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Newport News Criminal Law Blog

Social media activity may harm your custody case

Seemingly everyone these days uses some form of social media. In fact, according to the Pew Research Institute, nearly 70% of adults in the United States regularly use Facebook. While social media offers an effective way to engage with the online world, it may cause trouble for your child custody matter. 

As you likely know, you can use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other online platforms in a variety of ways. That is, you may post frequently, comment occasionally or simply read through other users’ content. If you are not careful, though, your online presence may make obtaining custody more difficult. Here are three types of online activity you should probably avoid.

Are federal authorities listening to your phone calls?

A funny meme has been making the rounds on social media. In the meme, users make light of a scenario where an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation listens to every phone call or reads every text message a person sends. While memes are often far from reality, this popular one raises an important question: Are federal authorities listening to your phone calls? 

Federal officers may receive approval to surveil electronic communications in two different situations. First, they may seek a warrant to investigate the communications of individuals in the United States whom they suspect have committed a crime. Alternatively, they may obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to monitor the communications of a foreigner. 

What is probable cause in a criminal case?

Watching any measure of crime TV will introduce you to the term "probable cause." You may hear it concerning a traffic stop or entry into a residence during a tense situation.

Do you understand what constitutes probable cause and when the police can institute it? If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of those words, it will do you good to know how to respond and handle yourself accordingly.

Domestic violence charges may affect child custody

Breaking up is hard to do, and it can make your emotions flare, especially your temper. When you allow your anger to take control, you may find yourself in hot water with the law.

If you get charged with domestic violence, the Virginia family law court may wind up holding it against you. Whether you and your ex have already reached an agreement for custody and parenting time or you just started the process, getting tripped up along the way with a physical assault charge may result in big hurdles to overcome.

What are the typical first-time DUI punishments in Virginia?

Most people are well aware that drunk driving is illegal in Virginia and every other state, but they may not know the details of the law. For example, law enforcement can arrest you on suspicion of DUI if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08%. You can also face charges if there is an open container of alcohol in your car and you show signs of impairment. And those are just a couple of ways to be accused.

Receiving a DUI conviction on your criminal record comes with legal, financial and personal repercussions. Knowing the specific aspects of drunk driving charges can help you be more aware of the issue, make better choices and be ready in case you ever get in trouble with the law. Here are the penalties you can expect for a first DUI offense.

Same-sex stepparent adoption in Virginia: Overcoming challenges

Adopting children can be challenging under the simplest circumstances. For same-sex couples, there may be additional concerns to be aware of.

Although marriage equality is recognized in all 50 states, same-sex couples may still face some discrimination in the courts. This has the potential to complicate many already complex matters, such as stepparent adoption in Virginia. Here is some background information on the subject as it pertains to same-sex marriage.

When can I reduce spousal support payments in Virginia?

Are you paying too much spousal support (traditionally known as alimony)? For some, modifying these orders is a financial necessity. However, having the economic need is not always enough. You would also need to present a formal, convincing argument to a judge.

Apart from situations involving cohabitation, remarriage or death, Virginia courts tend to divide eligible modification cases into two broad categories. If you are feeling like your support payments are unmanageable, it is likely you fall into one or both of these. Please read on for a brief analysis of each category, with some examples.

How child support is calculated in Virginia: Factors and issues

Despite a core process and regulations concerning each step, divorce remains a complicated activity. In theory, it sounds simple to divide property, split time with children and determine how much financial support is necessary.

Unfortunately, most parts of divorce rely on personal circumstances and unique factors. This means that even for aspects with a basic formula, such as child support, deviations are common, making the calculation anything but simple. Understanding how it works in Virginia can help you successfully navigate this complex area.

Three ways to manage high-conflict co-parenting situations

Divorce is a stressful thing. Dividing money, debt and time with children can cause tensions to run high. In some divorces, the conflict never seems to end, with repeat court dates, unsuccessful mediations and hearings keeping the wounds fresh.

High-conflict divorce proceedings can result from bitterness and vindictive feelings but also from normal reactions to very hard situations. Emotional challenges can become inflamed during custody and financial battles. How, then, can you navigate the co-parenting waters in this type of atmosphere? Here are three things you can do to reduce the stress in your family's post-divorce world.

Can a drug conviction impact your financial aid eligibility?

As a college student facing a drug charge, whether for distribution, possession or another type of offense, you may have concerns about potentially having to go to jail. Even if you are able to avoid time behind bars, you may still face substantial fines and substance abuse treatment obligations, among other possible repercussions. You may also encounter consequences from outside the criminal justice system.

A criminal case can affect your education. For example, if you were a recipient of federal financial aid at the time law enforcement officials placed you under arrest for a drug charge, and you are convicted, you can anticipate losing your ability to utilize financial aid for a given time period.

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