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Harrisonburg Virginia Legal Blog

A DUI can leave you struggling financially

More and more states are tightening their drunk driving laws, and Virginia is no exception. In fact, many analysts rank Virginia among the top 20 strictest states for DUI laws, enforcement and penalties.

While you may be able to avoid a long jail sentence for a conviction, you may not be so fortunate to avoid the many related financial ramifications that add up quickly from the time of your arrest.

Did you violate the terms of your probation?

Probation is a chance to serve your sentence for a criminal conviction in your own community instead of behind bars. If you recently received a sentence of probation for drug crimes or other offenses, you may have felt relieved. You now have the opportunity to continue living your life and perhaps rebuilding from the mistakes that resulted in a criminal conviction.

However, going back to your normal life includes living within the restrictions of your probationary terms. In fact, if you violate the terms of your probation, you risk severe consequences.

How does equitable distribution affect your divorce?

When a Harrisonburg area couple is considering a divorce there are many issues that need to be worked through. Some of the most contentious is dividing up assets. Although a divorce is an emotional situation it is important for spouses to understand how asset division works in Virginia.

In Virginia, there is equitable distribution of assets in a divorce situation. In many cases a couple is able to divide the assets in an amicable way. If the court has to get involved splitting the assets the court will divide the property into marital property and separate property. Marital property includes property acquired by either spouse during the marriage and property that has both names on the title. Separate property may include property acquired before the marriage that has been kept separate, an inheritance one spouse received, among others. The courts will then decide how the property will be divided based on the length of the marriage, contributions of both spouses to the family, ages of the spouses, circumstances that led to the divorce, among other variables.

Onslow County man arrested on drug charges

Harrisonburg area residents understand that drug crimes are a serious matter. Those who are arrested for a drug crime can face prison time and fines, along with a ruined reputation. The consequences of a drug crime can affect a person for many years.

A Harrisonburg area man was recently arrested and has been charged with numerous drug crimes after a nearly year-long investigation. The Onslow County Sheriff's Office Drug Enforcement Unit began investigating the man in November 2018 on suspicion of distributing narcotics.

Do you have to be legally separated to get a divorce in?

As many Harrisonburg area couples know, not all marriages last forever. Despite a couple's best intentions, some marriages are just not able to survive. When a divorce becomes imminent a person may wonder if there are certain requirements they need to meet in order for a divorce to happen.

In Virginia, there are two types of divorce a couple can seek. One is a divorce that is at-fault. This is where there is grounds for fault which include a felony conviction, abandonment, adultery, etc. Or there is a no-fault divorce. In order for a no-fault divorce to occur the couple needs to live apart for one year or if there are no minor children, for six months and the couple has reached an agreement regarding property division and spousal support. It can be helpful for a couple who is separated to draw up a separation agreement that covers financial matters, custody and child support, along with other matters that can be tricky during the separation period.

How the Virginia points system could affect driving records

Harrisonburg area drivers understand that it is almost impossible to drive safely every minute behind the wheel. No matter the best intentions a driver may have, slipping up once in a while happens. But, if that one mistake ends in a conviction for a reckless driving traffic violation in our state, it can have a negative effect on their driving record.

The State of Virginia uses a points system to rate drivers. If a person is convicted of a traffic violation, they can receive negative points. A driver can lose 3, 4 or 6 points, depending on the violation. A loss of 6 points is for a reckless driving conviction, DUI, driving on a suspended license or speeding at more than 20 mph over the speed limit. A loss of 4 points is 10-19 mph over the speed limit, and a loss of 3 points is improper driving and failing to observe a highway sign.

College student in trouble with the law? Know your rights

When a Virginia college student is facing criminal charges, there is a lot at stake. In addition to the potential for a conviction of a crime, other important factors are at stake as well. If you are a young student who is in trouble with the law, you understand the need to take quick action to build a strong and intentional defense strategy. Part of this will be to know your rights, particularly when dealing with campus police.

When you know your rights, you will be in a better position to defend yourself in the event that you are under investigation, facing questioning or even placed under arrest while in college. Of course, it is not always easy to determine exactly what your rights may be, which is why it is beneficial to have legal guidance. With help, you can defend yourself and protect your long-term interests.

What happens if your former partner refuses to pay child support?

After your divorce, you probably experienced many financial changes. The end of a marriage will require adjustments, which is why you may depend on the child support payments you are supposed to receive from your ex-spouse. That money goes a long way in helping you care for your child's needs, including daycare, health care and more. 

It is more than just a little frustrating to find that your ex-spouse no longer wants to pay child support. This is a direct threat on your own financial well-being as well as the well-being of your child. If you are no longer receiving the support mandated in your child support agreement, you have options. It may be possible to pursue an enforcement of the child support order that could compel the other parent to pay.

Divorce when one spouse doesn't want it

When a Virginia couple gets married, most do so with the intention that their marriage will last forever. Although this romantic notion does happen for some couples, many end up filing for divorce. Divorce is an emotional affair, and it does not always go as expected. If one person does not want a divorce, for example, it could complicate matters.

When one spouse wants a divorce, the other spouse may not be on the same page. Even if one spouse does not want a divorce the divorce can still happen in Virginia. There are two categories of divorce here.

If you leave the family home, is it considered abandonment?

No matter how good a marriage may seem, not all couples are happy. Many marriages in the Harrisonburg area end in divorce. When a marriage appears to be heading towards separation it is common for one spouse to leave the family home. But, does that count as abandonment?

A successful accusation of abandonment in Virginia can depend on several factors but it generally involves what one person's intent was. If a spouse comes home and finds the house almost empty with no kids or animals around it could show that the other spouse wants a divorce. The action of emptying the house and taking the kids could be evidence of abandonment. But if a couple have discussed divorce and are separating then leaving the house is not desertion. The person leaving is not leaving to cause the divorce but is leaving because the separation has already happened. And, couples who have children are required to be separated for 12 months while those without children are required to separate for 6 months.

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