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Virginia Beach Criminal Defense Law Blog

Supreme Court kennels some unwarranted drug-sniffing dog use

Ensuring the sanctity of one's home and one's privacy inside the walls of that home are values that are at the root of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Whether one lives in Virginia Beach or anywhere else in the country, that tenet against illegal searches and seizures by police applies.

Unless authorities have exigent circumstances might indicate the need for police to take action to protect a person, they must obtain a warrant before they start looking for evidence. And recently, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that that restriction applies to the use of drug-sniffing police dogs on private property.

Man let off on DUI charge wants arrest record erased

Laws in most states, including Virginia, don't leave much wiggle room when it comes to penalties for convictions of driving under the influence. Drunk driving is frowned upon to such a degree that many people say that punishments need to be made even stiffer than they already are.

Indeed, the risk a person faces in trying to deal with a DUI charge without the benefit of legal counsel is great. Even just an arrest for DUI can go on your record and result in the loss of driving privileges in some jurisdictions.

23-year-old violent crimes case moving toward retrial

Faced with a 120-day deadline, the state of Virginia is moving ahead with plans to mount a new trial of the suspect in a 1990 slaying. The latest action in the matter involving a violent crime charge of capital murder came today when a Newport News Circuit Court judge appointed two area lawyers to handle the defense in the case.

At the center of the proceeding is David W. Boyce. He has been incarcerated since his conviction of the May 1990 killing Timothy Kurt Askew. According to details of the case, Boyce and Askew were roommates, sharing an efficiency room at a Newport News motel. Askew was found sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in another room at the motel and

Gallon smashing: The next big craze or juvenile crime?

It may be a far cry from more serious charges that a juvenile can face such as being a minor in possession of alcohol, or underage drinking and driving, but it appears to be something worth taking note of. And it apparently got its start in Virginia.

It's called "Gallon Smashing," and it's starting to pop up in homemade videos on the Internet, much to the consternation of business operators and law enforcement officials. What the videos feature are teenagers carrying gallon beverage jugs in the aisles of stores. As they walk, they make like they are taking a tumble.

Unloaded BB gun prompts action by Virginia Beach school

A proliferation of crowd shootings, not the least of which was the Newtown school tragedy, has elevated the issue of gun use and availability to new heights. Virginia Beach is not immune from the effects. We have no specific information regarding whether there's been an increase in the filing of weapons crimes charges in the area, but it's clear that gun issues are top of mind.

The latest evidence of this happened earlier this week outside a Virginia Beach elementary school. Officials at the school have confirmed that a fourth-grade student had brought a BB gun to the bus stop. Apparently, parents must have alerted the school as the bus was on its way to the school because no action was taken until the child stepped off the bus.

Crime lab case shows how human element can threaten justice

In the criminal justice system, the yardstick by which all convictions are supposed to be measured is whether there is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The onus is on the prosecution in Virginia and every other state to provide clear evidence to support such a verdict.

Science, where it can be applied, has come to be a major building block in a lot of prosecution cases. But that science is only as good as the people who handle the research, and as one story that is making news these days suggests, sometimes human error, or outright malfeasance, raises more than just reasonable doubt, especially when drug charges are involved.

Firing gun in home yields weapons charge for Virginia Beach man

Gun control is a big topic right now. In the wake of several horrible mass shootings in recent months, efforts have gotten under way in a lot of states of the union to try to firm up the rules and regulations governing gun sales. The debate has even led Vice President Joe Biden to weigh in. He recently recommended that if someone wants to fend off an intruder who may be bent on committing a potentially violent crime, the best thing to do is to "fire a shotgun through the door."

It's not clear whether a Virginia Beach man had that advice in his head during an incident late last month, but he followed it. Now, he's facing a weapons charge.

Diligence in document review apparent door to DUI dismissal

If we have not said it before, let us say it now. While Virginia prosecutors commonly file charges for driving under the influence, that does not mean they automatically result in convictions. Whether the DUI allegation represents a possible repeat offense or is the first one faced by an individual, the burden is on the authorities to follow sometimes complex procedures in the prosecution of a case.

If mistakes are made, which does happen, defendants should not be the ones held accountable. But prosecutors aren't obligated to point out their mistakes, so it may require the practiced eye of an experienced attorney to unearth prosecutorial errors in the cause of presenting a vigorous defense.

Study: Illegal steroid use an issue for girls as well as boys

Worry about illegal drug use by children is a constant issue for caring parents in Virginia. The general availability of illegal substances and the widespread use of some banned materials among celebrity athletes and entertainers keeps the subject top of mind for most adults.

While a lot of the focus is on products like marijuana, methamphetamines and other synthetic drugs, a new study suggests there's another category of drugs that needs to be on the radar. Steroids. It may be too early to be able to say how prevalent steroid use is, but the study indicates that it's just about as common among high school girls as boys. If true, it might be logical to expect an increase in allegations of juvenile crime related to the drugs.

Virginia man's weapons charge plea may reflect best outcome

When a criminal case is handled in the federal system, there are often multiple charges involved. Each one carries significant penalties, including mandatory prison terms, and the unique details of each case demand that rigorous analysis be done to develop the best possible defense strategy. Anyone in the Virginia Beach or greater Tidewater region faced with apparent investigation and possibly being charged should consult an attorney early.

This observation is sparked by a recent news story about a Hampton man who pleaded guilty to federal charges. He is scheduled to learn the specifics of his sentence in May, but according to a news release from the federal prosecutor's office, he is likely to receive years in prison.

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