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Fairfax Virginia Legal Blog

Larceny involving motor vehicles

When a friend or family member loans you a vehicle, it may come with some stipulations. You may promise to put gas in the car, drive below the speed limit or have the vehicle back within a certain time. Even if you do not keep these promises, you may not be breaking the law as long as your friend has given you permission to use the vehicle.

Taking someone's vehicle without permission, however, can lead to serious trouble. In fact, it may lead to allegations of car theft, which carries significant penalties in Virginia and across the country. If you are facing charges of auto theft, you have every right to be concerned about your future.

Disturbing the peace: is it a serious criminal offense?

Any type of criminal charge is a potential threat to your future, but there are some offenses that are more serious than others. When facing a seemingly minor charge, you may feel the temptation to underestimate the potential impact that these allegations can have on your life. What seems like a small problem now can have a big impact on your long-term interests and opportunities.

Disturbing the peace is a type of criminal charge that involves someone who allegedly acted in a disorderly manner that affected other people. Each individual has the right to peace, and when another person disturbs that peace in some way, it can ultimately result in criminal charges. This is a misdemeanor offense, and a conviction will go on your permanent criminal record. 

Defending against charges of resisting arrest

The moment when you encounter law enforcement or a police officer places you under arrest can trigger many emotions. You may feel frightened about what is going to happen to you or angry that police have wrongly arrested you. Many who have experienced this situation may not be thinking clearly and may react in a way that places them at risk.

You may have your reasons for wanting to get away from the officers who are trying to arrest you, but this is not the moment to fight. That will come later in the courtroom. In fact, resisting arrest can quickly escalate the situation and complicate your circumstances.

Accused of theft? Here is what the means for you

If authorities accuse you of theft, it is in your interests to know as much as possible about what you are up against. A criminal conviction can have a significant impact long-term, and it's prudent not to underestimate the potential effects this can have on your life. You want to do everything possible to protect your rights as well as shield your future interests.

In addition to keeping you out of jail, a strong defense strategy can help you preserve your reputation and avoid other potential consequences that may come with a conviction. Theft charges can be either misdemeanor or felony charges, and it encompasses a range of offenses, including taking physical property, taking a person's identity or taking money. Understanding the case against you will help you develop a strong defense strategy that makes sense for your situation. 

What type of disability benefits are right for you?

The inability to work due to a physical or mental condition can lead to financial difficulties. If you are earning a paycheck, how can you pay for your daily needs or make sure you get all of the medical help you require? It can be a discouraging position to find yourself in, but there could be disability benefits available to you from the Social Security Administration. 

There are two types of disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. Knowing the difference between these two options is important as you prepare your claim and take the appropriate steps necessary to secure the benefits you need. The difference between these two programs is significant, as they help two distinct groups of people who are unable to work because of a disability.

How possession becomes a felony?

Federal and Virginia authorities take drug crimes seriously. The focus seems even more intense lately because of the rising problem with overdoses and deaths related to opioid use. Police and drug enforcement agents work diligently to seek out and bring down individuals and organizations that put these drugs on the street, and that means those convicted of distributing drugs can expect to face harsh penalties.

If you have recently been arrested for drug crimes, you may wonder how a possession charge can become possession with intent to distribute. This additional element of the crime has serious ramifications and potentially life-changing consequences. It is important that you understand what you are facing and the options available for building your defense strategy.

What happens when an SSDI claim is not successful?

If you are unable to work due to a physical injury, mental issue or medical condition, you understand the extent to which this can impact your finances. When you cannot support yourself because of factors beyond your control, it can be frustrating and overwhelming. As a disabled individual, you could be eligible for financial benefits through the Social Security Administration. 

Once you complete the paperwork and submit it, you may feel hopeful that you could get financial relief in the near future. After all, you have a legitimate disabling condition, and you did everything required of you to apply. Unfortunately, many initial claims are not successful. This could be devastating, but this is not the end of the road for you.

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?

Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

criminal defense & Social security disability law

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