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Fairfax Criminal Defense Blog

The outlook of social security benefits

On the surface, Social Security Disability Insurance is a path to quality health and personal protection. It is an option that millions of Americans choose to help them when their physical disabilities prevent them from working full-time, if at all. Yet the politics surrounding SSDI are changing. Could a Trump presidency mean a cut in funding for countless Virginians in need of assistance?

In June, Bloomberg Businessweek released an article focused on social security benefits in America, highlighting an apparent conflict within President Trump's plans. Trump bolstered his campaign with promises of maintaining the current funding for Social Security, but his later actions proved otherwise. His budget reflects that a whopping $70 billion will be cut from Social Security disability benefits over the next ten years -- clearly a diversion from the president's initial plans. Surprisingly enough, Bloomberg points out that these cuts will affect some of Trump's biggest supporters. Lawmakers have recently expressed frustration with these upcoming changes; meanwhile, the White House Budget Director supports the cuts to the funding. Yet why are such modifications occurring now? Experts point toward an aging society that increasingly needs government support as well as delayed retirement plans as two major reasons for this change. 

Repeat DWI, mandatory minimum sentence

Virginia residents know that being charged with drunk driving can lead to a slew of tough penalties. When an arrest represents a second or subsequent offense, those penalties may actually get even stricter than after a first driving while intoxicated conviction.

One man from Powhatan who is actually a priest in the Roman Catholic church was recently sentenced to a full year in jail for a DWI offense. Other penalties include attendance at a safety course, payment of a fine and the loss of driving privileges for a full three years. The priest will be able to apply for a restricted license so that he can continue to fulfill his duties as a priest. For the first 12 months of the 36-month license revocation period, he must use an ignition interlock device and only drive vehicles with that installed.

Tried as a child or an adult? virginia decides

The topic of murder is never a light case, especially when that case involves an individual who is not yet considered an adult. Situations in which a juvenile is charged for murder inevitably muddy legal waters, especially since the verdict is ultimately up to each individual state. In Virginia, specific laws protect juveniles in these situations, yet simultaneously deal with murder fairly and meticulously.

Just weeks ago, Delmarva Now released details on the 2016 tragic Atlantic murder of a local, Nathanial Ayres, who was only nineteen; the jury convicted another teenager for the murder. Virginia courts found Zachary Townsend guilty of murder after the two had been arguing over drugs in the small town, after which Townsend shot the victim. Yet Townsend was still considered a juvenile when the murder occurred, so the court will ultimately decided his sentence. Although experts on the case have expressed doubt as to who, exactly, shot Ayres, Townsend currently awaits his sentence in jail. 

Differences between petty theft, shoplifting and grand theft

Burglary carries serious penalties whether it took place in a private home or a business. A Virginia man who burglarized several homes during the 2016 holiday season was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison, nine of which he has to serve. 

People should fight any theft charges brought against them. When going through trial, many people realize they are unfamiliar with the proper terminology in these cases. It is simple to make sense of everything so that a client perfectly understands what an attorney says. 

Disability benefits for disabled adult children

Many residents in Virginia have children who are unable to work at a level sufficient to support themselves as adults. These situations may be related to medical conditions such as cerebral palsy or other developmental delays. Injuries sustained in accidents may leave people with brain damage or other physical limitations. Regardless of the reason, it may be important for you to know that your Social Security disability benefits may be able to provide income to your adult child who is disabled. 

As the Social Security Administration explains, the criteria used to determine that your child is disabled an eligible for benefits is the same criteria that would be used to determine if you were disabled. Your child's disability may need to have been present on or before their twenty-second birthday. If they are approved to receive benefits, the benefits may be payable for as long as your child is disabled. In some cases, disabilities may be short-term but in other cases they may last a lifetime.

Grand larceny: a common crime

Sometimes, the decisions made at certain points of life are not always ones to be proud of. Due to a number of factors, including poverty, poor health and the threat of bankruptcy, many Virginia residents commit acts of theft that can permanently ruin their personal and professional reputations. While the intentions of such crimes may initially seem benign, the state handles larceny seriously. All the same, theft is a common crime in Virginia, but the ways courts address cases can depend on each individual situation.

What may once appear a simple act of theft can quickly turn into grand larceny. Just last week, Channel 4 News reported that law enforcement arrested a Virginia volunteer who was accused of stealing thousands of dollars from her church, Queen of Apostles. As a result of taking money directly from church offerings, the woman now faces three counts of grand larceny. The police involved were given tips from an office employee at Queen of Apostles, and proceeded to set up a surveillance operation that later confirmed the employee's suspicions. 

Field sobriety tests not always accurate

If you have been arrested for and charged with a driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated offense in Virginia, you will want to educate yourself about many things. Certainly having an understanding of the types of penalties you may face if you are ultimately convicted is important. However, before that may ever happen, you should lear about the different ways in which you may effectively defend yourself against these charges.

As explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, the roadside tests administered before you were arrested are known to not be accurate all of the time. In fact, these field sobriety tests are not even able to nor are they designed to prove that you were intoxicated. Instead, they are only used to support the possibility that you were intoxicated so that an officer could legally place you under arrest. There are three tests approved for use by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The details of juvenile marijuana laws

Most Virginia residents do not take juvenile crimes as seriously as those committed by adults, as the repercussions of juvenile cases are generally short-lived. Even though this assumption is largely true, there nonetheless exist countless juvenile crimes that come with lasting consequences. 

When it comes to marijuana possession, even a small amount can create issues that extend well beyond an individual's teenage years. Depending on the case, a charge for marijuana possession can remain on records available to colleges and future employers. Although the nation's laws regarding the drug are slowly shifting, penalties still apply to juvenile charges, and those penalties can last for a lifetime. 

Violent juvenile crimes

Every day, America receives news involving a variety of crimes, ranging from minor theft to murder. Yet in between the spectrum of all crimes in the country lies juvenile crime, a topic well-known to the public but also of critical importance. Many state courts have difficulty determining proper penalties for juveniles who commit crimes, and the initial reason for committing the crime often goes overlooked. As for Virginia and teen offenses against the law, what can be said of the generally recent surge in violent crimes in certain areas of the state? 

An article in WSLS News focuses on the recent arrest of 20 Virginia teenagers who committed violent and serious crimes. Occurring at Richmond public schools and surrounding areas, the crimes included arson, in which the suspects set fire to a former local high school, and burglary at pawn shops. In addition, all suspects were involved in a break-in at Lynchburg Arms and Indoor Shooting Range in Campbell County. Many are quick to villianize juveniles, and while such violent behavior is unlawful, there are a variety of factors that can drive teenagers to carry out crimes. One reason could simply be that more people are reporting the crimes to law enforcement, but others point toward general boredom that can take place over summer breaks. Peer pressure and thrill-seeking could also be to blame, but the two could ultimately arise from deeper, underlying behavioral and psychological issues.

One explanation for why people shoplift

The confessions and true stories of shoplifters are astonishing — smart, successful individuals for whom shoplifting is part of their everyday lives.

For example, there’s the case of a married mom from California, a former high school valedictorian who’s well-educated and a tireless volunteer for charities. She's also a compulsive shoplifter. She says it isn’t unusual for her to take $300 worth of items in a day. And she doesn't want or need what she steals. For instance, she takes coffee from Starbucks and gives it to people on the street because she doesn’t like coffee.

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