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Northern Virginia Law Blog

What happens if you're arrested for a DUI in a commercial car?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is dangerous and it's against Virginia law. Individuals who are charged with drunk driving face serious penalties if they're convicted of such a crime. Individuals with commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) are held to even higher standards. They can lose their jobs if they're convicted of a DUI.

Commercial drivers are different from other motorists in that they drive their company's vehicle as part of their job. They can jeopardize their company's reputation and profits if an accident occurs. Plus, commercial vehicles have the potential to cause a lot more damage than a regular passenger car if they're involved in a wreck.

What to do if you’re pulled over for speeding

Speeding is a common violation of the law that can lead to quite a bit of trouble. In addition to a fine, it can also impact your insurance premium. And if you have a poor driving record, it could even result in a license suspension.

Here are the steps you should take if you're pulled over for speeding:

  • Don't wait to move to safety: Acknowledge the officer by putting on your hazard lights, and then slowly move to a safe place, such as a parking lot or the shoulder of the road.
  • Stay in your car: Stay where you are, with your hands on the wheel, until the officer reaches your window. At that point, follow their directions.
  • Don't admit to anything: When the officer asks if you know why you were pulled over, don't say anything that could come across as an admission of guilt.
  • Stay calm: Even if you feel that you shouldn't have received a ticket, stay calm throughout the experience. Letting your emotions get the best of you will only lead to additional complications.

Does your child's education plan reflect their best interests?

If you are the parent of a child with special needs, at some point, it is likely that you will be faced with decisions regarding your child's individualized education plan (IEP). You are undoubtedly your child's best advocate during this process so you definitely want to do all that you can to get it right.

Below are some tips to help you ensure that your child receives the best possible public education they can via their IEP.

Avoid these mistakes when asking for a divorce

As you prepare to ask your spouse for a divorce, you're likely to have concerns about how the conversation will unfold. Even if you do your best to prepare for everything, you may find yourself stuck and wondering what to say next.

Here are three common mistakes that you want to avoid when asking for a divorce:

  • Discussing the details: Even though you'll be tempted to talk about child custody, property division and related matters, you're not likely to be able to do so without causing additional tension.
  • Leaving hope that you won't divorce: If you're 100 percent sure that you want a divorce, don't leave the door open to reconciling. Share your true feelings, remain respectful and move through the conversation as efficiently as possible. Just make sure you are clear that you're not turning back now.
  • Putting your children in the middle: Even though your children will be affected by your divorce, you shouldn't throw them into the middle, such as by threatening to take them and never let your spouse see them again. This isn't healthy for either of you, and can put your children in a difficult spot in the future.

Common traffic violations to protect against

As a driver, you're expected to obey the rules of the road at all times. Neglecting to do so can result in a traffic violation, while also increasing the risk of an accident.

A thorough understanding of the most common traffic violations can help protect you against trouble:

  • Speeding: Every road has a posted speed limit, and it's your job to know what it is. An officer may let you get away with a few miles per hour over the speed limit, but it's not a risk you should take.
  • Running a red light or stop sign: Not only is this a traffic violation, but it increases the risk of an accident at an intersection. For example, if you run a red light in heavy city traffic, there's a chance of striking a vehicle traveling through the intersection.
  • Neglecting to stop for a school bus: When a school bus stops and puts up its sign, you must stay where you are. Passing the bus is a serious traffic violation. Not to mention the fact that it increases the risk of striking a child.
  • Neglecting to stop for pedestrians: You're required by law to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Neglecting to do so is just as dangerous as passing a school bus.

Steps to help prepare your finances for divorce

You have concerns about the divorce process, with many of them tied to your current and future financial circumstances.

Even though your finances are sure to change, there are steps you can take to prepare accordingly and ensure stability during this difficult time.

Avoiding unintended consequences in gray divorce

Older Virginians who decide to divorce often have to contend with more complicated issues than younger couples. This is because older adults frequently have more complex finances than younger people who divorce. Older adults need to be cautious with how they handle property division, spousal support and estate planning during a divorce.

People who are 50 or older when they get divorced will need to be careful about the potential tax consequences that they might face when dividing property. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed, new rules apply to spousal support that people should know. In the past, the spouses who paid alimony could deduct their payments on their taxes. Now, however, the spouses who pay alimony are no longer allowed to deduct their payments, and the recipients do not have to pay taxes on the money that they receive.

Consider these points about moving out of the area after divorce

Child custody arrangements are usually set up with the assumption that the parents live within a reasonable distance of each other. While this is the case for many people, there might be instances in which one parent needs to move out of the area. There likely isn't going to be an issue if the person moving is the non-custodial parent but there can be problems if the parent is the one with whom the children live.

A move that will take the child away from one parent is often considered carefully by the court. Just like when the child custody case was first established, the court will still consider what's best for the children. It doesn't really matter what's best or worst for either parent.

Tips for creating a workable co-parenting schedule

Parents in Virginia who are getting divorced may need to create a parenting plan that addresses how much time their children will spend with each parent. Many courts increasingly encourage parents to try to split their time 50/50 or as close to it as possible. Some parents may assume the best approach to this is for the child to spend alternating weeks with each parent, but there can be some drawbacks to this approach.

Alternating weeks may work well for children who are 12 or older, but for younger children, it can create several different problems. A week is a long time for a young child to be away from a parent, and it could create separation anxiety. Children may be happier with a different type of schedule, and parents may find it easier to work around one that is more flexible.

Studies find women more likely to seek divorce than men

Too little help with housework, no career support and poor communication are among the reasons why women in Virginia may be more likely than men to initiate a divorce. The American Sociological Association found in a 2015 study that almost 70% of divorces were initiated by women.

For many women, marriage simply offers too few benefits. Wives are less dependent on men for financial security than in previous generations, so they are more likely to seek divorce from men who are unfaithful or abusive. Men are generally reliant on their wives for emotional support while the reverse is often not the case as women tend to seek emotional support from a number of different sources.

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