Manikas Law August 2019

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August 2019

Criminal & Traffic Defense | Immigration | Personal Injury

A Right to Know An Overview of Virginia’s Law Changes This Summer

Every year, dozens of laws are passed and put into effect by our Virginia legislature, and every citizen has a right to know how these laws will affect them and their families. Unfortunately, laws that went into effect this July have not been widely published. (Even I had to do a little digging to find information!) Ignorance of the law isn’t a defense, yet, when you don’t knowwhat the laws are, you are not given a fair chance. Because of this, I’ve listed some of the latest laws below, including three I believe are some of the biggest items on the docket. 1. Reckless Driving Increases: As of July 1, drivers who fail tomove over or slow down for police, fire, EMS, or other emergency vehicles with flashing lights will be cited for reckless driving. With the addition of this law, Virginia has 16 different forms of reckless driving that motorists can be convicted of, and the penalty can carry a sentence of one year in jail. While this can promote safe driving, it also over-criminalizes mundane mistakes, like going over 80 mph because you neglected to look down at your speedometer for a fewminutes. In fact, reckless driving is one of the most common offenses I defend in court. This charge can be very disheartening for good people who find themselves making a small mistake on the road. It can even limit a person’s job options or volunteering at their kids’school! 2. CBDOil Legalization (HB 1251/SB 726): A practitioner can now issue written permission for a patient to use cannabid oil (CBD) or THC-A oil for any diagnosed condition. Previously, practitioners could

applies to reading emails or texting while driving through a construction zone when workers are present. 2. Reduced Sentencing (HB 188/SB 35): Your sentence can be reduced if you provide information that helps the investigation or prosecution of another individual who was“engaged in an act of violence”or who created and distributed controlled substances or marijuana. Adults convicted of misdemeanor violations for assault and battery and trespassing offenses must now submit their DNA for analysis. 4. Increased Reporting (HB 1266/SB 566): Law enforcement must report any arrests for trespassing or disorderly conduct to the Central Criminal Records Exchange. This includes fingerprints and photographs. You are guilty of a misdemeanor if you “knowingly and intentionally”fly a drone onto a different property and come within 50 feet of a house to“coerce, intimidate, or harass”someone or after you have been asked to stop. Persons must register on the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry if they also take photos of a person without their permission with the drone. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, and for further information on these laws, visit Virginia.gov. 5. Drone Regulations (HB 638/SB 526): 3. DNA Submissions (HB 1249/SB 565):

dispensaries can also distribute a 90-day supply, rather than the previously allowed 30-day supply. This law change is a step toward the decriminalization of this safe medication, but it does have some limits. You could find yourself facing legal trouble if you do not have written permission from a medical professional — this includes physical therapists and physician’s assistants. Please be careful when ordering or purchasing this product, as the law is still catching up to the market and science. 3. Grand Larceny Jump (HB 1550/SB 105): The threshold for a theft to be considered grand larceny was risen from $200 to $500. This is a vital change in the law, as even very minor thefts could include products over $200. This previously raised the charge to a more detrimental label.

Below is a list of additional law changes:

1. Work Zones and Phones (HB 1525):

Holding a cellphone while driving through a Virginia road work zone is now against the law, and you could face a $250 fine. This also

-Kyle Manikas

only permit this if a person exhibited symptoms of epilepsy. In addition,

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