts

Driving while empaired prevents drivers from being fully alert, and puts themselves and others in danger. Though this is not usually the intent, such behavior does warrant serious penalties under the law.

However, there are options available, such as drug treatment courts, that certain drivers may be able to take advantage of. There are a few key things to understand about this court option.

Should you take a breath test at a DUI stop?

With the holidays coming up, more police officers are likely to be out at night looking for drunk drivers or setting up DUI checkpoints throughout Virginia. You may find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having to pull over and speak to an officer on suspicions of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If the police have reason to believe you are intoxicated, they may request that you take a breath or blood test. What should you do? Is it better to take it or refuse?

A DUI conviction may ruin your college plans

In Virginia, DUI penalties increase depending on your blood alcohol content when officers stop your vehicle. For drivers under 21, though, the Old Dominion has a zero-tolerance policy. That is, if you are a minor and have a BAC above 0.02%, you are likely to face severe penalties for drinking and driving. 

If you are a young adult, you may look forward to leaving home and attending a college or university. Doing so is an effective way to land your dream job. Even better, college can be a tremendous amount of fun. While there is nothing wrong with letting loose, you should know how a DUI conviction may interfere with your college plans. 

6 tips for financial survival while awaiting SSDI approval

Let us say you submitted your claim for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Now you must wait to find out if the Social Security Administration approves your claim.

The wait can be up to a year and a half; meanwhile, you cannot work. How will you survive financially? Here are six suggestions to help you stay afloat during the SSDI approval process.

Self-defense as a legal defense

In cases where assault, battery or homicide occurred, self-defense is a common strategy to implement in court. A U.S. Park Police officer recently claimed he acted in self-defense in 2017 when he fatally shot a motorist, even though said motorist did not have a weapon on his person. 

While acting in self-defense is a common strategy to use in court, it does not always work. There have to be certain factors present for the defense to be successful. Anyone currently planning on going to court on assault and battery charges may want to use self-defense as a retort, but that individual and his or her legal team will need to look at the definition of self-defense to ensure it fits. 

Are you up to date on the meaning of larceny in Virginia?

Larceny has two forms in the state of Virginia: There is petty larceny, also known as petit larceny, and then there is grand larceny.

As you may imagine from the name, grand larceny is the more serious crime, but let us understand the similarities and differences between the two types and look at some examples.

Disabled Veterans may also receive Social Security Disability

Many Veterans may not realize they can qualify to receive both VA Disability and Social Security Disability Insurance at the same time.

For disabled Veterans on disability, the extra income from SSDI can provide much-needed help. The two systems are different. It may be less confusing if people think of them as entirely separate programs.

Things to never say at a DUI stop

Police officers will pull you over in a moment's notice if they suspect you are under the influence of alcohol. Recently, in Virginia, police pulled over a woman after noticing her flicking cigarette butts out of her car's window. As the officer approached the vehicle, he noticed the smell of alcohol and an empty wine box inside the car. 

If law enforcement ever pulls you over, then you need to watch what you say. Everything you tell the officer can come back in court later. You do not want to give the police more evidence than they already have, so avoid these statements at DUI stops

How much can a Virginia DWI raise your auto insurance rates?

As a Virginia resident currently facing a driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence charge, you may have justifiable concerns about how your charge may impact your life, should it lead to a conviction. A drunk driving conviction can bring with it considerable financial hardship once you factor in fines and other expenses, and you may, too, lose your license for a period after a conviction, which can make it even more difficult to hold down a job and cover your expenses.

While these fees and other expenditures can set you back a good bit financially, Insure.com reports there are also other expenses you will likely face following a drunk driving conviction. For example, once you get your license back (which also typically comes at a cost to you), you will almost certainly see a spike in your auto insurance rates.

Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

criminal defense & Social security disability law

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