What is a Sentencing Hearing?

A sentencing hearing is a separate proceeding from the traditionally known courtroom trial (where an individual is deemed guilty and convicted of a crime) and may be better understood as the punishment portion of the trial process. What happens at a sentencing hearing? In Virginia, sentencing hearings tend to follow the same specific process.  First, the Commonwealth is permitted to …

Juvenile Traffic Violations: Who is considered a “minor”?

In Virginia, minors are persons under the age of 18 years old. Is a minor treated differently than an adult if he/she gets a traffic ticket? Yes.  Since minors in Virginia initially possess provisional driver’s licenses, there are additional punishments that may be imposed by the court if the minor is found guilty of a traffic violation.  There are also …

Imprisonment and Your Social Security Benefits

What is the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits? Social Security disability insurance benefits (SSD or SSDI) and Social Security retirement benefits are only available for individuals that have paid into the Social Security system.  These benefits are funded through past contributions taken out of your wages by your employer over the lifetime of your …

Imprisonment & Military Benefits

Do I get to keep my military benefits if my spouse or I are incarcerated? The continuation of your benefits will be determined by the type of military benefits you receive and the reason for your incarceration. Do my military disability payments continue? Most disability payments will continue during your incarceration at a reduced rate if you have been sentenced …

What is Child Support & How Do I Get It?

Child support is the monetary obligation that a noncustodial parent/responsible party (parent who does not have physical custody of their child) pays to the parent who does (custodial parent).  In Virginia, both parents are financially responsible for the child, but the law presumes that the parent with whom the child is living provides for many of the child’s financial needs, …

Do You REALLY Need an Attorney During a Divorce?

While it is possible to pursue a divorce without an attorney to represent you, legal issues involving family and children can often get heated, and complex, even out of control, very quickly. An experienced family law attorney can typically foresee and warn you about potential complications that often occur to better prepare you to avoid problems or to respond positively to those …

Don’t give them a reason to stop you.

Now, I don’t mind defending my criminal clients–in fact, that’s what I do. BUT, I do have a suggestion for you that may save you a lot of time and money: Take the Dangling Object off of your Car Mirror! I have had several cases lately in which the only “reasonable suspicion” for the traffic stop (required before the officer …

I Never Thought I’d be Getting a Divorce – What Do I Do Now?

Getting a divorce involves a radical re-framing of life for most people. For years perhaps, you have been planning a future with your spouse — and a divorce changes ALL of those plans in one single day. It is normal to have feelings of loss, or to be bombarded by new and unfamiliar emotions during a divorce. Yep, even for …

Can My Spouse Claim Retirement Benefits in a Divorce?

When you’re getting a divorce, you may wonder if your spouse has a claim on any of your retirement benefits. Or you may hope that you can claim a share of the family’s retirement benefits because you did not factor a divorce into your life plan until recently, and you have been counting on those benefits for your retirement.  For …

The Most Important Rule to Remember When Stopped by Police

Your Mother might be upset with me, but your tendency to be honest and to respect authority is your worst enemy when you are stopped by the police!! (I will tell you below why not talking to police is neither dishonest nor disrespectful . . . It is simply your right as an American.) I know; you have heard me …