Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek

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  • I’ve been told that the drug Spice is safe, natural, and legal—is it?

    More and more often you hear of “safer drugs” that are supposedly legal and still offer a pleasurable high. However, not only are these drugs typically not safer, they are actually quite dangerous and using them can get you into trouble.

    Spice is a substance that is showing up in schools and on the streets, and is being used recreationally by teenagers and adults alike. Because it’s not well-known as a conventional drug, many wrongly think it is safe and legal to use.

    The Truth About Spice

    Before you use or possess Spice, you should know a few things about the substance, including:

    • It is a synthetic cannabinoid. Also called “JWH,” Spice is a synthetic cannabinoid that is sold as incense. Labeled as an herbal product, it gives off a high that is similar to what marijuana produces.
    • It is potentially dangerous. Those who have taken Spice have reported experiencing tremors, anxiety, vomiting, seizures, agitation, and psychotic episodes.
    • It is illegal. Synthetic cannabinoids are considered Schedule I drugs, which means it has a high potential for abuse and has no accepted medical use. Possessing, giving, or selling the drug is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is punishable by imprisonment for up to 12 months and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Sale, distribution, gift, or possession with intent to sell, give, or distribute is a Class Six felony, which can result in imprisonment for one to 10 years and a fine of up to $2,500.

    We Are Here to Help

    When you’re facing charges of this nature, you’ll need the help of an expert legal team. Attempting to defend yourself or settling with a substandard attorney can result in disaster.

    The legal team of Tavss Fletcher can answer your questions regarding your charges and may be able to help. Contact us today by filling out our online form or by calling us at 757.625.1214 and find out how we have helped many people in Norfolk with their drug charges and how we may be able to do the same for you.

  • Can I get myself into trouble if I stay silent during a traffic stop?

    You were about to go through the Midtown Tunnel when an officer pulled you over. It was a Friday night, and you were coming home from a friend’s house. Although you weren’t intoxicated, you did have a few drinks and were concerned the officer may smell the alcohol on you.

    As the officer approached your vehicle, you remembered hearing that you should stay silent during such traffic stops. However, you wonder if you really should.

    Do You Really Have the Right to Remain Silent?

    You can’t imagine not answering any of the police officer’s questions, but you know that what you say will be used against you. Will your plan of silence backfire? Here, we take a look.

    • Silence is often perceived as guilt. If you fail to talk to a police officer, you may give off suspicion that you are guilty, especially if you are asked to participate in a field sobriety test. The officer may believe that you are too intoxicated to talk in the tests and may then arrest you on suspicion of driving while under the influence.
    • Not speaking may anger the officer. Failing to answer the officer may come off as ignoring him and that could make him angry. This anger may cause him to find a reason to arrest you.

    What Should You Do?

    If you believe that answering an officer’s question will lead to an admission of guilt, you can simply say you don’t think it is an appropriate time to talk about the matter and that you wish to speak with your attorney first. Staying polite is important, and so is not saying anything that can be used to indicate guilt.

    Having an experienced attorney on your side is your best bet in a criminal law situation. The legal team of Tavss Fletcher may be able to help you with your matter. Contact us today to learn how.

  • What items are considered weapons under Virginia’s concealed weapons law and what are the penalties if I’m caught carrying such a weapon?

    Gun control and enforcement is a hot-button issue in the United States. As such, the federal government tries to limit its control over gun laws and instead leaves specific gun laws up to each individual state’s government. For example, there is no federal law that prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons.

    However, each state has its own laws regarding rights, enforcement, and punishment for weapon concealment. Although the state of Virginia has slightly more lenient gun laws than some other states, it still has a black-and-white view of concealed weapons.

    Classifying Concealed Weapons in Virginia

    In Virginia, a concealed weapon is defined as any weapon or artifact that is hidden from plain view, or has such a deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapon's true nature, and could potentially cause harm to another person. Although the assumption is that the term weapon refers to a gun or knife, Virginia’s law incorporates a broader sense of what a weapon can be.

    Under the law, weapons are defined as objects that could reasonably cause harm to another person. The law specifically states that the following items can be considered weapons and, if hidden from view, can fall under the concealed weapons mandate: 

    • Guns: any pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed to expel or propel missile-like objects by action of an explosive combustible.
    • Knives: any dirk, bowie, switchblade, or ballistic knife, machete, or razors that are able to cut or impale a human body.
    • Blunt objects designed to inflict harm: blackjacks, nun-chucks, fighting chains, or any instrument designed with rigid parts meant to flail and swing freely.
    • Propelling tools: any instrument designed to propel or shoot objects at high velocity such as potato guns, slingshots, blow darts, etc.
    • Sharp tools: any instrument with sharp edges that could potentially be used to cause harm, for example, makeshift shivs, throwing stars, needles, broken glass, etc. 


    If you’re found to be concealing or hiding an object which could be considered a weapon under Virginia’s weapons classification, you could be charged with carrying a concealed weapon. Depending on the severity of the offense as well as past convictions, your penalty can range from misdemeanor charges to felony charges. The following is an overview:

    • First violation: you could be ticketed and charged with a class one misdemeanor, which could lead to jail time, fines, or both.
    • Second violation: if you’ve previously been charged with a class one concealment misdemeanor and are found to be illegally carrying again, you could be charged with a class six felony. Conviction can lead to up to five years imprisonment, a $2,500 fine, or both.
    • Third or subsequent violations: when you violate the law more than twice, you could be charged with a class five felony; if convicted you could serve up to 10 years in prison, fined up to $2,500, or both.

    Legal Help

    Being aware of different states’ gun laws can be extremely confusing. Unfortunately, this confusion could potentially land you in the back of a cop car. However, with proper representation, you don’t need to fear punishment. If you were a victim of a concealed weapon misunderstanding and need legal advice and support, contact us today. Our extensive knowledge and experience with Virginia’s laws will help you avoid jail time and keep your record clean. Don’t allow your future to be tarnished because you were unaware of the law. Call us today to get the advice you need.

    Make sure your family and friends are aware of the law before it’s too late. Share this page with them via Facebook, or tell them to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about carrying concealed weapons.


  • Does trying a juvenile as an adult benefit or deter his rehabilitation and future options?

    Sentencing for juvenile crimes is discretionary based on individual state opinions and law. However, every single state has at least one legal bylaw which allows juveniles to be tried in adult courts based on the severity of their crimes. These provisions are put in place to allow for two separate but equal assumptions:

    1. Severe crimes, no matter what age they are committed, deserve equal punishment.
    2. The threat of harsher punishments will deter juveniles from committing these types of crimes in the first place.

    Unfortunately, these assumptions aren’t proving to be as accurate as previously thought.

    Juvenile Risks in Adult Court Verdicts

    The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that over 7,000 juveniles each year are convicted in criminal courts and sentenced as adults. Although these sentences are based on individual crimes, felony status, and severity of violence or damage inflicted—the form of punishment is considered questionable by many.

    The basic notion behind judicial justice is to rehabilitate the guilty in order to preserve their—hopefully crime-free—future. However, when it comes to severe crimes, adult sentencing completely goes against this notion of rehabilitation.

    Recent studies have found that besides the lack of crime rate changes, adult tried juvenile statistics are actually much worse than anticipated. Risks include:

    • Educational disadvantages. Minors in criminal justice systems have less access to education and other age-specific programming than those in the juvenile justice system, putting them at a serious disadvantage upon release.
    • Higher victimization rates. Minors have an increased risk for both sexual and physical violence within adult prisons and confinement.
    • Higher risk of suicide. Due to higher victimization, longer punishments, and psychological immaturity, depression and suicide can run rampant for youths in adult systems.
    • Increased chance for re-arrest. Rates among previously convicted minors are higher than those for any other age group for repeat offenses. Even low-risk minors in the criminal justice system have re-arrest rates twice as high as low-risk juvenile offenders.
    • Poor rehabilitation. An astonishing 85 percent of juveniles tried in the adult court system are repeat offenders, compared to 15 percent over those retained in the juvenile justice system

    Defending Your Future

    Felonies, violent crimes, and sexually explicit transgressions can all be considered severe enough to be prosecuted in an adult court, with adult crime punishments. If you need help defending yourself, or need an experienced criminal attorney for the defense of a loved one, contact us today. We know what’s at risk, and we’ll fight to make sure justice is upheld for everyone involved. Don’t allow a stupid decision to be blown out of proportion and affect the rest of your life. Call today to review your options and get the defense you deserve.

    Juvenile crimes have become an increasingly alarming problem in the United States. Help lower the chances that your loved ones, or friends will become part of this statistic. Share these risks via Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus, and maybe, just maybe, you can stop a juvenile crime before it even happens. It doesn’t hurt to pass along the information, but it may hurt to keep it to yourself. Please, share now!


  • What does the term “sexual assault “ mean, and how broad is the definition?

    The Appalachian State University’s Sexual Assault Prevention Center classifies sexual assault as, “the sexual exploitation, forcible penetration, or an act of sexual contact on the body of another person, male or female, without his or her consent,” including rape, molestation, masturbation and coercions. However, sexual assaults have several levels—called “degrees”—of severity that affect conviction and punishment.

    Degrees and Punishments of Sexual Assault

    These degrees, much like degrees of murder, vary depending on violence, intent, and outcomes, and can be either classified within a felony class or as a misdemeanor.

    1st Degree

    These are Class B felonies. Conviction means a sentences not to exceed 60 years in prison:

    • Sexual contact or sexual intercourse with another person that has been committed without consent, or has been forced on another person by use of a dangerous weapon or threat of harm.
    • Assault is aided or abetted by one or more other persons by use of force, threats, or violence, without consent
    • Sexual contact or sexual intercourse with or without consent with a person under the age of 13.

    2nd Degree

    Each of these is a Class C felony. The punishment is a fine not to exceed $100,000, and imprisonment that may not exceed 40 years:

    • Sexual contact without consent, by use of threats, force or violence, which causes injury, including illness, disease or impairment of a sexual or reproductive organ, or mental anguish requiring psychiatric care for the victim.
    • Sexual contact with a person who cannot legally give consent at the time of the incident, such as someone who suffers from a mental illness, was intoxicated, or was unconscious during the incident
    • Sexual contact or sexual intercourse with a person who is a patient, employee, subordinate or resident of the facility or program in which the defendant works.

    3rd Degree

    This is a Class G felony, punishable by a fine not to exceed $25,000 and by imprisonment for a period that may not exceed 10 years (the maximum term of confinement may not exceed five years and extended supervision may not exceed five years):

    • Sexual contact (not intercourse) involving ejaculation without the consent of that person

    4th Degree

    These are Class A misdemeanors, punished with a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed nine months in the county jail, or both:

    • Sexual harassment, stalking, or lewd behavior toward another person without the consent of that person
    • Sexual intercourse with a person 16 or 17 years old

    No matter the degree of accusation, a sexual assault conviction can have dire consequences on your future. Do not allow a false accusation to ruin the rest of your life. Contact us today to discuss your case and allow us to convince you how our experience, diligence, and dedication can help you get the justice you need to prevent a life altering conviction. Although the circumstance may seem bleak, the next step is clear: call now for the help you need and the support you deserve.

  • How can I show composure when being pulled over for a DUI?

    Driving while under the influence is a serious offense that carries hefty consequences. In fact, being charged with a DUI can result in a driver not only to have to pay a large fine, but also to serve time behind bars. DUI offenses can change the lives of the driver and his or her family.

    We often see or hear of the driver being interrogated after being pulled over and basically being forced into admitting guilt of a DUI. It is important that a driver who has been pulled over for a DUI know his rights and react in a way that will benefit his case.

    Your Attitude Matters

    When being pulled over, a driver should not give the police officers any reason to accuse him of a DUI offense. He should stay calm and keep his composure. This will help keep the situation calm and in the favor of the driver.

    Four things to keep in mind in order to keep your composure are:

    • Stay calm. No matter how frustrating the situation can be, the driver must remain composed through the ordeal. Try to not seem nervous, which can draw further scrutiny from the police officer.
    • Put it out, spit it out. Two things that police often look for when pulling over an individual for a possible DUI is smoking or chewing gum. Before the officer approaches the vehicle, put out the cigarette if smoking or spit out the gum if chewing it.
    • Don’t over speak. Keep quiet until necessary. Use the old rule, “Speak only when spoken to.” Anything that is said may be used against the driver. You are not obligated to answer questions—other than to identify yourself—without an attorney present.
    • Be polite. When the officer asks for identification and registration, be polite and hand the items to the officer.


    If you have been accused of a DUI, it is vital to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. Fill out the contact form on this page to discover how we can help you in your case.

  • I have been accused of assault and battery in Virginia and am worried about the consequences. What do I need to know?

    Being charged with any crime, including assault and battery, is something that should not be taken lightly. Whether you are a first-time offender or a repeat offender, it is important to take the matter very seriously as the consequences can have life-altering results.

    If you are currently facing assault charges, you may be uncertain of about your  future—assault charges are generally prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Following is some important information about assault and battery:

    • Definition – Assault and battery is an act, such as striking or stabbing someone, that is intentionally harmful or offensive. Although we typically think of it as one crime, it is actually two separate crimes. Assault is the apprehension associated with the threat of harm, while battery is the harmful act itself.
    • Liability – Many people are unaware that an assault and battery can be a crime, an illegal act, and a tort, an act that causes a victim to suffer loss or harm. This means that the person charged with the crime may be liable for both criminal and civil liability.
    • Types – The severity of the offense determines whether you will be charged with felony or a misdemeanor assault and battery. For example, misdemeanor assault and battery, which involves touching done in an angry, rude, or insolent manner, carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Malicious wounding, with the intent to maim, disfigure, or kill, is a Class 3 Felony, which carries a penalty of between 5 and 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.


    Although you may have been accused of a crime, this does not mean you will be certain to do time behind bars. As a Virginia resident, you have the right to fight the charges that are brought against you. Call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Tavss Fletcher at 757-625-1214 today for a free case evaluation.

  • Do I need a Norfolk criminal law attorney if my case is under investigation and no charges have been filed?

    It is common for someone being accused of a crime to put off contacting an attorney, especially if that person feels he is innocent. An experienced Virginia criminal law attorney will understand the laws and will know how to navigate the tedious and overwhelming process of building a strong defense. Whether you are accused of a violent crime, sexual offense, drug possession or trafficking, or a white-collar crime, a skilled attorney can help you.

    People often think that the time to hire an attorney is after charges have been filed for a criminal case. This is not true. In fact, a Virginia criminal law attorney can be very beneficial to the defendant in the early stages of the investigation.

    Three reasons you should hire an attorney before any charges are filed a criminal offense are:

    • Education – An experienced attorney will educate you on what lies ahead. He will make sure you understand the process of the investigation, and will explain what to expect should your case go to trial.
    • Gather Evidence – Many times law enforcement agencies will not give you the benefit of the doubt. They may make mistakes or not be thorough. Your attorney will be able to gather evidence and obtain key witnesses to support your defense.
    • Negotiate – Using the evidence that was gathered, your attorney will negotiate with the prosecutors and police before charges are filed, and will try to persuade them not to file any charges.


    If you have been accused of a criminal offense it is critical that you contact a knowledgeable Norfolk criminal law attorney at Tavss Fletcher immediately. Call 757-625-1214 today to schedule a free case evaluation.