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Laws in Virginia have changed for some criminal matters

There are some new laws that went into effect in Virginia on July 1, 2017. While some of these laws don't apply to everyone, knowing how they change the legal landscape is important just in case you find yourself having to face one of these issues.

First, the new laws increase the penalties that you face if you are charged with battery on a hospital or medical employee. This applies only to employees of a medical facility that renders emergency medical care.

Second, the penalty for refusing to allow your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage has changed. There isn't a penalty for refusing a blood test to determine your BAC; however, you can face a penalty if you refuse to take a breath test to determine your BAC. This is true on your second refusal in 10 years. The law also places a search warrant for a blood BAC test over other legal matters.

Third, adults who are convicted of marijuana possession won't automatically face a driver's license suspension. Instead, they can opt to complete 50 hours of community service and any other penalties imposed by the court. Any juvenile who is convicted of marijuana possession will still face the six-month driver's license suspension.

Fourth, being charged with assault or battery on a household member or family member means that you are facing a first offender status.

It is important that you remember these points if you are facing any of the applicable charges. It can be difficult to keep up with changing laws, so make sure that you are basing your decisions on the most current version of the laws as they apply to your case.

Source: CBS 6, "Get familiar with new Virginia laws that go into effect July 1, 2017," Alix Bryan, June 29, 2017

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