MacDowell Law Group, P.C.

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Fairfax Legal Blog

How do I challenge a breathalyzer test when needed?

Breathalyzers tests are a piece of evidence that accused drivers can challenge in a variety of different ways. A breathalyzer test may be used as a key piece of evidence against the accused driver which is why it is essential for accused drivers to be familiar with how to challenge a breathalyzer test.

To begin with, it may be possible to challenge the Breathalyzer test on the basis that it is unreliable. Breathalyzer tests must be properly calibrated in order to produce reliable results. If the breathalyzer test was not properly calibrated or maintained at regular and set intervals prior to use, it may be possible to challenge the reliability of the breathalyzer test and the results of that test as part of a DUI defense.

You can ask the courts to change your Virginia child support

When the courts set the final terms for child custody and support in your divorce, they issue a final decree in the form of a court order. Many people view these documents as legally binding and permanent, but that isn't always the case. While any court order is legally binding and requires compliance from its subjects, it is possible to change court orders if the circumstances in your life also change.

The child support that the courts ordered may no longer be reasonable or even feasible when your income or employment situation changes. If the income of your ex increases or if you change how much time you spend with the children, those factors could also influence your obligation to pay child support.

Guiding divorcing couples through their property division process

Property division during divorce can feel overwhelming which is why it is important for divorcing couples to keep in mind that the family law process provides legal resources to help guide them through the process of dividing their property. In some circumstances, divorcing couples are dividing a lifetime of property they have acquired together so understanding basic property division principles can help guide them through the property division process.

It is always helpful for divorcing couples to be prepared to negotiate a property settlement agreement between themselves whenever possible. The divorcing couple is in a better position to determine how property should be divided than the family law court, however, the family law court can help divorcing couples who cannot work out their property division concerns with a property division settlement. It can be less costly, acrimonious and time-consuming if the divorcing couple is able to resolve their concerns together which is true of most divorce-related concerns divorcing couples will need to resolve.

What are felony charges?

Because felony criminal charges are some of the most serious criminal charges accused individuals can face, it is important to be familiar with what they are. In short, it is best to think of felony charges as the most serious types of criminal charges in the criminal justice system. As a result, they require a strong criminal defense.

Felony charges can be distinguished from misdemeanor charges that, while serious, are considered less serious than felony charges. Felony charges are typically punishable by more stiff prison sentences of a year or greater in prison and steep fines. Misdemeanor charges, on the other hand, are typically punishable by a year or less in jail and fines that may still be significant but not as much as those associated with felony criminal offenses. In some instances, individuals facing misdemeanor charges may not ending up facing jail time at all but may be required to complete community service instead.

The staggering impacts of brain injuries for victims

Brain injuries can take an obvious toll on victims but some of the toll a brain injury can take on victims and their families is less obvious. Brain injuries can have an extensive impact on victims, their families, communities and society as a whole and the physical, financial and emotional costs to victims and others can be staggering.

Because brain injuries can sometimes initially be difficult to spot, brain injury victims and their families should know what to watch for. The symptoms of a brain injury can include numbness; weakness in the limbs; excessive drowsiness; a severe headache; dizziness or loss of vision; slurred speech; vomiting or nausea; and loss of consciousness and confusion. The extensive impact of brain injuries can be disruptive to victims physically and emotionally and may result in mood and personality changes as well.

Crafting a strong defense to DUI charges

Drunk driving penalties can result in serious consequences for Virginia residents. A strong DUI defense strategy is crucial.

In Virginia, drivers may be accused of driving under the influence if they have a blood alcohol content level of 0.08% or above based on a blood, breath or urine test. Drivers may also be accused of drunk driving if a police officer determines through observation that they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A variety of symptoms are evaluated to determine alcohol impairment. Since a DUI accusation may be based on the observations of a police officer, it may also be possible to challenge the officer's observations as part of a DUI defense.

How does Virginia enforce child support orders that go unpaid?

Divorce has a way of shaking up your financial circumstances. You will have to share your debt, as well as your assets, with your ex. Many people find that they have to adjust their expectation regarding their standard of living. In fact, it can be a downright struggle for you to make ends meet in the days immediately following the end of your marriage.

If you have primary custody of the children from your marriage, that can drastically increase the costs of maintaining your household. You will likely be dependent on child support for making ends meet financially. When your ex doesn't pay child support in full, you may have trouble paying rent or getting your kids the supplies they need for school or extracurricular activities.

The importance of the best interests of the child

What is in the best interests of the child is an important family law standard to be familiar with. What is in the best interests of the child guides child custody decision making. Because of this, it is important for divorcing parents to be familiar with.

The focus of child custody determinations is what is in the best interests of the child. This is true whether the family law court is developing a child custody arrangement for the divorcing parents or if the parents are negotiating a child custody arrangement between themselves. It is important that any child custody arrangement arrived at supports and fosters the child's overall well-being including the child's security, happiness, mental health and emotional development.

How are spousal support requests handled during a divorce?

Spousal support is one of the issues divorcing couples may need to resolve when they decide to end their marriage. In Virginia, spousal support is generally awarded only when it is necessary, so it is also useful to be aware of what necessary circumstances might be and when the court commonly awards spousal support.

In Virginia, the family law court may award spousal support during divorce in circumstances when there is a large gap in income between the spouses; when one spouse is not employed; when one spouse has a disability; and typically, when a marriage has been long-term rather than short-term. The nature, amount and duration of spousal support may also be awarded in different ways based on the family law court's evaluation of the request for spousal support.

Search and seizure laws protect Virginians accused of crimes

Criminal defense rights are critical for the protection of individuals accused of crimes. The criminal justice system can be intimidating for accused individuals to deal with, making knowing how to develop a criminal defense strategy vital for accused individuals facing any type of criminal charges.

Both the U.S. Constitution and the Virginia Constitution help protect the rights of individuals accused of crimes. One protection accused individuals enjoy is the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. This applies in circumstances such as traffic stops, arrests and searches of people or places. Authorities must have probable cause to make an arrest or perform a search. Before the accused individual seeks to challenge alleged evidence against them, it may be necessary to challenge how it was collected if police did not follow required search and seizure procedures.

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