Criminal Law

Illegal Searches 

Criminal Lawyer Law-enforcement officers are meant to enforce the law. This means there are several ways that they can also break the law; the law is not beneath them. There are certain things that constitute illegal searches by police, and it is important to understand what these things are. It is also important to understand when, should you encounter law-enforcement, the search has actually begun. Laws are in place to protect people, and in this…

Appeals Court Affirms Perjury Conviction Despite It Recognizing the Lack of Any Supporting Evidence

In a case that the Court of Appeals of Virginia itself calls “particularly troublesome,” the Court affirmed a Perjury conviction of a man in a case where the Court itself noted that the evidence on the record was insufficient for the conviction.  Really. In this case, Stephen Sutphin was convicted at trial of Perjury and sentenced to four months of active jail time.  He appealed, arguing that the Commonwealth failed to prove some key Common…

Reckless Driving Defendant Avoids Jail by “Turning State’s Evidence”

In an unusual move, a client of ours recently avoided jail on a Reckless Driving case by “turning state’s evidence.” The defendant was charged with Reckless Driving by Speed 106 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone.  The judge in his county has a consistent rule for sentencing in such cases — one day in jail for each mile per hour over 90.  So, for this case, the defendant was facing 16…

Arlington Eliminates Pre-Trial Conferences for DUI Cases.

Reversing a seven-year old policy, the Arlington County General District Court has eliminated its Pre-Trial Conference procedure for DUI cases, effective January 1, 2013. There are three important “take aways”: Discovery — Prior to this change, the Arlington prosecutors offered “open file discovery” at the Pre-Trial Conference.  In the past, this was not available.  We don’t yet know if “open file” will continue now that the conferences are ended. Continuances – These will be routinely…

An Expert Witness Cannot Give Opinions that Go to the Ultimate Fact at Issue in a Case.

An expert witness on BB guns testified at a trial that such guns could cause serious bodily injury or death.  Since the jury was, alone, responsible for answering the question as to whether a BB gun was a “deadly weapon,” this testimony was improper.  The defendant’s conviction of entering a bank with a deadly weapon was reversed by the Court of Appeals of Virginia.  The case was Justiss v. Commonwealth (December 11, 2012).

Scroll to Top