POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA 18.2450.1: No Mandatory Loss of License
Good News: The law will no longer require that a person convicted for possession of marijuana have a mandatory 6-month loss of driver’s license upon conviction. The judge still has a right to do it if he or she sees fit, but it is no longer required. This change to possession sentencing only applies to adults and with a first offense with a deferment. The one catch is that if you want to keep your license you will have to perform 50 hours of community service, in addition to the 24 hours in the deferment program.
USING ELECTRONIC DEVICE TO TRESPASS OR PEEP
This means using your cell phone or Ipad. Under Virginia House Bill 2350 it will be a Class 1 Misdemeanor to use an electronic device to enter the property of another to secretly or furtively peep or spy or attempt to into a dwelling or occupied building located on such property. (And make sure you don’t post a picture of anything that could be construed as trespassing or peeing; that would not be wise.)
FIREARMS, THE CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMIT
The law requires for applicants for a concealed handgun to present one valid form of government-issued photo identification by the Commonwealth of Virginia or the US Department of Defense or State. Changes to the law removes the requirement that the application be made under oath.
Virginia law is always evolving; sometimes for the better, but not always. Attorney Christopher James closely follows what is happening in Richmond so that he can provide clients in Northern Virginia with the most up-to-date legal advice and effective representation. If you have questions about how changes to Virginia law might affect you, contact the Law Offices of Christopher James.Read More
ANSWER: It is not hard. 90% of the work is done before you even file the case:
Answer all the questions on the bankruptcy questionnaire .
Provide your counsel with your pay stubs, latest filed tax return, list of debts and assets.
Take the credit counseling course online or on the phone it takes 1.5 hours.
Your Attorney will then prepare an electronic petition (PDF for Court) through his software. You personally sign a hard copy for his master file.
Your Attorney files the case and immediately receives a case number and a creditors hearing date (between 30 to 40 days after you file) that will be held in Alexandria.
You attend the creditors hearing with your attorney with your ID and social security #.
About 90% the time the Trustee that day declares it a no-asset case and you’re about done. And your case is set for complete discharge in 60 days.
You take the 2nd class Debtor education on line/phone (takes 1.5 hours) and the certificate gets filed by your attorney.
Around 90 days after you file the court grants a complete discharge and notifies all parties and the case is closed.
As you can see, the process is not so bad, and not that long. Contact Attorney Christopher James to start your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.Read More
The reality is that people under 21 are often charged with fairly minor offenses, that unfortunately can end up on a permanent criminal histories that can affect their future employment opportunities. Based on decades of helping teens and young adults successfully fight DUI charges, Christopher James has put together simple tips for staying on the right side of the law and avoiding driving under the influence in the Commonwealth of Virginia:
- Do not carry anything in your vehicle that is illegal.
- Do not carry anything on your person that is illegal.
- Do not carry false identification or multiple, conflicting identification.
- Have everything on your vehicle in order, such as up-to-date inspections, tags and decals, and make sure all lights and signals function properly.
- Do not take part in “group think.” If you are with one or two friends that are doing something wrong, do not go along for the ride. Excuse yourself even if it’s not your idea. or peer pressure is involved the police almost always charge the entire group and figure it out later.
- Do not commute in your own vehicle between 12:00 midnight and 4am.
- Do not draw attention to yourself in large gatherings if alcohol is present.
- If you do get pulled over, be respectful of the police. On the scene is not the time to argue your case.
- Whatever you hear in the media can be misleading. Police rarely discriminate based on anything other than your age. If you are under 30 when stopped you are much more likely to be searched, and they do this under the notion they are “community caretakers” and concerned for your safety.
- Understand that there are many, many exceptions to search and seizure law, for instance” the plain view exception”, “consent exception”, and search incident to arrest exception and others. The rights you think you may have usually only apply fully when you are in your home but not on the street or in your car.
How does this all tie together? It’s simple; excepting serious felonies, most cases that I have handled for young adults are very similar when broken down. One basic example: A suburban teenager stays late at a party and leaves at 2am thinking its only three miles home and does not want to bother his parents. He forgot to get his car inspected because he was busy, and also has something illegal in the glove box, because he does not want his parents to find it in his sock drawer. He makes it halfway home, and then runs that annoying stop sign in his community. Blue lights flash and 5 minutes later he is sitting there with three charges and a lot of explaining to do when he gets home. Sound familiar? This story is not about an out of control kid. But did he follow the simple above rules? No.
CONCLUSION: I am not a counsellor trying to tell you how to live your life. Go out and have fun. Instead, my role is to tell you how not to pick up needless criminal charges. Just learn the above 10 steps and follow them. Avoid DUI/DWI charges by avoiding trouble in the first place.Read More