Monday, July 12, 2010

Have you been charged with Driving on a Suspended License in the Fredericksburg Area? If you didn't know then you're NOT GUILTY!

Have you or a close family member been charged in the Fredericksburg Area with driving on a suspended license? License suspensions can become effective administratively through the Department of Motor Vehicles. Many of my clients have received this charge and were never notified of the suspension.

For the Commonwealth Attorney to successfully convict a defendant of driving on a suspended license they must prove:

1. The defendant was driving
2. The defendant's license was suspended
3. The defendant had notice of the suspension

If any of these elements are not proved beyond a reasonable doubt by the Commonwealth, then it is likely you will be found not guilty. Just because you have been charged with this crime, you still have a fighting chance.

Driving on suspended is a class 1 misdemeanor which has a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail and a $2500 fine.

If you have never been notified of the suspension, it will be in your best interest to have a Fredericksburg Area Criminal Defense Attorney represent you on your charge of driving on suspended and to present this issue to the court. I have previously represented clients whom are charged with driving on a suspended license in Stafford County, Spotsylvania County, King George County and Fredericksburg. In all of these jurisdictions I have had cases dismissed for lack of notice of the suspension.

If you would like to talk to a Fredericksburg Lawyer about your driving on suspended charge I would be more than happy to speak with you. Feel free to call my cell phone for a free consultation and evaluation of your pending case.

Darren Meyer, Attorney at Law

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fredericksburg Shoplifting Charge? First Offender may be an option for you!

Have you or a close friend been charged with shoplifting in the Fredericksburg Area?

Under Virginia law, shoplifting is defined by the following statute:

§ 18.2-103. Concealing or taking possession of merchandise; altering price tags; transferring goods from one container to another; counseling, etc., another in performance of such acts.

Whoever, without authority, with the intention of converting goods or merchandise to his own or another's use without having paid the full purchase price thereof, or of defrauding the owner of the value of the goods or merchandise, (i) willfully conceals or takes possession of the goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, or (ii) alters the price tag or other price marking on such goods or merchandise, or transfers the goods from one container to another, or (iii) counsels, assists, aids or abets another in the performance of any of the above acts, when the value of the goods or merchandise involved in the offense is less than $200, shall be guilty of petit larceny and, when the value of the goods or merchandise involved in the offense is $200 or more, shall be guilty of grand larceny. The willful concealment of goods or merchandise of any store or other mercantile establishment, while still on the premises thereof, shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to convert and defraud the owner thereof out of the value of the goods or merchandise.

This Virginia law makes it unlawful to take property with the intent to make it your own, to alter a price tag or to help another person commit the crime of shoplifting. Value of the goods will determine whether the charge will be a misdemeanor or a felony. If the value is less than $200, then the charge should be a misdemeanor. If the value of the goods in question is $200 or more, then the charge should be a felony.

If you are charged with shoplifting in the Fredericksburg area you may be asking yourself, "what options do I have?".

In the Fredericksburg area, an option available to many defendants is first offender. Under first offender and with the assistance of a Fredericksburg attorney, the defendant would admit the facts would be sufficient for a finding of guilt. Instead of finding the defendant guilty of the crime, the case would be continued for 6 months. During the 6 month period the defendant shall complete 40 hours of community service, the stop thief program and will be placed on Community Based Probation. The stop thief program is an educational class that teaches the defendant the negative consequences shoplifting has on others. If the defendant successfully completes the requirements the court will dismiss the charge after the 6month probation period. This means that your record will remain clean and the conviction will not follow you forever.

Fredericksburg area shoplifting convictions can have consequences that drastically impact people's lives. The consequences can include losing your job, affecting your ability to gain future employment, affecting your ability to keep or acquire a security clearance, etc.

This option is NOT automatic and is not available to all defendants. The factors taken into consideration include but are not limited to; the defendant's age, education, background, prior criminal history, value of merchandise taken, specific facts of the case, etc.

You will need an experienced and aggressive Fredericksburg Area Criminal Attorney to fight for first offender status. First offender is only available if your attorney can convince the Commonwealth Attorney that your are a qualified and acceptable candidate for this opportunity.

Over the years I have been able to obtain first offender for many clients in the Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania area. If you are charged with shoplifting in Fredericksburg, contact Fredericksburg Area Attorney Darren Meyer for a free consultation.

Darren Meyer, Attorney at Law

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fredericksburg Domestic Assault and Battery and possessing firearms

As a Fredericksburg resident, you may ask yourself, "Am I precluded from possessing a firearm?" It is important that you are well informed because many criminally related firearm charges are felonies in Virginia.

It is clear to most Fredericksburg area residents that a felony conviction will preclude you from possessing a firearm. However, most people do not realize that a Fredericksburg domestic assault and battery conviction will also preclude you from possessing a firearm under Federal Law.

Federal Law - "The amendments prohibit the possession of firearms and ammunition by persons convicted of state or federal misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence and the distribution of firearms and ammunition to such persons. As of the effective date, September 30, 1996, any person convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor may no longer possess a firearm or ammunition."

So even if you have never been convicted of a felony, your gun rights may be affected by a previous domestic assault and battery.

I recently represented a client in Spotsylvania County that was charged with a firearms related felony due to this unknown federal law. Based on negotiations with the Spotsylvania Commonwealth Attorney, I was able to get my client's pending felony firearm charge reduced to a misdemeanor with NO active jail time.

If you have a firearms charge pending in the Fredericksburg area, you will need a local Fredericksburg lawyer to handle your case. Feel free to call my cell phone for a free consultation and evaluation of your pending case.

Darren Meyer, Attorney at Law
(540)840-8470 - Cell

Stafford Reckless Driving Charge and Driver Improvement Clinics

One way a citizen can obtain a Stafford reckless driving charge is by traveling in excess of 20 on a virginia highway. In Virginia, Reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor which can result in 12 months of incarceration and a fine of up to $2500.Driving School may be your way out!

Courts in Stafford County will often order the charge be dismissed or reduced upon the completion of a driver improvement course. This disposition is NOT automatic. A Stafford Court will only agree to this if the speed was not overly aggregious and the defendant has a good driving record. A local Fredericksburg Area and Stafford attorney will be able to bring these positive factor's to the court's attention.

I have found a Driving Improvement Clinic to be an option in the Fredericksburg area jurisdictions and on numerous occasions have convienced the court that this was the proper remedy in many reckless driving cases throughout the years.

If you are looking for a Stafford attorney for a pending reckless driving charge, I will be more than happy to speak with you about the possibility of driving school and the impact it would have on your case.

Darren Meyer, Attorney at Law
(540)840-8470 - Cell