Can my out of state license be suspended?

This is a question I hear all of the time and the simple answer is “maybe.”

The truth is, that it depends on the charge and on your state in which your license has been issued.

When someone is charged with an offense such as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) / Driving Under the Influenced (DUI), Reckless Driving, Possession of Marijuana,  or Possession of a Controlled Substance the penalty may include a statutory license suspension.

A Virginia judge, however, only has the authority to suspend your privilege to drive in Virginia. A Virginia judge can not take your out of state driver’s license.  He or she can mandate that you are not allowed to drive within the confines of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Be aware that most states are part of the Driver’s License Compact or the Interstate Driver’s License Compact  (  This is an agreement between most states to exchange information regarding DUI, DWI, and other serious traffic offense suspensions.  If your home state is part of the compact, there is a chance that your license will also be suspended in your home state.

Not all convictions and suspensions will transfer or be made known to your home state.

If you are charged with an offense such as Reckless Driving, Driving Under the Influence, Driving While Intoxicated, Possession of Marijuana, or Possession of a Controlled Substance, please contact our office to see how we can help keep you from having your license suspended in Virginia and possibly your home state.

Could I Face Jail Time If I Was Arrested For Reckless Driving In Richmond, Virginia?

When faced with a charge of reckless driving, one question that continually arises from those charged is whether they may face a jail sentence or time if they are taken into custody at the time of their citation. The answer can be complex, and will indeed depend on the specific and particular facts of your case. Much can depend on the jurisdiction (varying counties may have differing laws for the very same charges, such as speeding as an example) as well as the judge and the prosecutor assigned to the case.

A good rule of thumb is that the offense could indeed result in an arrest and subsequent jail time if the offense is considered egregious in some manner. A sample scenario could be driving over 100 miles an hour on a street where the speed limit is designated as 45-50 miles an hour.

As such, someone who is exceeding that limit twice over is very likely to be facing an arrest and resulting jail time, as opposed to someone in that same zone who is speeding at 75 miles an hour (that offender is more likely to receive a citation for doing so. Too, an officer on scene may assess and review other factors, such as whether an offender is intoxicated upon the traffic stop for the speeding (which would invariably result in an additional jail sentence in all likelihood) or if the defendant has an extensive record of previous driving infractions or convictions (a judge reviewing these may well sentence the defendant to jail time in light of these facts).

Hence, a substantial assessment of all the factors of a given traffic stop for reckless driving within Richmond, Virginia and its surrounding areas would be necessary in order to determine whether an arrest and jail time would occur as a consequence.

Because these factors can vary so widely, and because laws between neighboring counties and regions can be interpreted very broadly, consulting with an experienced traffic attorney and a reckless driving lawyer is a must to be sure that the proper response and defense for these charges is being provided to the client to reduce or possibly even avoid jail time altogether.

The law office of Bernstein Hough P.C. has a strong background and a terrific record of success in assisting clients with these charges, and their familiarity with the laws in all counties will ensure that clients may rely on their objective advice and counsel and receive the best possible defense. Be sure to contact our law firm if you are facing an arrest for reckless driving or have already been arrested for such in Richmond, Virginia. Their counsel stand at the ready to help you today!

How do I defend myself against reckless driving charges in Richmond, Va?

When it comes to reckless driving charges, being stopped can be intimidating in and of itself, but having to face further court proceedings and beyond can be scary indeed! To that end, there are a few options to consider if you have been charged with a Richmond, Virginia reckless driving charge.

Clearly, seeking out the services of a qualified and expert reckless driving and traffic attorney can go a long way to a successful outcome for your case, so consulting with one as quickly as possible is extremely key and critical.

In order for the prosecution to prevail, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you have definitely committed the alleged violation, so as such an attorney has several defenses that could be used to refute this type of cases.

Examples of defense strategies can include items such as location, verifying the speeding equipment and its most recent inspection statistics, the calibration of your speedometer in your vehicle, and the radar used by the officer.

Location is a commonly used defense because the conditions of the road could dictate whether such an offense, such as speeding, would even be possible (is it a congested highway or a more rural road?).

Additionally, some cases may occur in an area that abuts two separate and neighboring counties, so if a charge is filed in an incorrect region, it could result in an automatic dismissal of the charges for improper reporting.

A traffic defense attorney may also place the burden of proof on the prosecution to establish that the alleged defendant was actually driving the vehicle at the time of the incident, or that speed zones are not clearly marked within a given locality, which could also result in the dismissal of charges since drivers cannot obey a law they are not able to see and verify on their own!

If you or a loved one have been accused of any reckless driving charges, such as speeding, it’s important to get your case started quickly to ensure that it is handled efficiently and correctly. The law firm of Bernstein Hough, P.C. has caring, competent and experienced attorneys who are prepared to review your particular case, go over the details with you, and prepare the best defense for your case to help spare you further citations, costs, and social embarrassment. Contact Bernstein Hough, P.C. today to get a new start and move forward!

Feds Reach $2 Billion Settlement on Institutionalizing Disabled Virginia

Virginia will shutter four of its five institutions for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and provide community-based services to thousands of people over the next decade as part of an estimated $2 billion settlement reached today with the federal government.

In what an assistant U.S. attorney general described as a “landmark agreement” that will serve as national model, Virginia will add 4,170 new waiver slots to help move people from state training centers to community-based care, and to prevent the institutionalization of people on a waiting list for services.

The agreement follows a years-long Justice Department investigation that started in 2008 by looking into the state’s training centers and expanded in scope in 2010. In February 2011, the Justice Department issued a damaging report that found, among other things, that hundreds of mentally and physically challenged people were languishing in state facilities.

As part of this agreement, through  which Virginia will avoid costly litigation, the state will also greatly expand crisis services and support to help people once they transition into community-based care settings.

“We do have a lot of work ahead of us,” Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel told reporters. “I would not characterize this for our part as a victory lap. But it’s more of a step in the direction of doing what we need to be doing.”

Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights division, said the agreement will bring Virginia into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, provide quality living options and help the state deliver services more cost effectively.

It costs about $216,000 to care for someone in a training center compared with $75,000 on average to serve someone in a community-based setting, Perez said.

Of the $2 billion estimated settlement cost, federal funds will account for $935 million. The state estimates that through savings from closing the facilities, as well as investments made to a trust fund and new waiver slots, the net cost to the state will be $587 million.

That includes about $246 million in federal funds, bringing the general fund obligation to $341 million, according to the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

The General Assembly last year put $30 million into a trust fund to help transition people with intellectual disabilities to community-based care and Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposed adding another $30 million to the fund in his proposed two-year budget.

Currently, 1,018 people live in state training centers that have a capacity of 6,000 according to the McDonnell administration.

A timeline for closing the training centers has the Southside Virginia Training Center in Petersburg slated to close by June 30, 2014, the Northern Virginia Training Center in Fairfax County by June 30, 2015, the Southwestern Virginia Training Center in Hillsville by June 30, 2018, and the Central Virginia Training Center in Lynchburg by June 30, 2020.

The Southeastern Virginia Training Center in Chesapeake will remain open and downsize to 75 beds.

The state will try to help the 3,050 employees at the four training centers that will close find positions at other facilities, agencies or community-based services. The Department of Behavioral Health will work with state lawmakers to determine what to do with the center sites when they become available, according to a spokeswoman.


FBI To Investigage Former Richmond Sheriff’s Deputy

RICHMOND, Va. –Richmond authorities on Thursday withdrew a charge against a former sheriff’s deputy who was accused of assaulting a jail inmate and have handed the case over to federal authorities.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun an investigation of this matter,” said Richmond Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Thorne-Begland. “We have forwarded over our file to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution.”

Dee Rybiski, an FBI spokeswoman, said the misdemeanor assault case against the former Richmond deputy, Jermaine Dove, was referred by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia to the FBI as an alleged civil-rights violation.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, confirmed that the case had been referred to the FBI but declined to comment further and would not discuss the scope of the investigation.

Cary Bowen, a veteran defense attorney who tries federal cases, said the fact that the federal authorities are pursuing an assault case such as this one suggests they might be seeking to see if the incident is part of a pattern at the City Jail.

“Is there a pattern of abuse by deputies at the Richmond City Jail?” Bowen said. “Sometimes the federal authorities take up a civil rights case because they’re concerned that there’s a pattern. And perhaps this is one of those times because there have been other allegations arising out of the jail.”

There have been several situations in the past year that called into question the conduct of some employees or former employees of the Sheriff’s Office, particularly those who work in the city Jail.

In October, two Richmond deputies were indicted on one count each of having carnal knowledge of separate female inmates at the City Jail. Those cases are pending in Richmond Circuit Court.

In September, a Richmond jury returned a $2.4 million verdict against Sheriff C.T. Woody Jr. and the jail’s former chief physician in a wrongful-death case involving a prisoner at the City Jail.

Woody also drew criticism for hiring 12 of his relatives since he was elected in 2005.

And Woody fired one employee and suspended another in October after a prisoner was accidentally released from the jail in September. Soon after the inmate’s release, he robbed the same bank a second time, authorities said.

On Thursday, Judge David Eugene Cheek Sr. of Richmond General District Court withdrew the misdemeanor assault charge against Dove at the request of a Richmond prosecutor.

Dove was accused of assaulting inmate Marquan Lamont Pollard at the jail on Nov. 29.

According to a statement released last month by the Sheriff’s Office, an argument erupted in a jail housing unit between Dove and the prisoner. Dove removed the inmate from his housing unit without an order to do so, which is a violation of jail policy, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Outside the housing unit, the argument turned physical when Dove allegedly struck the inmate with his hand, according to sheriff’s officials. No serious medical attention was needed for either Dove or Pollard, the officials said.

Woody fired Dove as a result of an internal investigation.

Dove and his defense attorney declined to comment after Thursday’s hearing.