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Manassas Virginia Legal Blog

Challenges involved with jailhouse informants

Many factors could lead to a wrongful conviction in Virginia and other states. For example, testimony from jailhouse informants can lead to bad information. The credibility of jailhouse testimony is often called into question because a prisoner might feel compelled to lie in exchange for a reduced sentence. Part of the problem with providing inaccurate information could exist because there are no widespread measures to combat this behavior.

Many states have become concerned with preventing false testimony from jailhouse informants. Some methods involve disclosing deals with informants and sharing an informant's history of testifying in cases. States are also beginning to track the use of jailhouse informers.

When is it possible to change a child support order?

The intent of child support is to provide your children with stability and security long after your divorce is final. This money is to help pay for things like daycare, medical bills, extracurricular activities and more. You understand that it's important to carry your fair share of the financial burden that comes with having children, but what happens if you can no longer afford it?

In some cases, it may be possible to modify the terms of your child support order. There are certain circumstances that may merit this, but you will want to be careful to follow the appropriate steps to change your support order. While a verbal agreement with the other parent is good, there are still things you will want to address to ensure that you protect your rights and interests.

Financial issues to consider during a divorce

Virginia couples who are contemplating divorce may be able to relieve some of the stress associated with worrying about their financial future. Instead of focusing on the unknown, it is better to be realistic and focus on what is currently known. The four categories the couples can focus on include assets, income, liabilities and expenses.

The assets the couple should look at include bank accounts, cash, certificates of deposit, mutual funds, stocks, bonds and real estate investment trusts. The individual who does not work or who makes less money will usually need to use these assets to cover their living expenses. It is good to be aware of the fact that assets have different tax consequences. For example, the wife may keep a money market account that is valued at $100,000. The husband may keep retirement assets that are valued the same. The wife will not have to pay taxes on her assets while the husband may have to pay a tax rate of up to 25%.

High safety ratings do not necessarily mean fewer accidents

Virginia residents who wish to avoid auto accidents often choose vehicles based upon their safety rating. In most cases, automobiles with higher safety ratings are statistically less likely to become involved in an accident. One exception to that rule is the Subaru Crosstrek, which has been given the highest possible safety rating yet is still involved in more accidents than any other vehicle on the road today.

In compiling these statistics, researchers looked at data from Insurify, a company that provides automobile insurance comparisons. They gathered data about recent accidents from consumers who visited the website seeking a quote. In doing so, researchers found that more than 25% of all Crosstreks were involved in accidents. In comparison, all other models combined have an average accident rate of 13.64%.

Why are juveniles wrongfully convicted?

A juvenile convicted of a crime is much more likely to be wrongfully convicted than an adult, according to the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY). The group says young children and teenagers are more likely to be influenced by others, willing to comply and more vulnerable to pressure than adults.

The CWCY says youth under 18 are also less equipped to understand the risks versus potential consequences, are less likely to understand their legal rights and less likely to know how attorneys can help them.

Brake Safety Week scheduled for September 15

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has announced that its 2019 Brake Safety Week inspection spree will take place from September 15 to 21, so truckers and other commercial motor vehicle drivers in Virginia will want to ensure that their brakes are up to specs. During that week, officials will be out on the roads across North America to perform brake inspections at random.

Those who pass will have a CVSA decal put on their trucks, but those who are discovered to have violated braking regulations will be issued an out-of-service order. It should be noted that during the 2018 International Roadcheck, 45% of all out-of-service orders involved a brake-related violation.

Tech can be dangerous for older drivers

Older drivers in Virginia may be more likely to get distracted by the technology features available in their vehicles. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah found that older drivers take longer to complete tasks such as changing a radio station. On average, drivers 55 and older took 8 seconds longer to complete such tasks compared to those aged 36 and younger. This is in spite of the fact that these tools are intended to help all drivers keep their eyes on the road at all times.

Older drivers were more likely to struggle with the complexities of center consoles or issuing voice commands. A representative from AAA said that these struggles were caused by a design flaw that had nothing to do with a driver's age. However, AAA does suggest that drivers practice using touch screens or issuing voice commands before they get on the road.

Fines and fees punish people in poverty

People in poverty in Virginia dealing with the criminal justice system may find themselves further mired in economic disadvantage as a result. Many policies adopted by state and local officials across the country tend to systematically impact poor and marginalized people far more significantly than those of greater means. In particular, many areas rely on court fees and fines to balance the municipal budget. When people cannot pay these fees, the escalating consequences can severely affect people's lives. For example, people face even more costly fees, a damaged credit score or even jail time as a result.

In local jails across the country, people are serving time without having been convicted of a crime. Instead, they have overdue fines or suspended driver's licenses due to unpaid citations. This is one reason why many social justice advocates are working to change laws that disproportionately affect poor Americans. In 1983, the Supreme Court ruled that people could not be jailed for being too poor to pay court fees, but versions of the practice continue in many localities. In some cases, for-profit companies are also involved in the mix. In Oklahoma, counties refer debt collection to a for-profit company that threatens people with arrest if they cannot pay.

Highest DUI fatality rates linked with Fourth of July

Summer always seems to be a bad time for drunk driving in Virginia and elsewhere around the country. On an average summer day in the US, 26 people are killed in DUI-related crashes. It gets worse on the major holidays, though. For example, during the Independence Day weekend in 2017, 184 people died in DUI crashes. In a comparable period of four or five days in the summer, that number came to around 117.

According to data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which is run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, July Fourth is the deadliest holiday involving drunk drivers. From 2010 to 2017, a total of 1,192 people lost their lives in drunk driving crashes. Memorial Day came in second with 1,105 deaths. The fatality rate for Independence Day was 42.4 (that is, 42.4 deaths per day). Thanksgiving and Christmas saw the lowest rate: 27.9 and 27.7 respectively.

Can you recognize warning signs in a dog’s body language?

Being bitten by a dog, especially a dog that is not yours, can be a traumatic experience. Dog bite injuries can be extremely painful, can be prone to infection and can spread nasty diseases like rabies.

Although it is ultimately the dog owner’s responsibility to control the behavior of his or her pet, there are some ways you can help prevent being bitten by someone else’s dog. One way to do this is to pay attention to the body language of any nearby dogs.

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