Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’

What is the difference between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

Friday, June 15th, 2018

Felony and misdemeanor crimes are distinguished under Virginia law by the maximum punishment you can receive.

Felonies are crimes punishable by death or imprisonment for more than 12 months. Sentences for Felonies are served in state correctional facilities (prison). Felonies are divided into six classes, with MAXIMUM punishments as follows:
Class 1 Felony: Death, if certain circumstances exist; or life imprisonment and/or $100,000 fine
Class 2 Felony: 20 years to life imprisonment and/or $100,000 fine
Class 3 Felony: 5-20 years imprisonment and/or $100,000 fine
Class 4 Felony: 2-10 years imprisonment and/or $100,000 fine
Class 5 Felony: 1-10 years imprisonment or 12 months in jail and/or $2,500 fine
Class 6 Felony: 1-5 years imprisonment or 12 months in jail and/or $2,500 fine

Misdemeanors are crimes punishable by no more than 12 months in jail. Jail sentences for misdemeanors are served at local facilities (county or regional jails). Misdemeanors are divided into four classes, with MAXIMUM punishments as follows:
Class 1 Misdemeanor: 12 months in jail; $2,500 fine
Class 2 Misdemeanor: 6 months in jail, $1,000 fine
Class 3 Misdemeanor: $500 fine
Class 4 Misdemeanor: $250 fine

As you can see, there is a big difference between a Misdemeanor and a Felony and there is also a big difference in the maximum sentence between different classes of crimes.

If you have been charged with a crime, you should consider getting legal assistance.

You can contact Beavers Law, P.C. by calling our office at 757-234-4650 or by visiting us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com

Can my criminal record be expunged?

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

I’ve had a couple of phone calls in the past few weeks from people who want to have their records expunged.  Both of these were for petty larceny convictions which started as felony shoplifting.  The person took the advice of their friends and pled guilty, got a small fine, and thought they were off the hook.

Fast forward 8 or 10 years, and these same people now want to rent an apartment.  Surprise! The apartment manager did a criminal background check and found the petty larceny charge.

I had another call from someone who had a brush with the police over 40 years ago and it is now keeping him from getting a job.

Bad credit stays on your credit report for 7 years.  Even a financial judgment or bankruptcy falls off eventually.  In Virginia, criminal convictions stay on your record forever!

But what about an expungement?  An expungement is a civil process by which a record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed, generally after the expiration of time.  Each state has its own process and time frame.  In Virginia the time frame for sealing or destroying record of a criminal conviction is NEVER.  That’s right.  In Virginia, if you are found guilty of a crime, or if you plead guilty to a crime, that criminal record will remain forever and cannot be expunged.

Is there an expungement process in Virginia?  The answer to that is Yes.  But the only way a criminal record can be expunged in Virginia is if the criminal arrest was not finalized by a guilty verdict in any form.

So, if you were arrested but never tried; or if you were arrested and tried but found not guilty, then the expungement process might help you get that arrest off of your record.

But, if there was a guilty plea, or the Judge found that there was evidence sufficient to find you guilty, the charge cannot be expunged.  This happens even if you have a deferred or first offender status disposition that results in a dismissal after you do whatever you are ordered to do (usually a class of some sort and a period of time during which you get no new charges).

And if you are arrested for anything, it is always a good idea to get an attorney.  You may not be aware of all of the consequences that can keep coming back to haunt even you years later!

You can contact Beavers Law, P.C. by calling our office at 757-234-4650 or by visiting us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com

How long does it take to get divorced?

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

I get this question a lot.

People call and ask if they can get divorced in three days (I guess there are places where that can happen, but it is NOT in Virginia!).

A quick, easy, painless divorce in Virginia is almost impossible, but you can help things move more quickly if you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse can agree on things. Even with a ‘simple’ no-property, no children and non-contested divorce, the courts will require a separation of at least six months. Why? Because the Commonwealth of Virginia thinks that marriage is a very serious commitment and leaving a marriage is a very serious decision.

Another question I get is whether or not a ‘better’ attorney can make things go faster? The answer is ‘not really’.

There are certain procedures that must be followed, and some of these take time. There might be a way to reduce this time if possible, but that really takes a lot of agreement between the parties. And if the parties could agree with each other, the chances are that they wouldn’t be in the process of needing (or wanting) a divorce!

I’ve also found that ‘non contested’ divorces have a way of turning into ‘contested’ situations. Which means that the ‘simple’ case often turns into a more complex case as things progress.

I’ve heard of divorce cases that dragged on for 10 years, although this is definitely NOT the norm!

So, how long does it take to get divorced? I’d plan on a minimum of six months from the date you make the decision to the date of the final decree. And that’s if things all go as well as they can.  It may be a little faster than this, but you should always plan on a few ‘hiccups’ along the way.

You can contact Beavers Law, P.C. by calling our office at 757-234-4650 or by visiting us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com

What’s in a name?

Monday, January 8th, 2018

I have a name. Actually, I have lots of names. Kristina Beavers, Mom, Grandma Kris, and maybe some I don’t even know about. I’ve also had a last name when I was a child, and different last names when I was married to prior husbands.

A name is how people identify you. And it’s also how you often identify yourself.

So, what do you name your child when he or she is born? We all struggle over the first and possibly middle names, but did you know that you can also select a last name? And, no, that last name doesn’t need to be the same as the father, or the mother. What this means is that Susie Baker, who is married to Tom Taylor can have a child and name her Jane Smith. (note that these names are as samples only and not an indication of any real persons).

Is this a good idea? I don’t really think so. For one thing, people may assume that you and the child have the same last name. That can make things very confusing when meeting people from your child’s school. That can also cause problems when you sign permission slips for school trips or when you take your children on trips yourself.

I’ve even had clients that gave their children a last name that didn’t match the last name of either parent.  That was a little confusing.

So when you have a child and are thinking of a name, be sure to think about how that name might cause problems for you and the child throughout the child’s life.

And if you happen to have a name that you don’t like, you can usually get that name changed legally, but there are some steps that need to be followed.

You can contact Beavers Law, P.C. by calling our office at 757-234-4650 or by visiting us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com

A New Year’s Plan

Monday, January 1st, 2018

The New Year is a great time to make resolutions and set goals.

But goals probably won’t be met unless we also have a plan of how to get there. If we are traveling to DisneyWorld, the goal is to get to the magic kingdom. But we can’t get there unless we know which road to take and calculate how long it will take us to get there. We might need to stay overnight on the way, so we need to find a hotel and make advance reservations. We might be lucky and just find a great hotel at a great price right where we want to stop at the end of the day. But, we might also be unlucky and find that we get tired of driving just after we go through the last town for 100 miles. If we plan ahead, we’ll know for sure that we have a room when and where we want one.

Now is a great time to think about what you want to do in the coming year, and to make the plans to ensure you get what you want.

Are you a young parent who does not yet have a Will or estate plan? Do you know who will take care of your children if anything happens to you?

Or are you an older person who’s children have grown up and are out of the house? Have you updated your will or estate plan to take these changes into account?

Are you thinking about starting a new business this year? do you know what steps you need to go through to get that accomplished?

Has your family life reached the stage that you just can’t stand it any longer? And you want to make sure that you and your children are protected financially?

Are you finally going to purchase that house this year?

One of my personal goals this year is to lose weight (yes, again). This time I have a plan of how to approach it and monthly mini-goals along the way so that I can adjust what I’m doing if it doesn’t seem to be working for me. And I have it on paper so I can touch it and read it every day to make sure I’m on track.

Another goal I have is to make sure that my own estate plan is up to date. My plan includes reviewing my living will to make sure that I haven’t changed my mind about any of my previous decisions. It also includes checking to make sure that any investments I’ve made this past year are included and that things I’ve sold are removed from my trust documents.

I have goals for my business and what I want to accomplish this year. My plan includes pieces on marketing, new subject areas and customer service. And I set milestones for each month so I can check my progress to make sure I’m still going in the right direction.

As you can see, I have lots of goals (and plans) for this new year.

If you need help with any legal aspects of your plans for this new year, call the office at 757-234-4650 and we can set up an appointment to discuss your goals and how to get there.