DUI Overview

DUI Overview

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Drugs, and Driving While Drinking and are closely related crimes. They can all mean the same thing: loss of license, stiff fines, embarrassment, and possible mandatory Jail time. See Virginia Drunk Driving Fines and Penalties. Although Driving Under the Influence is a relatively common crime, few people are familiar with their rights and how to protect themselves in such a situation. Driving under the influence, referred to as, “drunk driving,” describes operating a motor vehicle while one’s blood alcohol content is above the legal limit set by Virginia statutes, which supposedly is the level at which a person cannot drive safely. What does .08 mean? The Virginia Code sets the legal limit at .08 for adults and .02 for persons under 21. This means 8/100ths to one-tenth of one percent by weight of alcohol to the weight of blood. This is translated into grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood in tests of blood or urine sample, or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of air in a “breathalyzer” test.   There are many variables to take into consideration, such as an individual’s metabolism, food consumption, and the time period over which alcohol is consumed. This chart should not be used for determining how much alcohol one can consume before safely engaging in such activities as operating a motor vehicle. What is considered DUI? A combination of the use of alcohol and narcotics can also be considered “under the influence” based on erratic driving. Driving on private property such as a parking lot is no drunk driving defense, but sitting in a...
Felony Process

Felony Process

Felonies are very serious charges – more so than misdemeanors or violations.  They range from Grand Larceny to Homicide.  There are six classes of Felonies in Virginia, which define the severity of the charge. Class 1 felonies are the most serious, while class 6 felonies are the least serious, although any felony can tarnish a criminal record.  There are also Unclassified Felonies that have individualistic punishments that are usually listed in the statutory section of the charge. It’s complicated stuff, felonies. To know exactly what you are facing, you need a lawyer with experience.  David Steidle is the person who can help you.  Contact the Steidle Law Firm to help you sort through the process. If you want to see the penalties for each class, refer to Virginia Code Section 18.2-10 (for example, Class 1 felonies are punishable by death, while Class 6 felonies can get you 1-5 years in prison). Let’s get down to the felony process. If you are charged with a felony WHAT HAPPENS?? The 10 stages to the felony process: Arrest Magistrate Appearance Arraignment Discovery for Preliminary Hearing Preliminary Hearing Preparation Preliminary Hearing Grand Jury Discovery Trial Preparation Trial Here’s a breakdown of what each step means. Stage 1:  Arrest This stage is when a police officer arrests you and charges you with the Felony Charge.  The Officer may arrest you on the scene of the alleged crime or may seek you out to arrest you based on someone else’s allegations that you committed a Felony. It is very important how the Officer conducts him or herself during the arrest phase.  Any statements you make to the Officer may be used against...
Assault 101

Assault 101

“A peanut walked down an alleyway. It was a salted.” Many people don’t quite know exactly what assault it. People throw around the word flippantly without understanding its true meaning. Here are a few things you might want to know about assault. Assault: Putting a person in fear of a battery That’s right. You do not have to even touch someone to be charged with and convicted of assault.  All that is required is that someone else fears that you are going to touch them in a harmful or offensive way. Here are some situations that might be considered assault: Raising a fist to someone Charging at someone on a bicycle or in a car or Approaching someone with a weapon. There is one situation that cannot be considered assault: Words alone. The words must be accompanied with threatening action to be considered assault. What happens if I’m convicted of assault? If the Judge determines that there is sufficient evidence to convict you of Assault, the range of punishment can be anywhere from: having the matter taken under advisement ordering no contact with the victim twelve months in Jail a $2,500 fine. Why do I always hear “Assault and Battery”? Remember the definition of assault? Assault: Putting a person in fear of a battery The definition of battery is usually called “assault and battery”, and it is an unwanted, harmful or offensive touching. Battery is taking Assault one step further.  It is the actual touching or hitting of another person. Here are some situations that might be considered assault and battery: Raising a fist to someone and hitting them...
The Misdemeanor Process

The Misdemeanor Process

Criminal and Traffic charges generally fall into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies.  Felonies are more serious and are punishable by imprisonment in the State Prison.  Misdemeanor penalties can range from a simple fine to up to one year in the local Jail.  There are 4 classes of misdemeanors in Virginia, which define the severity of the charge.  Class 1 misdemeanors are more serious, while Class 4 misdemeanors are less serious. Misdemeanors include: traffic offenses such as reckless or improper driving criminal offenses such as assault and battery petit larceny abusive language over the telephone A misdemeanor conviction can cause a person a lot of headache, if not land you in jail.  It can cause you to lose your job and make it very difficult for you to get a good job in the future.  If you or someone you know is charged with a Misdemeanor Offense, you need the help of an experienced defense attorney.  Contact the Steidle Law Firm today! The Six Stages of a Misdemeanor Summons or Warrant Arraignment Discovery Trial Preparation Trial Post Trial Let’s break down each stage for you. Stage 1:  Summons or Warrant Anyone can go to the magistrate’s office and take out a warrant for a criminal or traffic offense.  Sometime people take these charges out for spite.  If someone has taken out a charge against you, there may be some defenses of which you are not aware.  You need to contact the firm, as we have tried thousands of misdemeanor trials and can help you in any situation. A police officer, if he has probable cause to believe an offense took place can give you a summons on the scene...
Sexual Crimes

Sexual Crimes

Disputes involving sexual intercourse and sexual content can be very embarrassing and damaging to your reputation as well as putting you in jail.  Misperceptions and miscommunication involving sex is very common in today’s world.  Every situation is different and if you are charged or think you are going to be charged with a sex crime, you need my help. The Sexual Crimes Glossary: Sexual Assault is the unlawful and offensive touching of someone on their private parts with the intent to arouse oneself sexually.  Sometimes merely touching someone’s buttocks is not enough for a conviction. Prostitution or Solicitation of Prostitutes – Performing sexual acts for money or paying or attempting to pay someone for sex.  Prostitution is one of humanity’s oldest professions and is highly controversial.  In Nevada, controlled prostitution is legal but in Virginia, any type of prostitution is a crime. Prostitution is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and is punishable by Jail and Fines.  It can be very embarrassing and typically is a misunderstanding. Rape – Both men and women can be charged with rape.  Usually it is his word against hers.  Rape is a very serious allegation and there are many defenses to a Rape charge. Statutory Rape is unconsented sex with a minor below the age of 18.  If the child under age 13 is the victim, the State of Virginia dictates he or she shall be guilty of rape. Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor charge can arise from having consensual sex with someone who is between 16 and 17 years old.  A charge such as this can cause a lot of embarrassment and cause someone to lose...