Christianburg Criminal Defense Law Blog

Virginia can be tough on second offenses with marijuana

Despite the fact that much of the country has relaxed the laws surrounding the use and possession of small amount of marijuana for personal medicinal or recreational use -- Virginia is not one of those states.

Furthermore, there is no legal minimum that will net a drug charge -- even the end of a blunt or a few loose leaves can be enough to sustain a marijuana possession charge.

Understanding implied consent and sobriety testing in Virginia

Almost everyone understands the law about alcohol and driving in Virginia. Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking can put other people and yourself at risk for serious, even fatal crashes. Alcohol can lead to poor decision making, increased response time and even issues with staying in your lane.

To reduce the potential social consequences posed by intoxicated driving, Virginia has strict laws in place to penalize those who drive while impaired.

Is it good or bad to refuse a Breathalyzer? Consider this first

If you're pulled over due to a traffic violation and the officer suspects that you've been drinking, you'll probably be asked to take a Breathalyzer test.

A lot of people question whether they should agree or refuse. Before you decide, consider these facts:

Routine traffic stop leads to multiple felony drug charges

Two Virginia residents are behind bars right now after a routine traffic stop led to the discovery of a small amount of drugs.

An officer noticed a "suspicious" car near the exit on a road. The officer asked if he could search the vehicle and the couple agreed.

Could you pass a walk-and-turn sobriety test right now?

If you've never experienced a field sobriety test, this is how one of the main ones is supposed to work. It's called the "walk-and-turn."

  1. You are directed either to the line at the side of the road, a line the officer draws with chalk or maybe just to told to imagine a straight line on the ground. So far, so good?
  2. Next, you need to put one foot on the line with your other foot in front, touching its heel to the toes of your other foot. Got it?
  3. When the officer tells you to start, take nine steps, heels touching toes, without wobbling too hard or putting your arms out like a kid playing "airplane" to balance or stepping off the (possibly imaginary) line. Count each step out loud. Is this starting to sound harder?
  4. On the ninth step, pivot around like you're in a marching band, still balancing, without waving your arms around or hopping. Take nine more identical steps back, again counting each step.

If, by the end of those instructions, you were thinking something along the lines of "I'd fall over and break my neck trying to do that," you aren't alone.

9 tips for partying the smart way at college

The 2017 fall college semester is in full swing -- which means that it won't be long before the weekend parties start.

Nobody is surprised that college students go to parties -- it happens on campuses everywhere in the country. However, there's a right way and a wrong way to party. If you want to blow off a little stress this weekend, follow these nine tips:

  1. Go with friends -- there's safety in numbers. This is particularly important if you're going to a party someplace that isn't familiar.
  2. Don't flash your valuables or cash. You don't need to advertise your wealth at a party. That's a great way to get followed home and robbed.
  3. Designate a lookout. Someone needs to stay sober in case trouble starts. That person's job is to get everybody in your group out the door at the first sign of a fight or other problems.
  4. Take preventive measures. There's a difference between partying a little and getting drunk. Everyone in your group should eat before they go, drink about one drink per hour (at most) and cut themselves off when they feel tipsy.
  5. Ditch the party if drugs start being passed around. You're in the wrong place. If you value your future and don't want to be saddled with a drug conviction for life, get your friends and go find somewhere else to hang out.
  6. Don't leave a friend behind. Make a pact ahead of time that everyone comes home together. If someone happens to meet another student he or she finds interesting, your friend can exchange phone numbers with the other person. Don't ever leave an inebriated friend behind with a stranger!
  7. Virginia takes its drunk and disorderly chargers quite seriously, so consider sharing the fare for Uber or Lyft to get home.
  8. If you must walk home, behave yourselves. You can't be given a drunk and disorderly charge just for smelling like you've been drinking. However, if your group is behaving in a drunken manner, that's enough for a charge.
  9. Have the name and number of an attorney who handles drunk and disorderly conduct charges in your cellphones. If you do encounter the police, politely ask to speak with your attorney before you speak with the officers.

What are the consequences of a drug charge for college students?

You're probably already aware that the consequences of a drug charge conviction can be fairly severe. However, if you're a college student (or a high school student bound for college), the consequences can be beyond anything you ever thought possible -- and it could ruin your life before you even get a chance to get started.

This is what can happen due to a simple drug possession conviction:

  • If you're still in high school, you will likely be suspended. You may also be given a disciplinary transfer to a school that deals with "problem" students.
  • You may lose the recommendation of your guidance counselor or the teachers who know you best. They may even be formally prohibited by the school district from giving you a recommendation -- which is often required for college applications.
  • Your grades may suffer because of the forced transfer. You may not be able to take the same classes or find that the classes you are taking are more advanced than the ones you'd been in at your old school.
  • Your admission to a university or a scholarship can be revoked on a morality clause. Many students don't realize that a university can do such a thing, but it happens often.
  • Whether you are in high school or college, you'll likely be suspended or dismissed from any sports teams. While that could affect your high school transcript and make you less attractive to a prospective college, a college student who is depending on a full or partial athletic scholarship could find himself or herself unable to afford to continue school
  • If you're a college student, your financial aid package is likely to be decimated by a drug conviction. Federal regulations make any student convicted of a drug crime ineligible for federal financial aid. The length of time you're ineligible depends entirely on the type of conviction -- although some students can regain eligibility early if they go through the appropriate treatment program and drug testing.
  • You may lose your ability to live on campus. Some universities are restricting students with criminal records from campus housing -- especially if there's drugs or violence involved.

Selling ADHD medication to your classmates could cost you

College is a time of learning, personal growth and experimentation. Unfortunately for some people, those experiments can end up causing a lot of problems or even putting an end to their college education. Whether you're starting out your first year at Virginia Tech or returning after a restful summer break to continue your college education, you need to remember that actions have consequences that could impact your future.

It can be hard to maintain good grades while working a job, but it can also be difficult to have a social life when you're broke. Some students look for ways other than a part-time job to fund their extracurricular activities. For those who have access to popular stimulant medications, like Adderal, Ritalin, Methylin, Concerta, Metadate, Dexedrine or Focalin, selling those drugs to other students may seem like a great way to make some fast cash. In reality, it's an easy way to derail your education and your future.

4 tips to remember if you've just been arrested

No one starts out for a night on the town planning to get arrested, but it can happen to almost anyone under certain circumstances. If you find yourself in handcuffs and facing a drunk and disorderly conduct charge, keep the following tips in mind:

1. Stop talking.

Do You Know The Consequences Of An Underage Drinking Charge?

When it comes to underage drinking charges, there are a few things that Virginia Tech students and their parents need to be aware of.

First of all, this should not be mistaken for a minor issue. The reality is that a conviction for drinking under the age of 21 can come with serious and long-lasting repercussions that could jeopardize a student's education and ultimately their career path.

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P.O. Box 6126
Christiansburg, VA 24073
Phone: 540-251-1943
Fax: 540-260-3414
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