Are you facing jail time or a loss of security clearance because of a criminal charge? Were you injured in an accident? Get the answers you need to protect your rights.

Attorney Kyle G. Manikas has compiled a list of the some of the most frequently asked questions in response to the overwhelming number of people who either: face criminal chargers (DUI, reckless driving, and other offenses) OR were injured in a car or motorcycle accident and need help in Fairfax County or Northern Virginia. If you are one of these people, read on to learn how to protect your legal rights.
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  • What is the Basic Analysis of a Virginia DUI case?

    There are many issues that can come up in drunk driving case.  DUI defense is a technical and constantly changing area of the law. However, at the core of any analysis, are three main issues: (1) Was there reasonable suspicion for the stop? (2) Was there probable cause for the arrest? (3) Is there proof beyond a reasonable doubt? Each of these issues has been separately written about on this site and the links are provided below.      

    Analysis of a Virginia DUI Case

    Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt of DUI in Virginia

    The final stage of the analysis is "reasonable doubt" - which is the ultimate standard in any criminal case and requires a weighing of all of the facts and circumstances in the case.  Any cruiser or body cam footage will be critical in this analysis. 

    Seek a Fairfax DUI Attorney to Analyze Your Fairfax DUI

    Call 703-556-0004 or use the Contact Us box to schedule a free consultation with Fairfax Virginia DUI DWI Defense Lawyer.  We will analyze your Fairfax case from the perspective of a former Fairfax County prosecutor who has an inside understanding of the Fairfax system you will face.    

  • What Are the Different Forms of Reckless Driving in Virginia?

    There are many different forms of reckless driving in Virginia. About 16 to be exact.  However, the two most common forms of reckless driving cited in Fairfax County are reckless speeding (under 46.2-862) and reckless driving general (under 46.2-852).

    Reckless Driving Speeding In Fairfax Virginia

    Virginia Code Section 46.2-862 provides that "A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth: (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit or (ii) in excess of eighty miles per hour regardless of the applicable maximum speed limit." As you can see, there is no requirement that the driver actually endanger anyone.  Nor is there any requirement that the driver has knowledge of their speed, or intend to drive at that speed.  This is what is know as a "strict liability" crime.          

    Reckless Driving Geneal in Fairfax Virginia

    Virginia Code Section 46.2-852 is another type of reckless driving. Under Section 46.2-852, the prosecutor must prove that the driver: (1) drove in a manner so as to endanger life, limb or property of another or (2) that the driver disregarded the consequences of their actions and displayed an indifference to the safety of life, limb or property.  This version gets charged if there has been an accident, falling asleep at the wheel, or other driving involving careless or dangerous driving behavior.

    Other Versions of Virginia Reckless Driving

    Other types of reckless driving include:

    • Improperly passing a stopped school bus (Virginia Code Section 46.2-859)
    • Driving at speeds too fast for traffic conditions, regardless of the speed limit (Virginia Code Section 46.2-861)
    • Reckless driving in a parking lot (Virginia Code Section 46.2-864)
    • Failing to give a proper turning or stopping signal (Virginia Code Section 46.2-860)
    • Driving with faulty brakes and driving while vehicle not under proper control (Virginia Code Section 46.2-853)
    • Overtaking, passing or failing to yield to an emergency vehicle (Virginia Code 
Section 46.2-829)
    • Racing (Virginia Code Section 46.2-865)
    • Passing a vehicle at a crest of a hill, on a curve or on a grade (Virginia Code Section 46.2-854)
    • Overloaded vehicle such as to obstruct or interfere with driver's control or view (Virginia Code Section 46.2-855)
    • Overtaking or passing another vehicle at a railroad grade crossing (Virginia Code Section 46.2-858)
    • Failing to yield right-of-way to other vehicles when merging onto highway (Virginia Code Section 46.2-863)
    • Passing two other vehicles side by side (Virginia Code Section 46.2-856)
    • Driving a vehicle two abreast in a single lane (Virginia Code Section 46.2-857)
    • Aggressive driving (Virginia Code Section 46.2-868.1)

    Seek the Assistance of a Reckless Driving Defense Lawyer

    Call 703-556-0004 or use the Contact Us box to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with former Fairfax County prosecutor and Fairfax Virginia reckless driving speeding and reckless general defense lawyer that has handled 1000's of cases on both sides of the system in Fairfax County. 

    We will analyze your Fairfax case from the perspective of a former prosecutor who has an inside understanding of the Fairfax system you face.    

  • What Process Takes Place After I am Charged with DWI in Fairfax County?

    After you are charged with DUI/DWI (drunk driving) in Fairfax County you will be given a court date.  In Fairfax County, this is used to be a trial date.  However, the system has been greatly modified.  Now, your initial court date is an arraignment. 

    Arraignment for DWI/DUI in Fairfax County

    At the arraignment in Fairfax County, the judge will advise you of the nature of the charges you face.  The judge will advise you that you need to hire an attorney.  The judge will then set another court date in about 7 days for you to come back to court with proof that you hired a lawyer.  This is called an IAD or Information on Attorney Date.

    You must appear at these hearings if you have not hired a lawyer.  They are a condition of your bond, even if you were released on personal recognizance bond.  If you fail to appear, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest and a additional criminal charge for Failure to Appear will be authorized.  

    However, if you hire a lawyer before the arraignment, both the arraignment and IAD hearings are waived and removed from the docket.  You will not need to appear.  The court will simply set the first "real" court date about 2 months out.  This is an adjudicatory date.   

    Your First "Real" Court Date for DWI/DUI in Fairfax

    Your first "real" or adjudicatory date in Fairfax County is scheduled for discovery.  The officer will be there, but the prosecutor is not required to have the breath machine operator or any other witness there. Rather, this is an opportunity for the prosecutor to provide a copy of the cruiser video and body cam footage, if there is such footage, and other details of the event.

    After discovery is provided, the case will be continued to one of the officer's pre-set court dates one to two months out.  At that hearing, the case will either come to a negotiated resolution or proceed to trial.    

    Consultation with a Fairfax DWI & DUI Lawyer

    If you have been charged with DWI or DUI in Fairfax County, you need to speak with an attorney that has significant expertise in DUI law and the jurisdiction where you are charged - Fairfax County. 

    To talk with a former Fairfax County prosecutor and Fairfax Virginia DUI DWI Defense Lawyer that has handheld many cases on both sides of the system in Fairfax, call 703-556-0004 or use the Contact Us page to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

    We will analyze your Fairfax case from the perspective of a former Fairfax County prosecutor who has an inside understanding of the Fairfax system you face.    

  • Will a Reckless Driving Result in the Loss of My Security Clearance?

    One of the most common questions we receive from clients that work for the government or a government contractor to the Department of Defense (DOD), CIA, or other government agency, is whether their reckless driving case will cause them to lose their government security clearance.  

    There are really two separate questions at play:  will the clearance itself be revoked, and if not, will access to a particular site or building be lost. 

    Loss of Security Clearance from Virginia Reckless Driving Charge  

    The government determines both initial and continued eligibility for a security clearance under the Adjudication Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information, which were issued pursuant to Executive Order 12968. 

    The 13 Adjudication Guideline Categories:

    • Allegiance to the United States
    • Foreign Influence
    • Foreign Preference
    • Sexual Behavior
    • Personal Conduct
    • Financial Considerations
    • Alcohol Consumption
    • Drug Involvement
    • Psychological Conditions
    • Criminal Conduct
    • Handling Protected Information
    • Outside Activities
    • Misuse of Information Technology

    For each of the above categories, there is a 2-part inquiry – (1) identification of what concerning information exists with respect to a particular applicant, and (2) what mitigating factors are present in a person’s life to balance against the potentially disqualifying information.

    Balancing Test Applied to Review Clearance

    When someone is charged with a crime, the adjudicator must make a determination whether that the person continues to be an acceptable security risk by engaging in this balancing test.  When this balancing shows evidence of unreliability or untrustworthiness, the person’s ability to work in a secure environment and have access to classified information can be curtailed or revoked.

    Loss of Building Access

    Sometimes a clearance may be unaffected, but access to a particular building may require the absence of any criminal convictions.  In this situation, a person would no longer be able to go to their place of employment if convicted.  If this is in fact the case, it is important to document this as it is something that may help, along with other mitigating evidence, convince a prosecutor or judge to reduce your case to a non-criminal/non-reckless infraction. 

    Be Aware of Your Disclosure Requirements

    It is also critical for you to know what your particular disclosure requirements are.  Merely being charged can often trigger disclosure requirements on your part.  Sometimes the act of not disclosing a pending charge can be more damaging than the underlying offense itself because it is looked upon as an act of dishonesty.

    The best approach is to make every attempt to avoid the criminal conviction.   

    Contact a Fairfax Reckless Driving Attorney For Help

    If you have a security clearance and have been charged with reckless driving or other offense, contact Manikas Law by calling 703-556-0004 or using our Contact Us page to schedule a consultation.  Kyle Manikas, a Fairfax Virginia Reckless Driving Defense Lawyer will analyze your Fairfax reckless driving case from the perspective of a former prosecutor who has an inside understanding of the Fairfax system you will face.

  • How Should I Document the Injuries from my Virginia Car Accident?

    As part of any Virginia car, motorcycle, or truck accident case, you must prove, among other things, that you sustained injuries.  This proof often comes in the form of medical records and testimony from your doctors and medical providers.  While your primary focus must be on getting better, there are some general guidelines you can follow that will help ensure that your injuries are accurately and fully documented so that they can later be substantiated.  

    Follow Your Doctor's Instructions

    First, it is absolutely critical that you follow your doctor’s instructions and treatment recommendations.  Do not stop seeing any of your doctors or following their instructions until they expressly advise you to do so and you are discharged from further treatment. This issue is addressed more thoroughly in a separate article on this site which you should read.  Failure to follow your doctor's advice can harm you and your case.

    Fully Report All of Your Pains, Symptoms, and Difficulties to Your Doctors

    Second, always tell your doctor about all of your complaints, pains, symptoms, difficulties, etc.  If you do not report your pain or other symptoms, they will not be recorded in your medical record.  If they are not in your medical record the other side will later argue that they did not exist.  Do not minimize your ailments to your doctors.  Be honest, complete, and detailed in your report to your doctor.  A doctor must know these things in order to properly treat you.   

    Keep Records & Record Details

    Third, keep your own detailed and complete records of: (1) hospital, doctor, drug, and other medical bills, (2) lost time and wages, and (3) other losses directly resulting from your injury.

    Fourth, if your injury requires a cast, a brace, traction, or other appliance, save it or take photographs of it.

    Fifth, keep a notebook or diary of how you are affected on a daily basis as a result of your injuries.  Record what you feel in terms of pain and how the injuries affect your everyday life.  These small details are extremely important and you may not remember them a year later as accurately and completely as you experienced them if you do not write them down now.

    Let a Fairfax Car Accident Lawyer Help You 

    Contact us today for a free case evaluation. To speak with a Virginia personal injury & car accident lawyer about your accident case in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia, contact Manikas Law calling 703-556-0004, or use the Contact Us box at the bottom of this page to tell us about your case.

  • Can I still hold the other driver responsible for my injuries even though they didn’t get charged with a traffic offense?

    Yes, absolutely.  Even if someone has not been charged by the police with committing a traffic offense or criminal offense (like drunk driving, speeding, or reckless driving) they can still be held liable for your injuries in Virginia. 

    Civil negligence law (which is how a car accident injury case is pursued on your behalf) and criminal/traffic law are two separate areas of law.  A person can avoid being charged with a crime or traffic infraction (or end up being charged, but be found “not guilty” by a judge) and still be held liable in a civil negligence case.  To prove a civil negligence claim 4 things must be proven by your Northern Virginia Car Accident Lawyer.

    How a Virginia Car Accident Case is Proven

    1. The other driver owed you a duty of care – generally all drivers owe other drivers the duty to drive safely and obey traffic laws.  However, the duty owed in any given case is the degree to which a reasonable person should have been watchful and cautions in the specific set of circumstances in your case.
    2. The driver breached this duty – by not driving as a reasonable person would have under the specific circumstances at issue.
    3. The breach of duty caused your injuries – the accident must be the direct cause of your injuries.
    4. You suffered damages – you must have suffered some level of damages as a result of the injuries.     

    Violation of a Virginia Traffic Law is Not Required, But Can Be Helpful

    These 4 elements can be established even if the other driver did not get charged with violating the law.  However, if the other driver did get charged and pleads “guilty” in traffic court, it can relieve you of having to prove certain aspects of your case. 

    Also, if the other driver violated a statute, ordinance, or regulation, even if he or she was not charged for it, it can constitute something called negligence per se.  This legal principle applies if:  (i) you are a member of a class of people the statute, ordinance, or administrative regulation is intended to protect and (ii) the harm that occurred was the same type of harm which the statute, ordinance, or administrative regulation was designed to protect against.  

    With negligence per se, the standard of care is determined by the statute or ordinance.  Unlike ordinary negligence, a person claiming negligence per se need not prove that a reasonable person should have acted differently than the other driver did.  The conduct is automatically considered negligent.

    Let a Fairfax Car Accident Lawyer Assist You 

    Contact us today for a free case evaluation. To speak with a Fairfax Virginia personal injury & car accident lawyer about your case and how to recover compensation in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia, contact Manikas Law by calling 703-556-0004, or use the Contact Us box at the bottom of this page to tell us about your case.

  • After arresting me, did the police officer need to read me my Miranda rights?

    When you are a suspect in a crime or have been arrested, you have important constitutional rights to protect you from illegal searches and seizures of property, illegal arrests, and much more. One important right you have is to be given your Miranda warnings in certain situations. Although this is a basic right you have by law, some police officers don't always follow it.

    When Is a Miranda Warning Required in Virginia?

    Officers are required to give Miranda warnings when two specific conditions are met: 

    1. You are in "custody"
    2. There's an interrogation, or some form of questioning that one could reasonably expect to lead to an incriminating response 

    Both conditions must be present before Miranda warnings are required. Therefore, you can be questioned by the police before being taken into custody, and anything you say at that point can be used against you later in court.

    What is considered custody is much broader than formal arrest and is defined by hundreds of legal opinions from state and federal courts.  Those legal opinions also set forth a number of exceptions to the Miranda requirement.

    What Are Your Miranda Rights in Virginia?

    If Miranda is required, you must be informed of certain constitutional rights before the interrogation begins. Those rights include being informed of the following:

    • That you have a right to remain silent
    • That anything you say can and will be used against you
    • That you have a right to speak to an attorney and to have an attorney present when you are questioned

    If Miranda warnings are required, but not read, your statement may be inadmissible if your attorney files and successfully argues the appropriate motion.  However, a Miranda violation normally doesn't invalidate the arrest. Rather, it deprives the prosecutors of the use of your statement in proving their case.

    Even if the police read you your Miranda rights, they can still violate your rights by not allowing you to enforce these important protections. For example, if the police continue to talk to you or ask you questions after you invoke your right to remain quiet or to request an attorney, this could be a violation that may result in your statements being suppressed.

    Have a Fairfax Criminal Defense Lawyer Analyze Your Case

    Are you a suspect in a criminal investigation or been charged with a crime? Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with a Fairfax Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer to learn what you can expect in your criminal proceeding and how our experienced legal team can help you reach the best possible outcome.

  • Can I get an expungement of my criminal record?

    A criminal record can have long-term consequences on your life, including your ability to obtain a professional license, employment, and housing. Accordingly, it makes sense that you would want your criminal record expunged as soon as possible. However, expungement is not a right, and you can only obtain an expungement in very limited circumstances in Virginia.

    What Is an Expungement in Virginia?

    Expungement is the legal process of removing all records of your arrest and criminal charge from public access. When an expungement is granted, information relating the the offense that is on your criminal record with the NCIC is removed or sealed.  Additionally, all court records are destroyed and sealed, and any records of the police department and the prosecutors office are destroyed.  

    An expungement may also give you the right to treat the offense as if it didn't occur in answering questions on applications.  However, the federal government (including immigration authorities) always have the right to ask about expunged offenses because federal law is supreme over state law.

    When Can You Expunge a Criminal Offense in Virginia?

    Adult criminal records expungement is extremely limited in Virginia. Convictions can never be expunged under current law. However, if you were not convicted, you may be eligible for expungement in these situations:

    • You pled not guilty and were acquitted (found "not guilty") of the charges by a judge or jury.
    • You were charged with contempt of court in a civil case but were acquitted.
    • You are the defendant in a criminal case where the prosecutor decides not to prosecute and abandons all charges—usually through a motion for nolle prosequi (nolle pros)
    • Your name or identity was stolen and used in another crime.
    • You were convicted of a crime but received an absolute pardon.
    • You charge was dismiss as part of n accord and satisfaction.
    • You were charged with a crime, but the offense was amended to a different charge and the new charge is different in nature than the original charge.

    If you entered a court program (such as the 251 program for drug possession or the OAR program for petit larceny) where you did community service and had to meet other requirements to get your case dismissed, then the case is only expungeable if you did not "stipulate" that the facts were sufficient for conviction when you entered the deal.  The only way to know this is to examine the court order.

    Given that Virginia doesn't allow the expungement of any convictions for any reason at any time, the time to challenge the charge is now.  While it may not be possible for everyone to get their charges dismissed, the only opportunity you have is to fight the charge or have it reduced is now. 

    Fairfax Virginia Expungement Lawyer

    If you need to seek an expungement or have been charged with a crime, call our office today at 703-556-0004 or use the Contact Us box to schedule a free consultation with a Fairfax Virginia Expungement and Criminal Defense Lawyer. Learn how our experienced criminal defense team can help you build your defense.

  • What Will Happen to My License if I am Convicted of DWI/DUI in Virginia?

    The answer to this question depends largely on the facts and circumstances of your individual case, including your blood alcohol level, whether it is a first or subsequent offense, and whether there are any aggravating circumstances present.  

    License Suspension for First Offense DUI in Virginia

    If the case is a standard DWI/DUI, with a BAC below .15, generally your license will be suspended for 12 months; however, the Fairfax County or Northern Virginia judge will most likely grant restricted driving privileges that cover driving to and from school, work, medical appointments, etc.
     
    Unfortunately, judges do not have complete discretion to grant any driving privileges you ask for.  The categories of driving that can be authorized under a restricted license are set by the Virginia Code and judges have no authority to go outside the bounds the legislature has established.  
     
    For higher BACs on a first offense, the judge may require that you start ASAP and receive a favorable evaluation before authorizing a restricted license.  If you have a high BAC, you should speak to our office because there may be things you can do in advance of court to help assure your restricted license is granted immediately if you are convicted.  

    License Suspension for Second Offense DUI in Virginia

    Second offense DUI (within 10 years of the offense date of the first DUI) requires a 36 month license loss.  However, you are not eligible to receive a restricted license right away.  If it is a second offense within five years of the first offense, you must wait at least one year after your conviction date on the second offense before you can apply for a restricted license.  If you are convicted of a second offense within 10 years of the first, you must wait four months after the conviction of your second offense to apply for a restricted license,.  
     
    Of course, this information is just the starting point for analysis.  If your case involved aggravating factors, such as an accident, the judge may decide that he will not grant a restricted license at all.  Restricted license applications are granted in the sole discretion of the judge.  Moreover, in Virginia if you are granted a restricted license, installation of an interlock device is a mandatory precondition to driving on the restricted license.  
     

    A Fairfax DUI Lawyer Can Help with License Suspension

    An experienced Fairfax Virginia DUI/DWI Defense Lawyer can evaluate the specific facts of your case and better advise you concerning your situation.  Contact our office for a consultation at 703-556-0004 or by using the Contact Us box.  

  • What Will Happen If I Get Caught Driving In Violation of The License Suspension I Received in My DWI Case In Virginia?

    If you are convicted of DUI or DWI in Fairfax Virginia, your license will be suspended for one year if the DUI or DWI is a first offense or three years if it is a second offense.  If you are not granted a restricted license or you drive outside the terms of your restricted license, two things will occur if you are caught driving:  
    • (1) You will be charged with a violation of Virginia Code Section 18.2-272 and
    • (2) ASAP will file a probation violation with the judge that heard your original DUI/DWI case.  

    What does this mean?

    A 18.2-272 Charge Will Be Issued 

    With respect to the new charge under 18.2-272, you are facing up to one year in jail, a $2,500 fine, and an additional 12 month loss of license with no possibility of obtaining a restricted license (the law specifically provides that that are no restricted privileges for the 1 year loss of license on an 18.2-272 violation). 
     
    Driving in violation of a license that was revoked or restricted in a DWI or DUI case is an offense that is taken very seriously by Fairfax & Northern Virginia judges and prosecutors. In fact, you are facing more significant consequences then you were when you were initially facing only a DWI charge.  While the offense of driving on a revoked driver’s license is most commonly charged under Va. Code 18.2-272, it can also be charged as Va. Code 46.2-301 or 46.2-300. If certain other factors are present, the offense can be charged as a felony under 46.2-391. This offense is punishable, among other things, by up to 5 years in prison with a 1 year mandatory minimum jail sentence.

    A Probation Violation Will be Filed 

    With respect to the probation violation, you are facing the complete revocation of your restricted driving privileges for the remainder of the term of the original DUI/DWI suspension and imposition of all the jail time and fine that was suspended under the terms of your original DUI/DWI conviction.  Why? The reason is that when the judge convicted you of DUI/DWI, he suspended jail time and a fine conditioned on your general good behavior and no further violations of law.  If you are convicted of the new charge, you will have violated that order and the judge will punish you by revoking (imposing) the suspended portion of your jail time, fine and license suspension.  Moreover, you will have violated a direct order of the original sentencing judge and, as you can imagine, that is not a good thing when you appear before that same judge to answer why. The consequences are significant and and can be much harsher than your original DUI/DWI.  
     

    Fairfax Driving on Revoked & Suspended Lawyer

    Given the consequences of a conviction under 18.2-272 or 46.2-301, it is critical that any defenses or possible reductions be explored before a conviction occurs.  Contact our office today at 703-556-0004 or by using the Contact Us box to schedule a consultation with a Fairfax Virginia DUI Driving on Revoked or Suspended Defense Lawyer.