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Civil Forfeiture Evolves

Both the Federal Government and the Virginia Legislature have recently taken steps to rein in the use of civil forfeiture laws.  Civil forfeiture laws grant law enforcement agencies the authority to seize private property suspected of being used in connection with a crime.  Once seized, law enforcement agencies can keep or sell the property for their own benefit—even if the owner of the property is never charged with a crime.  While a property owner can initiate a lawsuit to prove that property was seized improperly, it is a costly andRead More …


Safe Driving and Happy Holidays!

As the holiday season gets into full swing, police departments across the country are increasing their presence on the roadways. Combined with the stress and the increased traffic of the season, this means that more drivers will end up with tickets for speeding, reckless driving, and various other traffic infractions during the next month. It is important to know that in addition to the negative consequences–for example, DMV points, increased insurance premiums, and fines–of a simple traffic infraction, some tickets are also misdemeanor and felony criminal offenses. In Virginia, recklessRead More …


Enhanced Penalties for Certain Drug Offenses

Earlier this month D.C. voters passed Ballot Initiative 71, legalizing personal use and home cultivation of marijuana. In January, Congress will evaluate the bill as it does for all new D.C. laws. If Congress does not object, the new rules could go into effect early next year. For more on Ballot Initiative 71 and a summary of current Virginia and D.C. marijuana laws and penalties, see our recent blog post here. This post will provide some additional information regarding circumstances that can lead to enhanced penalties for marijuana-related crimes. InRead More …