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The Daugherty Law Firm FAQs

When am I under arrest?

When police officers:

  • Take you into custody
  • Restrict your freedom of movement due to suspicion of a criminal act
  • Read your Miranda rights

If you are arrested, contact The Daugherty Law Firm to handle your criminal defense.

Can police arrest me without a warrant?

Yes. If you commit a crime in the officer’s presence or if a credible person reports that you committed a felony and are about to escape, an officer may arrest you without a warrant. If you or your property is searched without a warrant and the above circumstances do not apply, call the lawyers at The Daugherty Law Firm today.

If police question me, what are my rights?

  • You have the right to remain silent
  • Whatever you say can be used against you in court
  • You have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering questions
  • You have the right to have an attorney present when answering questions
  • If you decide to answer questions, be truthful
  • You may stop answering questions at any time

Can an officer detain me without arresting me?

If you are not under arrest, the police cannot keep you or force you to answer questions. You may have to identify yourself and provide an alibi. If an officer thinks you are armed, the officer may search you. You do not have to answer questions.

What property can an officer search?

Officers may conduct a limited search of your home without a search warrant if you are arrested. The police may seize any incriminating evidence and check the house for potential threats to an officer’s safety.

If you give the police consent to search your car, the officers will completely search your vehicle. Without permission, the officers cannot thoroughly search the car unless there is incriminating evidence or weapons in plain sight.

If there is probable cause, the police may search any grounds at any time.

How do I get an arrest record expunged?

You must file a Petition for Expungement in the appropriate jurisdiction. Contacting an attorney will dramatically increase your understanding and potentially the changes of getting an arrest record expunged.

How far back does a criminal record gather information?

As far back as your criminal record began.

What is the general process of a domestic violence court case?

Well if its an arrest than its an arraignment and setting of a trial date to determine guilt. If its a protective order than its filing the petition for the protective order and having a hearing to determine whether or not the protective order should be entered.

What is the penalty for driving with a suspended license?

Future loss of licenses, fine, and incarceration depending on how many times you’ve previously been convicted for driving with a suspended license.

Does a blood test for alcohol percentage also detect drug percentages?

Virginia does have blood tests for both alcohol and drug but they have to be specifically tested. That is if they are testing for alcohol in the blood they may not be test for drugs and vise versa.

Are there different levels of DUI/DWI?

Yes, Virginia has different laws depending on the number of DUI/DWI’s a person has been convicted of in the past 5 to 10 years as well as different laws depending on how much alcohol was determined to be in the blood at the time of operating the vehicle.

What is the general court process after being charged with a DUI/DWI?

An arraignment to advise you of your right to have an attorney as the charge carries the possibility of jail and setting of the trial date.

Are officers required to read a person they are arresting their Miranda rights?

No, unless they want to interrogate you and use your responses against you in court.

What should I do if I have been charged with a crime?

Contact an attorney to discuss the circumstances, any defenses, and strategy to give yourself the best possible chances to avoid a conviction.

Should I talk to the police after an arrest?

Absolutely not, unless you have consulted with an attorney and determined that talking to the police will serve your interests.

Do I need a criminal defense attorney if I am not guilty?

Absolutely. You should have a criminal defense attorney even if you are guilty.

What are the general differences in cost between contested and uncontested divorces?

A contested divorce is going to be significantly more expensive due to the requirement for discovery, preparation for court, and court time. An uncontested divorce does not require a tenth of the time and effort that a contested divorce

How much does a divorce cost?

Every relationship is different, and the complexity of each relationship informs the cost of the proceedings. Each dispute must be examined, and disputes contribute to the complexity of the case. If the divorce has many components, it can get expensive.

How long do divorce proceedings take?

The duration of each divorce varies. Depending on the complexity of the case and compliance of the parties involved, divorce proceedings can span anywhere from two months to more than one year.

Do I need to provide a reason for divorce?

A reason commonly cited is “irreconcilable differences,” sometimes referred to as a no-fault divorce. In this case, all attempts to reconcile differences have been unsuccessful and both parties tried separating for a time. Other grounds include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Mental abuse
  • Natural impotence
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Drug use
  • Murder attempts on a spouse
  • Felony conviction
  • Transmission of a sexually transmitted disease between spouses

What is an annulment?

An annulment is when a marriage is alleged to be void or voidable for any of the causes mentioned in § 20-13, 20-38.1, or 20-45.1 of the Virginia Code or by virtue of fraud or duress. Upon proof of the nullity of the marriage, it shall be decreed void by a decree of annulment.

How are child support payments determined?

Child support is calculated by examining several factors:

  • Number of minor children
  • Income of each parent
  • Out-of-pocket expenses to provide health insurance
  • Cost of work-related daycare
  • Other factors

Does adultery affect a divorce case?

It can affect a divorce case as it is a ground for divorce in Virginia. Even if a party does not file a divorce based on adultery, the party can still introduce evidence of the adultery to show why the marriage dissolved and why property should be divided differently.

Can the court make a decision on where a primary parent lives in a custody case

No, but the court can make a decision on where the child(ren) live and that may indirectly affect where a primary custodial parent lives.

How long does an uncontested divorce generally take?

It depends on what grounds for divorce are being alleged; but typically it takes about 12 to 18 months.

What is the general process for filing for divorce?

Drafting a complaint for divorce and filing it with the clerk. However, you should always seek the consultation of an attorney before you file for a divorce as there are many pitfalls and issues that a non-attorney may not know or even expect if they attempt to file their own divorce.

Do parents have custody rights to their children when they are unmarried?

Yes, they have equal rights unless there is a court order that states otherwise.

What generally happens when either I or my estranged spouse refuses to sign divorce documents?

The divorce will take significantly longer as it will have to be set on the court’s docket to be heard which could be months out depending on the volume of cases currently pending in the court.

What generally happens at a default divorce hearing?

There is no such thing as a default divorce hearing. In Virginia the party seeking the divorce must prove their allegations by introducing evidence.

What is the difference between a fault-based divorce and a no-fault divorce?

Fault-based divorce is when a party alleges one of the fault-based grounds for divorce in Virginia. Filing a fault-based divorce may permit a party to file a divorce sooner than if they choose to file under no-fault grounds. A no-fault divorce is when a party alleges that they have been separated from their spouse for the requisite period of time to file under no-fault grounds.

What are the general guidelines of alimony?

Need and ability to pay. The length of the marriage and the non-monetary and monetary contributions that were made by each of the parties.

Does a divorce decree have a statute of limitations?

No, but there may be certain time lines or contrasts within a divorce decree that a party has to take a particular action.

How are assets divided in a divorce with no prenuptial agreement?

Virginia uses equitable distribution which requires the court to find what property is martial. Any property that is determined to be marital is subject to division by the court in an equitable manner.

What do I need to start the divorce process?

Contact an attorney and have a set of goals you are trying to accomplish so the attorney can help guide you to the best to accomplish those goals.

What is a legal separation?

When an intent to end the marriage is formed in one of the parties minds and their is a cessation of marital cohabitation.

Click here to view a child support calculator for families in Virginia.

The attorneys at The Daugherty Law Firm will ensure that each party pays or receives a proper amount of child support.

What factors are considered by the court in determining spousal support?

Spousal support is determined by considering:

    • Age of the spouses
    • Income of each spouse
    • Duration of the marriage
    • Standard of living during the marriage
    • Earning capacity of each party
    • Other factors that the court finds applicable

How long can the adoption process generally take?

It depends on whether its contested or uncontested. If its uncontested it could take as little as a month; if its contested it could take anywhere from 3 months to a year depending on how quickly the matter can be set on the court’s docket for trial.

What is the length of time a birth parent has to change their decision during the adoption process?

Any change in decision by the birth parent would need to be made immediately and before the adoption order is entered by the court.

How much does adoption generally cost?

It depends on whether or not the matter is contested. If the matter is contested and a trial has to be set and litigated then it could costs thousands of dollars. If it’s uncontested it will cost significantly less.

How does the general process of adoption work?

Contact an attorney as there are many different forms of adoption and they each have significantly different processes.

What steps are available for a stepparent to adopt a stepchild?

Virginia has a stepparent adoption process and depending on the specific circumstances it can be achieved relatively easily.

How is alimony calculated?

Need and ability to pay are the two main factors; however, Virginia law enumerates many more factors for the court to consider.

What is the general process for filing for custody of an unborn child if the parents are not married?

You cannot file for custody until the child is born.

What are the general steps to order a drug or alcohol test during a child custody case?

You would need to file a request for the court to order the test.

Can a parent’s rights be terminated?

Yes, either by an adoption order or an order terminating the rights based on abuse and neglect.

How long does a judge generally have to rule on a custody case?

No defined time but generally the jude will rule shortly after all of the evidence has been presented at the trial.

What are the general guidelines of alimony?

Need and ability to pay are the two main factors; however, Virginia law enumerates many more factors for the court to consider.

What is the general process for filing for sole custody of a child?

Drafting and filing a petition for custody requesting such; however, you should always consult with an attorney before filing any legal action.

What are the general reasons a judge could modify child custody?

There has been a material and substantial change in circumstance since entry of the last order and its determined its in the best interest of the child to modify custody.

How is child support generally calculated?

It’s based on the parties gross income, work-related childcare expenses, health insurance costs and whether the parties support or have custody of any other children that are not subject to the child support order.

What general factors are considered when determining visitation?

The best interest of the child is the biggest factor which consists of considering the age of the chid, the relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child, the living conditions of the non-custodial parent, and many other factors that relate to the well-being of the child.

Can children decide which parent they want to live with?

Generally no, but a child’s preference can be a factor the court considers when making its decision.

What is joint legal custody?

Joint legal custody is where both parents retain joint responsibility for the care and control of the child and joint authority to make decisions concerning the child even though the child’s primary residence may be with only one parent.

What if I can’t afford child support?

Contact an attorney to see if there is a possibility to have it modified to an amount that you can afford.

For any other questions about criminal charges, family law proceedings, and personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits, contact the lawyers at The Daugherty Law Firm today.

We offer reasonable fixed fee arrangements and accept major credit cards.