Prince George Judge Passed Away New Year's Day

Authorities responded to Prince George Courthouse for reports of an unresponsive man on New Year's Day. They arrived to find the body of Judge Nathan Curtis Lee in his office.  Foul play was not suspected, and Wednesday a medical examiner determined suicide was the cause of death. Prince George County Courthouse will be closed Friday, January 6 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to allow employees to attend the memorial service. Click here to see the obituary.

Department of Justice Agrees License Supension Unconstitutional

After 30 days of nonpayment of court costs and/or fines, Virginia courts will notify the DMV who immediately suspend the defendant's license without any notice or investigation of their own. The Department of Justice has agreed with a lawsuit deeming this mandatory license suspension for unpaid court costs unconstitutional. Last year alone, one in six licensed drivers in Virginia had their license suspended due to unpaid court costs and/or fines for traffic and non-traffic related offense. By automatically suspending ones license for failure to make payment, the court is denying an individuals right to due process. Automatic suspensions deny individuals living in poverty the right to establish inability to pay. It also does not take into account many other situations. Some examples of the problematic nature of this policy include: those who were incapacitated during the allocated time period, those who simply did not receive notice, or simple clerical errors. At this time a hearing has not been scheduled or held nor has the court ruled in favor of either side. The Department of Justice has just agreed with the plaintiff's brief.    The full brief can be found here.

May Kicks off Motorcycle Awarness Month

This month kicks off the beginning of Motorcycle Awareness Month. In 2015, fatal accidents involving motorcycles were down 9% from 2014, in Virginia. Still, 70 lives were lost last year in crashes involving motorcycles. Governor Terry McAuliffe, kicked off Motorcycle Awareness Month by encouraging all motorist to drive with caution and emphasizing the importance of all motorcycle riders and automobile drivers, alike,  to share the responsibility for safety. This means eliminating all distractions while driving and always checking twice for motorcyclist. It is also important to remember, due to motorcycle's size, in comparison to a vehicle , they are often much closer than they appear.

For more safety tips, please check out this link.

 

Virginia Can No Longer Ticket Vehicles Awaiting Inspection

expired inspection sticker, Viriginia Traffic Attorney, 

Last fall, a story out of Fairfax, Virginia, gained a lot of attention because numerous vehicles were being ticket for expired inspection stickers, while they waited at the shop for inspection. One mechanic grew so frustrated, with the number of cars being ticketed on his lot, he snatched a ticket out of an officers hand and was later arrested. (Check out this link for that story.) On Wednesday, Governor Terry McAullife passed a bill to ensure vehicles awaiting inspection are safe from being ticketed. The bill states:

The following shall be exempt from inspection as required by § 46.2-1157:...12. Motor vehicles, trailers, or semitrailers, after the expiration of a period fixed for the inspection thereof, operated over the most direct route between the place where such vehicle is kept or garaged and an official inspection station or (ii) parked on a highway and that have been submitted for a motor vehicle safety inspection to an official inspection station, for the purpose of having the same inspected pursuant to a prior appointment with such station.

Check out this link for the full story.

Looks Like Richmond Will be Getting a New Judge

Richmond traffic court Judge Birdie Hariston Jamison is one of five judges who will not be reappointed and she has a lot to say about it. Judge Jamison believes this is due to attorneys disliking her strict rulings and not accepting plea deals in DUI cases. By unanimous vote,  Jamison will be replaced by 43 year old, Richmond lawyer and chairwomen of Venture Richmond, Jaquline McClenney.  Check out this link for the full story. 

Judge Jamison (left), Ms. McClenny (right) Photo courtesy of Richmond Free Press

Judge Jamison (left), Ms. McClenny (right)

Photo courtesy of Richmond Free Press

Fairfax Tickets Cars for Expired Inspection While They Are Parked At Repair Shops

Fairfax County has been ticketing cars with expired inspection stickers while they wait for service at repair shops. One shop estimates over $60,000 in fines and fees over the past 6 years. Some shops are paying for these costs out of pocket to keep customers. Another shop owner ended up in a confrontation with the officer. He was charged with felony assault on an officer when he snatched a ticket out of her hand. The charges were later dismissed after an appeal and a jury almost immediately found him `not guilty.' Click here for the full story.

Turn Around, Don't Drown

It only takes 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car. Two feet of rushing water can sweep away almost any vehicle. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over half of all flood related deaths occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood waters. Check out this video from the National Weather Service to see how quickly flood waters can sweep your car away and for more safety information.

Virginia State Police Urge Drivers to Stay Safe as Joaquin Approaches

Motorists Reminded to Drive to Save Lives... How to stay safe with the potential for more rain, storms and floodwaters:

•Use your headlights! State law requires headlights on when windshield wipers are activated. Plus, the headlights make you more visible to other drivers when visibility is limited in a heavy downpour.

•Slow your speed to safely navigate inclement road and weather conditions.

•Turn Around. Don’t Drown. – Never drive through standing water. What looks like a puddle can be deep and swift-moving water, so don’t risk it. Turn around and find another, safer route to your destination.

•Always buckle up.

•Never drive distracted.

Dial 511 for Road Conditions. Reserve 911 and #77 for emergencies calls only.

 

Information courtesy of Virginia State Police's Facebook Page

Redskins RGIII's Father Serving Jail Time in VA for Speeding

Redskins quarter back, Robert Griffin III is going to have one less fan on the sideline in the coming weeks. This after his father,  Robert Griffin Jr. was unsuccessful in fighting a traffic and order to serve ten days in jail. All of which, will be served over consecutive weekends. On August 2, Robert Griffin Jr. was charged with Excessive Speeding for driving 115mph in a 60mph zone on I64 in the Hampton Roads area.  Check out this link for the full story.

 

Newsoms Police Department Disbanned in Southampton, Virgina

By a unanimous vote the town of Newsoms decided to dissolve the town’s police department on October 8. Also they agreed to place Police Chief Jeffery McKenney on paid administrative leave until then, terminate the employment of Lt. Jerry Studer with cause and accept the resignation of former Mayor Kenneth Wayne Cooke. This resulted in everything from firearms to keys to patrol cars having to be immediately turned over. Councilwoman Judith Rose and Councilman Joseph Stewart both had planned to resign but had a change of heart. Rose stated she decided to stay because it is the only way she can change what happens in the future. Stewart decided to stay stating “I’m going to remain on the council and do my darnedest to pull through for this town.” There is speculation over what started all this, but Rose believes it was when she asked Stewart to confront Chief McKenny regarding him drinking and driving with a loaded firearm on his hip.  So far countless cases have been thrown out as Chief McKenney has been deemed to not be a credible witness and "un-insurable."

 

Check out this article for more information.

 

School Bus Stop Safety. Help Keep Children Safe

Many Virginia schools start in early September and classes continue through mid to late June. Please watch for school buses and children walking to/from school. Check out the link below for some helpful information regarding what to do when you encounter a stopped school bus.

http://mychesterfieldschools.com/blog/most-students-in-chesterfield-county-ride-the-bus/

 

Budge Ammendment Puts Brakes on Speed Trap

Taking advantage of a two-mile stretch of Interstate 295 that passes through the city, the Hopewell Sheriff’s Department issues about 1,000 speeding tickets a month, according to AAA, the advocacy group for motorists. It says the speed trap generates over $1.8 million annually for city government.

But a state budget amendment approved by the General Assembly would help curb such practices by Hopewell and other localities, AAA says. The amendment reduces the financial incentive for local police to write excessive numbers of tickets.

Read the full article here:

http://rvanews.com/news/budget-amendment-puts-brakes-on-speed-traps/122830?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS+Readership&utm_source=RVANews+Daily+Digest&utm_campaign=629336dae5-Daily+Digest&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e6aa693e7c-629336dae5-391752881&mc_cid=629336dae5&mc_eid=bdd0555298

The True Cost of Speeding in Virginia After Insurance Increases

The following article contains important information pertaining to the average costs of a speeding ticket in Virginia.  It discusses the cities in Virginia that charge the most for a speeding violation and also what you can do about it as well.

Please click on the link below to read the full article. 

http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/2014/07/20/true-cost-speeding-ticket-virginia-va-insurance/

*Source: www.nerdwallet.com  By John Kuo on July 20, 2014

Virginia Lawmakers Consider Raising Reckless Driving Limit

A House of Delegates panel approved legislation 14-5 Tuesday that would raise the threshold of reckless driving from 80 mph to 85 mph.  The bill’s sponsor, said there’s an “illogical juxtaposition” in current law that allows for a driver to be charged with reckless driving for going 11 mph over on an interstate with a limit of 70 mph, but that speeders in residential neighborhoods can go 19 mph over the limit and come away with only a speeding ticket.  Drivers may decide to pre-pay the ticket and not realize that they have plead Guilty to a Class 1 Misdemeanor, only to later discover that they now have a charge on their criminal record.  The opponents of this bill, believe that by raising Reckless Driving to 85 mph, it will encourage drivers to speed.  They may believe that it is okay to go faster, because they will only get a speeding ticket.  The bill was referred to another House committee for consideration. 

See the full story here; http://washington.cbslocal.com/2015/01/20/va-lawmakers-consider-raising-reckless-driving-limit/

National Right Fielder, Jayson Werth Found Guilty of Reckless Driving in Virginia

Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth was found guilty of reckless driving in Fairfax, Virginia recently.  Werth was pulled over the morning of July 6, 2014 for driving 105 mph in a 55-mph zone.  He was sentenced Friday, December 5th, to serve 10 days in jail, with another 170 days suspended. Werth's driver's license also was suspended for six months, and he was fined $1,000.  For the full story, please click below.

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Nationals-Right-Fielder-Jayson-Werth-Found-Guilty-of-Reckless-Driving-in-Virginia-284892741.html