SCRAM part 2: It’s All Your Fault! SCRAM stands for “Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor.” SCRAM measures alcohol that is eliminated through your skin. It usually looks like two, small, black boxes that strap to your ankle. As discussed before, an increasing number of judges in Virginia rely on SCRAM to monitor clients before and, sometimes, after trial. SCRAM is comprised of a fuel cell (like in a preliminary breath test and ignition interlock) and a computer. The problem is ... Read More »
Why do I have to pay Virginia a “License Reinstatement Fee”?
Why do I have to pay a !@#$%^&* Virginia “License Reinstatement Fee” when I don’t even have a Virginia License? We’ve had a ton of these questions lately. Usually at least a couple of the caller’s favorite expletives are inserted as they rehearse all the costs they have already paid for a Virginia DWI: court fines & fees, ASAP & treatment fees, FR-44 insurance fees, and possibly even reimbursement of arrest costs to the city or county that arrested them ... Read More »
SCRAM: Before and After a DWI Conviction in Virginia?
SCRAM – the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor – is becoming more popular in Virginia courts both before and after trial. SCRAM is an alcohol tester that straps on to your lower leg. It typically consists of two black boxes secured by a locking strap. The most common use of SCRAM continues to be as a condition of bond. If you want out of jail before trial – you have to wear SCRAM. While a number of judges across Virginia require ... Read More »
Virginia Debates “Operating” Under the Influence Again
Virginia Debates “Operating” Under the Influence Again Virginia makes it illegal to “drive” or “operate” a motor vehicle while intoxicated. While “drive” is pretty understandable, the definition of “operate” continues to change. The last re-definition was in 2012 when our Supreme Court in Virginia said for the first time that “operate” means (1) keys in the ignition and (2) butt in the driver’s seat. Before that the ignition had to be on. That’s still true if you are parked on ... Read More »
The DWI Exception to the Constitution is Alive & Well
There is no actual DWI exception to our Constitutional rights; however, DWI Attorney Lawrence Taylor popularized the term to describe numerous Supreme Court rulings that act as if there were. (See http://dwimanual.com/our-attorneys/what-motivates-us/ for more.) A number of DWI Attorneys have written excellent blogs about the Navarette case – but a previous Virginia case that was before the Supreme Court showed once again that the DWI Exception to the Constitution is alive and well. Harris v. Commonwealth of Virginia shared a ... Read More »
A Bad Law Turns 30 this July: The 21 Year Old Drinking Age
Our 18 year old children can be sent to fight & die in Afghanistan. Our 18 year old children can marry & sign contracts. But these “children” who can die for their country, and marry for a lifetime, cannot legally drink a beer in Virginia. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act became law July 17, 1984. In fact, Virginia punishes underage consumption of alcohol similar to a DWI. If you are 20 years and 11 months old, holding a can ... Read More »
DUIs are Forever . . . in Virginia
Among the Top 10 Questions that I am asked: “How long will a DUI be on my record?” Virginia makes the answer easy: DUIs are forever. Virginia has no provision to erase or expunge any misdemeanor or felony conviction no matter how much time has passed. It is true that a first or second DUI (both misdemeanors) will only “count” against you as a previous DUI for 10 years, but as of July of 2013 felony DUIs now count against ... Read More »
Loss of Concealed Carry for DWIs in Virginia
While the concealed carry law was NOT changed in Virginia this year, the very long concealed carry section was reorganized into a number of smaller sections. The result: courts are increasingly requiring defendants convicted of DWI to relinquish their concealed carry permits. And this is for people that were NOT carrying while DWI. The penalty for concealed carry while intoxicated is another Class 1 misdemeanor with up to a $2500 fine and a year in jail. Your weapon will also usually be confiscated ... Read More »
Paying Police to Arrest You! A growing trend in Virginia.
You decide to go it alone – skip hiring a DWI defense attorney – and you get convicted of a DWI. You pay a $250 fine that becomes almost $500 with court costs. You pay a $300 entry fee for the Alcohol Safety and Action Program and even more for treatment and classes. You pay $600 to $800 for ignition interlock so that you can begin to drive again. You pay a DMV reinstatement fee. You file for FR44 ... Read More »
New tool to protect your constitutional rights: police mounted video cameras.
The Chesapeake Police Department in Virginia has drastically increased its use of video recording. The TASER Company reported on their website that in April of 2013 that Chesapeake deployed 85 additional AXON Flex cameras. These are small on-officer cameras with multiple mounting options and a 130 degree wide-angle lens. The video quality is surprisingly good. Growing evidence also suggests that the tiny video camera may be surprisingly good at protecting your constitutional rights. Just this year, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ... Read More »