MacDowell Law Group, P.C.

Experienced attorneys, Dedicated to your case.

Serving Northern Virginia
Since 1995

Fairfax Legal Blog

What are field sobriety tests?

A field sobriety test is a set of assessments that law enforcement officials use to determine if individuals are intoxicated. They are often used when police officers stop vehicles and need to determine if drivers are under the influence of alcohol. There are three general assessments that drivers may be subjected to if they are stopped in Virginia.

One of those assessments is the walk and turn test. During this test, a person must walk heel to toe down a straight line. When they reach the end of the line, they must turn around and return. While they walk, a law enforcement officer may watch them to see if they lose their balance or fail to coordinate their body in a normal manner. Like the walk and turn assessment, the second test, the single leg stand, also utilizes police observations to determine if a person is affected by alcohol.

Physical and legal custody are important responsibilities

Child custody is often an important issue when Virginia parents decide to divorce. Individuals who share children may know that they do not want to be in relationships any longer but may not know how to separate their lives while providing their children with what they need. With the help of their family law attorneys, many parents can make responsible decisions about how to share and co-parent their kids with their exes.

Child custody involves two important topics: physical custody and legal custody. Parents can share physical custody, which means that they will each have time when the children live with them in their homes. For some families shared physical custody is harmful or disruptive, and if it serves the best interests of the children the kids may be placed in the sole physical custody of one parent.

Driver negligence may lead to dangerous pedestrian accidents

Spring has arrived in Northern Virginia and more Fairfax residents may be choosing to spend time outdoors as the weather begins to warm. Residents may opt to play with their children outdoors or walk to work as temperatures rise and signs of winter begin to melt away. As they increase their time outside of their homes they may become aware of the dangers that can threaten their safety when they are near roads.

Collisions between cars and pedestrians are unfortunately common and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association estimates that around 5,000 Americans die every year in crashes with cars and other motor vehicles. While pedestrian accidents can happen due to many causes, it is often the case the driver negligence contributes to deadly and injury-causing collisions.

When is it legal for police to enter your home in Virginia?

One of the most common questions people have about their own rights is when police can legally search their home. After all, the Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Over the years, there have been both state and federal court cases that have helped to establish when it is legal for law enforcement to enter your home and when doing so violates your basic civil liberties. Understanding when law enforcement has the legal right to enter your home can help you stand up for your rights and assert yourself during a potentially uncomfortable encounter.

What defenses exist to claims of drug possession?

Any drug charge has the potential to be a serious legal problem for a Virginia resident. Readers are encouraged to use the information provided in this post as a starting point for learning about their criminal defense options to such criminal allegations but are reminded that this post does not offer legal advice. Readers should consult with their attorneys for case-specific strategies for overcoming their legal dilemmas.

A charge of drug possession alleges that a person had on their person or under their control a substance that has been deemed illegal under the law. One of the most basic defenses that an individual may be able to assert is mistake. If a law enforcement official makes an error in the identification of a substance as an illegal drug, then it may be possible for the individual to have their charges dropped.

Important information related to child support in Virginia

Children deserve to receive love and support from both of their parents. That is why the courts may become involved in child support matters when parents choose to end their relationships in divorce. Child support is money that parents pay to ensure that their kids have everything they need to live healthy and happy lives. However, please keep in mind that this family law overview of child support should not be used as legal advice.

When parents go through divorce they will have to resolve where their kids will live. If a child will live permanently with one parent, their noncustodial parent may be required to provide their child with financial assistance so that the burden of paying for the child's costs does not fall solely on the custodial parent. In Virginia child support is calculated based on a set of guidelines and mathematical formulas.

Virginia legislature considers increasing some DUI penalties

Readers of this Fairfax-based legal blog may know that the penalties residents can face for alleged drunk driving charges and accidents are heavy. The loss of one's driving privileges, jail time and fines can all befall a person who is convicted of a DUI charge. Now, though, there is a movement in the Commonwealth to increase the penalties for individuals who are convicted of drunk driving charges that involve accidents and injuries.

At present a person can be charged with a felony if they are allegedly drunk and cause an accident that inflicts significant permanent damage on a victim. A felony charge is not a mandate, but under a new bill proposal it would be. For example, a driver who is allegedly drunk and who causes a victim to suffer significant permanent damage would be charged with a Class 4 felony.

Why do negligence claims focus on "the reasonable person?"

Each day Virginia residents are expected to do their best as they work in their jobs, take care of their families and interact with their communities. They strive to provide themselves and their loved ones with the care and consideration that they require to be successful. However, as humans, many people will make mistakes and cause accidents from time to time that fall outside of their efforts to always be at their best.

These mistakes and accidents are often caused by negligence, which occurs when individuals fail to act reasonably given their circumstances. Personal injury legal claims are often built upon claims of negligence and individuals who assert that others hurt them because of negligence may state that the responsible parties did not act as reasonable people would in their situations.

When should you protect your parenting time?

In the months and years following a divorce, many parents find it difficult to know when to protect their parenting time and when to practice flexibility. Some parents allow too much flexibility in their shared parenting time and miss valuable experiences with their children, while others may not allow for events beyond the other parent's control.

Most parents understand that the time they spend with their children is precious and once it is gone, they cannot replace it. Protecting parenting rights is important, especially if one parent's behavior takes away time from the other parent. Depending on the circumstances and impact on parenting time, bad behavior like this may require the help of the court.

Requirements for a Virginia divorce

In order to file for divorce in Virginia, there are a number of requirements that individuals must meet in order to be able to use the courts of the Commonwealth for their proceedings. This post will explain some of the most relevant issues that individuals will have to confront to get divorced in Virginia, but readers are asked to discuss their own divorce cases with their family law attorneys to get actual legal advice.

First, residency is an important issue that can keep a divorce out of the courts of Virginia. To be eligible to file, a person or their spouse must be a resident of Virginia and living in the Commonwealth for at least six months before the suit to divorce is filed. The failure to meet this requirement may bar a divorce action from occurring.

Email us for a Response

We're Here To Help You

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

MacDowell Law Group, P.C.

Office Location:

10500 Sager Ave
Suite F
Fairfax, VA 22030

Phone: 571-748-5647
Fax: 703-277-2877
Fairfax Law Office Map