Why Everyone Needs a Dashcam: My Client’s Story of Being Charged With 116 mph in a 55 mph Zone

What would you do if you were wrongfully stopped by a police officer and charged with a jailable offense when you were actually doing nothing wrong? This happened to my client on July 5, 2020 on his way to the midnight shift at Norfolk Naval Base on I-564. Keith was driving to his work shift but was not in a rush. As a military service member for 18 years, he had it ingrained from military training to arrive early and be ahead. Keith was stopped by a Norfolk police officer shortly after 11:00 p.m. and his life was interrupted. Thankfully the officer didn’t arrest Keith on the spot and take him to jail. Instead, Keith was summoned to appear in Norfolk General District Court and charged with going 116 mph in a 55 mph zone! In Virginia, it is not uncommon for judges to give jail time for...

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November-December 2020 Case Results: Felony Hit and Run, DUI’s and Reckless Driving by Speed Avoided

DISCLAIMER – EACH CASE IS UNIQUE AND CASE RESULTS DEPEND ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL SITUATION. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE LAWYER. Below we feature a sampling of case results for November and December of 2020. We avoided convictions for felony hit and run, driving under the influence (DUI), reckless driving by speed, possession of marijuana, failure to appear in court, no operator's license, and more. Dismissals occurred in cities such as Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Northampton, Accomack, Newport News, Hampton and Suffolk.  Notable cases: Driving Under the Influence (DUI's) avoided on November 30 (Hampton General District Court) and December 2 (Virginia Beach General District Court). Attorney Braden Carroll put on a...

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What is the Mens Rea Required for Reckless Driving? (Cady v. Commonwealth)

(Previously Attorney Louie discussed that just because an accident happened, that should not automatically mean that the driver involved was driving recklessly. Here, Attorney Carroll discusses the mens rea required for reckless driving generally in Virginia.) Cady v. Commonwealth, (Va. Ct. App. Aug. 11, 2020) is a recent Virginia Court of Appeals decision that may provide much more guidance to those charged with Reckless Driving in Virginia. The case was decided by the Court of Appeals on August 11, 2020, and the published opinion contains some great language for Virginia traffic defense attorneys with regards to what level of mens rea, or intent, is required to prove a reckless driving case in a Virginia General District Court. The facts introduced at trial were quite tragic. On...

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September-October 2020 Case Results: DUI, Reckless Driving (105 mph), and Eluding Charges (Felony and Misdemeanor) Avoided

DISCLAIMER – EACH CASE IS UNIQUE AND CASE RESULTS DEPEND ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL SITUATION. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE LAWYER. Below we feature a sampling of case results for September and October of 2020. We avoided reckless driving convictions for a number of high speed cases, involving speeds as high as 105 mph! We avoided convictions for criminal charges such as: DUI, reckless driving by speed, eluding the police (felony) and eluding the police (misdemeanor), no operator's license, and a misdemeanor tunnel height violation in Hampton. Reckless driving dismissals occurred in cities such as Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Suffolk, Southampton, and Hampton.  Notable cases:  September 1, 2020: DUI in Hampton GDC was reduced to a...

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May-August 2020 Case Results: DUI dismissed, Reckless Driving by Speed at 106, Racing, and Aggressive Driving charges avoided

DISCLAIMER – EACH CASE IS UNIQUE AND CASE RESULTS DEPEND ON YOUR INDIVIDUAL SITUATION. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE LAWYER. Below we feature a sampling of case results from when the courts reopened after the Covid-19 closures, through the end of August 2020. We avoided reckless driving convictions for a number of high speed cases involving speeds as high as 106 mph and 99 mph. We avoided convictions for misdemeanor charges such as: racing, DUI, reckless driving by speed, aggressive driving, misdemeanor tunnel height violation, and no insurance. Reckless driving dismissals occurred in cities such as Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Northampton, and Accomack.   Notable...

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Virginia Traffic and Misdemeanor Law Changes, July 1, 2020

You should expect to see these major changes in Virginia Traffic Law and Criminal Law coming soon.Starting July 1, 2020 these Virginia laws change: Reckless Driving Threshold Increased to Driving Above 85 mph - It will still be reckless driving by speed for going 20 mph or more above the speed limit. However, the 80 mph threshold has been increased to 85 mph to take into account the inequity of getting a misdemeanor charge for going 11 mph over the limit in a 70 mph speed zone. Decriminalization of Simple Possession of Marijuana - Simple possession of marijuana will be a civil offense, with a fine of $25. No longer will simple possession of marijuana be a misdemeanor. Possession with intent to distribute is still a crime. Virginia DUI "Any Purpose" Restricted License Option - If you are...

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Deferred Disposition for Intellectual Disabilities

Starting July 1, 2020, Virginia will allow deferred dispositions for those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or an intellectual disability if it is shown by clear and convincing evidence this caused the criminal conduct.Virginia will soon allow deferred dispositions for those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disabilities where there is clear and convincing evidence that the disability caused or had a direct substantial relationship with the criminal conduct. This is allowed for many criminal cases, but not allowed for cases like capital murder, acts of violence, or a crime with a statutory deferred disposition provision already codified. It will not matter if the person charged had previous convictions or deferments. § 19.2-303.6. Deferred disposition in a...

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Unlawful to Hold a Cell Phone While Driving

Starting January 1, 2021, it will be a traffic infraction to hold a cell phone while driving.Starting January 1, 2021, it will be unlawful for any person that is driving to hold a cell phone. There are exceptions to drivers who are parked or stopped, reporting an emergency, driving an emergency vehicles and using a phone for work duties, or drivers using a CB radio. A first offense shall have a fine of $125.00. For subsequent offenses or if the offender was driving in a work zone, the fine will be $250.00. This new law will be codified under Virginia Code § 46.2-818.2 and repeals Virginia Code § 46.2-1078.1. Under § 46.2-1078.1, the law is confusing to enforce because you could use a phone for its GPS or to dial a number but not to read email or send text messages. The new statute makes...

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Virginia DUI “Any Purpose” Restricted License Option

Broader "Any Purpose" Restricted License Option Available for Those Convicted of DUI Starting July 1, 2020If you have been charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) in a General District Court in Virginia, Virginia's law on restricted licenses will change significantly on July 1, 2020. VA Code § 18.2-270.1 deals with ignition interlock and restricted licenses after a DUI conviction. This law was recently amended, and the change gives defendants more options. Formerly, if a defendant was convicted of a first offense DUI, his or her license would be suspended for a period of one year. During that year of suspension, the person could request a “restricted license” that would allow them to drive for a very limited number of purposes (i.e., to and from work; to and from jail and other...

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Driving Under a Suspended License (Mandatory Jail No Longer Required)

As of July 1, 2020, Virginia law will not require mandatory jail time for a 3rd or subsequent Driving Under a Suspended License offense. This means that for all "Driving Under a Suspended License" convictions, jail time will be discretionary. A judge can still give up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. A judge will normally tack on a suspension to your license for the period it was originally suspended (or up to 90 days if the suspension was indefinite). In the past, a judge's hands were tied and he had to give jail of at least 10 days as a mandatory minimum for a 3rd or subsequent offense. This change in the law will allow judges to have more discretion in showing mercy. They will be able to consider factors such as why your license was suspended and where you were...

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