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Virginia Legal Blog

Awareness event focuses on teen driver safety

Getting a driver’s license is an exciting time for many teenagers, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. Virginia parents and teens alike should understand the risks that teen drivers face, as well as those who share the roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has designated October 20 through 26 as National Teen Driver Safety Week. Motor vehicle accidents kill more teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 in the country than any other factor. In 2017, 2,247 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving a teenage driver. Of these fatalities, 755 were the teen driver.

DUI decrease attributed to new driving simulator

Drunk driving is a factor in one-third of all traffic fatalities in the United States, including Virginia. States are looking for ways to decrease the incidence of drunk driving fatalities, citing ride-sharing services and law enforcement campaigns as examples of measures that may have had some positive effect. 

The West Virginia Beverage Consumption Control Administration is attempting to reach the youngest generation of drivers with a DUI simulator. It realistically mimics the effects that can occur at different levels of intoxication. 

How can you prevent accidents in winter weather?

Winter weather in Virginia can be unpredictably varied, especially in the northern portions of the state. It is entirely possible that you may need to face the hazard of driving in winter weather. Even if you can avoid winter weather in Virginia, your travel plans may take you out of state where snow and ice could potentially pose an even greater threat.

In either case, it is best to be prepared for driving in winter weather. Woman's Day Magazine offers some tips to help you avoid accidents even in the most unfavorable conditions. 

Important estate planning considerations amid divorce

When you marry someone and then create an estate plan, chances are, the person you married will play a key role in that plan. However, certain life events may lead you to reconsider just how much of a say this person has in your personal affairs. If navigating your way through a recent divorce, your estate plan, too, may need to undergo review.

Remember, while your divorce is ongoing, your soon-to-be-ex-husband or wife maintains certain rights over you if you become incapacitated. You may, however, want to reduce or eliminate any control he or she has over you now that you have decided to go your separate ways. Updating your estate plan is a good way to help you accomplish this.

Understanding benefits eligibility after a military divorce

When you live in Virginia and enter into a marriage with a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, you get to take advantage of certain military benefits, among them health care benefits and use of military commissaries. At Madigan and Scott, Inc., we field many questions from clients wondering if they can continue to utilize these services once their marriages end, and we have helped many people leaving military marriages navigate these and other military divorce-related issues.

According to Military.com, unless you are also a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, you will most likely be unable to continue to use the commissary, Tricare health insurance and other military benefits post-divorce, although there is one important exception. If your marriage and your former spouse’s service term meet certain highly specific criteria, you may be able to continue to take advantage of military benefits even after your marriage ends.

Should you fight your traffic ticket?

Virginian residents who get a traffic ticket also have the option of deciding whether or not to contest it. While most people do eventually decide to simply pay the ticket, that isn't the path that you have to follow. However, it is your own unique circumstances that will determine whether contesting your ticket is worthwhile.

FindLaw takes a look at the deciding factors that can come into play when you are trying to choose whether or not to contest your traffic ticket. There is a reason most people don't contest the smaller, less serious tickets like those doled out for parking offenses, after all. Many will do this even if they have evidence to prove that they are in the right. This is because taking time off of work to go to court can actually cost you more than the ticket itself.

Harsher DUI penalties in Virginia due to recent law

In February of this year, the Virginia General Assembly passed a bill that imposes harsher penalties on drivers who cause injuries to others while under the influence. The governor of Virginia subsequently signed the bill into law, which means that it took effect as of July 1st. We at Madigan and Scott know that many citizens may become confused when new legislation goes into effect, and we hope that the following explanation will provide the necessary background to help you to understand how the new law may affect you. 

According to WHSV News, a car crash in 2017 that seriously injured a young girl provided the impetus for the bill. Authorities assert that the driver responsible for the crash was under the influence at the time. A delegate to the General Assembly introduced the bill but gives credit to the girl's family for testifying as to the extent of her injuries during the legislative session earlier this year. The girl's family, on the other hand, credits the delegate for being a catalyst for change. 

The role technology plays in divorce

Severing ties with your spouse may prove more difficult, especially in this technology-driven age. While some of these advances may benefit you during and after divorce, some may prove detrimental.

Understanding the impact of technology on your divorce may help you avoid some of the common pitfalls. Staying away from some behavior may aid in your divorce efforts.

You bought a lemon; what do you do now?

It may have been an honest mistake on the part of the dealer, or it may have been a deliberate attempt to pass off damaged goods. Whatever the circumstances, you bought a car in Virginia that turns out to have been defective, and now you are wondering what to do next. At Madigan and Scott, we know how frustrating this situation can be.

If you bought a lemon, here are some ideas about the next steps you should take. 

Virginia man avoids additional charges with DUI no contest plea

Two men, a 45-year-old passenger and a 40-year-old driver, sustained injury last October in a crash in Roanoke, Virginia. A tractor-trailer struck the side of the SUV in which the two men were riding after the driver of the SUV reportedly failed to yield to a yellow light. As a result, his passenger required hospitalization for approximately five months, one of which he reportedly spent in a coma. Initially, the SUV driver faced charges of felony DUI maiming due to his passenger's injuries in addition to charges of driving while intoxicated.

As the result of an agreement in which the SUV driver pleaded no contest to the DWI, the prosecutors dropped the maiming charge. The court sentenced him to 12 months in custody but suspended 10 months of that time. Subsequently, the SUV driver only needs to serve 60 days of incarceration. Pending the jail's approval of a request from the driver, he may be able to serve his sentence only on weekends. Additional penalties include a 12-month driver's license suspension, a $250 fine and participation in a VASAP program. 

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Madigan and Scott, Inc.
7880 Backlick Road
Suite 2
Springfield, VA 22150

Phone: 703-455-1800
Fax: 703-451-4121
Springfield Family Law Office