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Newport News Criminal Law Blog

Never hide assets during a divorce

Divorce is rarely pleasant. After all, not only must you separate from the person you thought you would be with forever, but you may also face a potentially shaky financial future. If you want to improve your economic position, you may think about stashing away marital assets until the divorce concludes. Doing so, though, is a terrible idea. 

In Virginia, marriage is an economic partnership involving both spouses. Upon divorce, each party should receive an equitable share of marital wealth. This approach assumes, of course, that both spouses know about all marital assets. If one spouse hides assets, the other spouse may not receive his or her fair share. The hiding spouse may also face some consequences. 

Police must have reasonable suspicion to stop you for a DWI

If you have had too much to drink before getting behind the wheel, you are potentially putting your life and the lives of others in danger. You also face some harsh legal penalties for driving while impaired. Still, unless you are at a sobriety checkpoint, officers cannot stop your vehicle just to see if your blood alcohol concentration is above Virginia’s 0.08% legal limit. 

The Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally, for officers to search you, arrest you or take your property, they must have probable cause. The legal standard is lower when it comes to vehicular stops. As described in a seminal U.S. Supreme Court case, officers only need reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle. 

Joint accounts could jeopardize your credit after divorce

It's natural for married couples to have joint credit cards, co-sign on auto loans and otherwise mingle credit. Once you decide to divorce, however, untangling your financial lives can become complicated — and even more so if your spouse starts abusing credit lines or failing to pay bills in a timely manner.

Here are several actions you can take to protect your credit from your ex.

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.

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