What is a DUI? Under Virginia law, “Driving Under the Influence” or “Driving While Intoxicated” (DUI or DWI) means driving or operating a vehicle on a public roadway while under the influence of alcohol and/or any other drugs to a degree which impairs one’s ability to drive or operate a vehicle safely, i.e., intoxicated. See […]

In a criminal case decided earlier this year, Jessie Herald, a man who fathered seven children with six women and who faced several felony and misdemeanor charges in Virginia, accepted a very unconventional plea deal. The Commonwealth allowed him to undergo a vasectomy as part of his probation in exchange for dropping two of his […]

Although many people may think of reckless driving as an ordinary traffic infraction, it is actually a criminal offense and is taken very seriously in Virginia. In fact, there are more than 20 separate statutes in the Virginia Code dealing with various forms of reckless driving. It’s a good idea to be familiar with the […]

Possession with intent to distribute is a serious offense and can carry stiff penalties in Virginia. See Virginia Code Sections 18.2-248 and 18.2-248.1. Depending on your case, you may face mandatory jail time. Are there specific quantities of drugs that will automatically qualify me for an Intent to Distribute charge? No! While you are more likely […]

The Virginia Code prohibits citizens from possessing any controlled substance without a valid prescription. See Virginia Code Section 18.2-250. A number of substances are illegal to possess in Virginia, and they are classified according to schedules in the Virginia Code, with the exception of marijuana. Possession of marijuana is a special category of drug offense, […]

In Virginia, a first-time offender convicted of possession of marijuana has committed a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. A second offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to […]

What is frisking? This article refers to the second half of the term “stop and frisk.” If an officer reasonably suspects that a person is armed and dangerous, he can conduct a quick search or patdown, limited to the person’s outer clothing, for weapons. The legal authority for police officers to search someone’s person comes […]

What is a Terry stop? A Terry stop occurs when a police officer briefly detains a person based on a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot. The term “stop and frisk” (we’ll discuss the frisk in a separate post) comes from the 1968 U.S. Supreme Court case Terry v. Ohio. In this case, the […]