Wheeling Criminal Law Blog

How a first-time DUI can affect your professional occupation

Obtaining your professional license has taken years of time, money and sacrifice. Reaching your professional goals has taken just as much effort to achieve. However, you can lose it all in an instance of misjudgment.

A common way this can happen is through drinking and driving. Whether or not you receive a DUI conviction, the simple involvement in the criminal justice system may be enough to make your work life challenging.

Citing self-defense

It is not uncommon when reviewing news of criminal cases in Ohio County to hear that a defendant claim that his or her actions were in self-defense. While many may view this as the standard response to any allegations involving violence, we here at the Scott C. Brown Law Office can attest to the fact that such a defense may indeed be valid, and is recognized by the law. It may behoove you to understand the state’s self-defense statute if you are facing the potential for criminal penalties in a case where you felt your response to a threat was justified.

The scenario in which you may be justified in using force (even deadly force) to protect yourself is spelled out in the West Virginia Criminal Jury Instructions. These instructions state that you are allowed to respond with force in situations where you were not the aggressor in an altercation, and you felt that doing so was the only way to save yourself from the imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm. In such a case, your words alone would not qualify as aggression.

What does it mean to plead insanity?

For people in West Virginia facing criminal charges, a plea of insanity is one type of criminal defense that may be utilized. While many people are aware of this legal tactic, the actual process is often misunderstood. An insanity plea involves many different factors, and requires the assistance of a skilled attorney with a comprehensive understanding of the law.

According to Psychology Today, there is a difference between the legal and medical definition of insanity. Each state has its own legal definition of insanity, but in general there are three rules that can be applied in order for an individual to be considered legally insane. The Model Penal Colony Rule stipulates that a person can be considered legally insane if they lack an understanding of why their conduct is criminal or are unable to understand what is required by law.

West Virginia legalizes medical marijuana

On April 19th, Governor Jim Justice signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana in West Virginia. With this law passing, West Virginia has become the 29th state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. The governor signed the bill after it passed the state legislature on April 6th.

It is important to recognize the qualifying conditions regarding medical marijuana and how recreational use is still illegal in West Virginia. Here is a closer look at what this new law permits and prohibits.

Convicted drug offenders receive lengthy prison sentences

Facing drug crimes in Wheeling can be very daunting. The possible penalties are extremely serious, even for charges involving only the possession of a small amount of drugs. Therefore, one of the best things those accused of being involved in illegal drug activity can do is to have a solid defense to present to the court.

As a result of facing a myriad of charges, including distribution of methamphetamine, several people in West Virginia are now heading to prison to serve terms ranging from six to 210 months. Of the 14 people who were sentenced, the average prison term received was six and half years. The sentences were the result of guilty pleas by the individuals. Some of the individuals were also accused of gun and weapon charges as well. A handful of people have also entered pleas but have not yet been sentenced.

Child sex crime case goes before State Supreme Court

Many people who think about sex crimes in Ohio may initially think about adults that are accused of crimes against children or perhaps against other adults who may be more vulnerable than they in some manner. However, it is also possible that an allegation of rape or some other form of a sex crime may be made against a minor.

Under Ohio laws, a person under the age of 18 may in fact be officially charged with a sex crime so long as they are at least 13 years of age. A person who is 12 years old or younger is currently not allowed to be charged with this type of offense because they are said to be unable to consent to sexual activity due to their age. A case that is going before the Ohio Supreme Court is actually looking to change or at least challenge this law.

The effects of false criminal accusations

Every day people are arrested or accused of crimes they did not commit in West Virginia. The accusations, even when proven to be false, can have a serious effect on the person. The court of public opinion often weighs in, even more so now in the age of social media. Just the hint that someone could be guilty of a crime is enough for people to play judge and jury. Rumors get spread and a person’s life can be devastated.

According to Psychology Today, the mental effects of being falsely accused of a crime can be severe, even resulting in suicide. The reaction of people to an accusation is often compared to bullying. People assume guilt and therefore nothing the person says or does nor any proof produced that they are not guilty has no effect on the damage already done to their reputation.

What are the collateral consequences of a felony?

If you are facing a felony conviction in Wheeling, you are no doubt aware of the severity of situation. Along with jail times and exorbitant fines, you will also be subject to the collateral consequences of a felony. These consequences can impact many different areas of one’s life, from being able to vote to securing gainful employment.

According to NPR, there are wide range of potential ramifications that can occur if you are convicted of a felony. For instance, any professional licenses you possess could be in jeopardy, as will your ability to qualify for a loan. Some of the consequences are in the interest of public safety, such as prohibiting felons from purchasing and possessing a gun. However, some say the sheer volume of collateral consequences make it difficult for those convicted of a crime to move on with their lives.

West Virginia man behind bars over drugs

From a lengthy prison sentence to costly fines, drug offenses can upend the lives of those facing charges. However, they can also affect people in other ways. For example, a person accused of a drug-related crime may have trouble when applying for jobs in the future or lose their current job. Also, their ability to attend college could be negatively impacted. In Wheeling, and all over the state of West Virginia, people who are dealing with these struggles personally should carefully explore their options.

A West Virginia man is currently behind bars over allegations that he was distributing drugs. The man, who is 36 years old, was a resident of Henry County. At this time, he is currently in the Bluefield County Jail and has been charged for allegedly distributing a shedule 4 narcotic.

Finding work may be easier for some people thanks to new law

Legislators often make changes to West Virginia’s laws, and the nature of these may be in response to those who feel that consequences for violations are too lax. On the other hand, often lawmakers realize that current penalties prevent offenders from becoming productive members of society, which increases their likelihood to re-offend once they have served their time and paid their fines.

Gov. Jim Justice has recently signed a bill that reduces the consequences for certain people who have been charged with and convicted of a felony. Only nonviolent offenders qualify to have their conviction reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor on their criminal record. This reduction allows employers to review the illegal activity through a background check, but does not carry the same restrictions to employment that many felonies cause.

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