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Jonathan L. Katz
Fairfax Criminal Lawyer/Fairfax DUI Lawyer, Northern Virginia
Fairfax Criminal Lawyer/Fairfax DUI Lawyer, Northern Virginia


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Negotiating Without Distraction – Fairfax DWI Lawyer – Virginia Attorney


Fairfax DUI Lawyer On Focusing The Parties On Negotiations As A Possible Alternative To Trial

Negotiating without distraction is the ideal approach to negotiating, always on target to “get to yes.”. As a Virginia criminal lawyer, I know the importance of undistracted settlement talks.

Virginia Criminal Attorney On Negotiating Without Distraction Through Working On Openness To Such Talks

When a negotiating lawyer knows that more than one person is hearing what they are saying, that lawyer can become more self conscious, unfocused and less open. Also, when a prosecutor knows that multiple people are hearing the negotiation discussions, the prosecutor might be concerned that others might misapprehend that the prosecutor is being too lenient with negotiations, or not correctly internalizing the facts of the case, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecutor’s case, nor understanding the relevant law.

Fairfax DUI Lawyer On Getting The Prosecutor’s Full Attention
Although it will not work for me every time to ask a prosecutor only to speak with me one on one when dealing with multiple cases in the courthouse, the alternative is to get as much of the prosecutor’s full attention as possible. I particularly want to step aside with the prosecutor when I am going to include a focus on insufficient police work, on such bases as insufficient or even shoddy police work, questionable reliability of the police version of events, violation of my client’s Miranda and other Fifth Amendment rights, violation of my client’s Fourth Amendment rights...

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Perjury Convictions Are Worse Than Suspended Driving Convictions


Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Warns Against Lying In And Out Of Court – Perjury Convictions Must Be Avoided

Perjury convictions are worse than suspended driving convictions. One would think that would be common sense. However, if their perjury convictions are correct, clearly Patricia Gerald and Tarsha Gerald gaffed in lying at their suspended driving trials only to be ultimately convicted both of perjury and repeat suspended driving. Gerald v. Virginia, _ Va. _ (May 31, 2018).

Virginia Criminal Attorney Perjury Convictions Being Avoided By Not Lying

As a Virginia criminal lawyer, I impress upon my clients not only the necessity under the law not to lie on the court witness stand nor to law enforcement officials (and remaining silent also avoids lying), but also about the strength of the truth. Unfortunately, lying seems so rampant in society that for too many people prevaricating is like a leaky faucet that has never been stopped.

Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Warns Against Any Driving Without A License, Nor On A Suspended Or Revoked License

A slew of people are driving without valid licenses. The reasons are many, running from ineligibility to obtain a license (for instance by undocumented people, for whom we need a path to obtain valid licenses); to suspension from convictions for DUI/DWI, breath and blood testing refusal, suspended driving convictions, hit and run convictions, and fleeing and eluding convictions; to accumulation of negative points against one’s driving license; to not timely paying moving violation fines and fees required to the DMV.

Nobody should drive without doing so pursuant to a valid license, both because it is the law and because a person digs himself or herself into a deeper hole by violating such laws. Yes, some people may get away with that for a period of time, but the odds will catch up to them...

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Privacy Rights Preserved- Reversing Crabbed Virginia Supreme Ct. Opinion


Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Celebrates SCOTUS’s Keeping Some Teeth In The Fourth Amendment
Privacy rights are critical to criminal defense, including the essential Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and against warrantless searches that require search warrants only issued upon probable cause. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I have achieved many victories on the basis of Fourth Amendment search and seizure challenges.

Virginia Criminal Lawyer On The United States Supreme Court’s Preservation Of Key Privacy Rights

Despite fluctuations in Supreme Court personnel, numerous core civil liberties retain at least a basic level of SCOTUS protection over the decades (however, with numerous exceptions), including the Exclusionary Rule that remedies police Fourth Amendment violations by barring from trial the fruits of the evidence obtained in violation of a criminal defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights.

Fairfax Criminal Attorney On U.S. Supreme Court’s Fourth Amendment Reversal Of Virginia Supreme Court

Today, seven of nine U.S. Supreme Court justices made clear that the Virginia Supreme Court (in Collins v. Commonwealth, 292 Va. 486, 790 S.E.2d 611 (2016)) had gone too far in okaying (by allowing the automobile exception for warrantless searches of motor vehicles) a police entry on land of a private residence followed by removing the tarp covering of a motorcycle, where only the removal of the covering revealed the essential information to show that the motorcycle was stolen, saying in key part:

“This case presents the question whether the automobile exception to the Fourth Amendment permits a police officer, uninvited and without a warrant, to enter the curtilage of a home in order to search a vehicle parked therein. It does not. “Imagine a motorcycle parked inside the living room of a house, visible through a window to a passerby on...

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Negative Words Are A Downward Spiral – Virginia Criminal Lawyer On Winning


Virginia Criminal Lawyer On Winning Through Openness, Embracing All, And Eliminating Negative Words

Negative words are a downward spiral. We know that already, but negative words permeate daily dialogue, starting with car stereos blasting F-bombs and proceeding with referencing others as sex organs, and calling others choice names. As a Fairfax criminal attorney, I know that high vibrations, unblocking and zero limits are always the way to go. The temptation to spew negative words, though, merits reminders why it is best to remain on the positive path.

Fairfax Criminal Attorney On The Dogsh*T Of Negative Words
Spewing negative words is like stepping in dogsh*t. The smell follows the person who steps in it, it is uniquely disgusting, and the dogsh*t needs to dry before it will come off one’s shoes that the wearer must suffer with until arriving home or to a shoe store to wear a replacement pair.

Resisting The Temptation To Spew Negative Words
Recently in court, I felt tempted once again to direct some well-selected words to a prosecutor who comes across as being very arrogant, but I recognize that instead his words may be more the function of habit, and I often obtain good results with him in working out discovery orders, trial reschedulings, and settlement negotiations. Once again, I resisted the temptation to say anything negative to him, answered his grumbling questions with softball answers, and left the motions hearing with precisely what I wanted.

Virginia Criminal Attorney Underlines That Most Of Us Are Sisters And Brothers, All Coming From The Same Source

Nobody I know is going to call Hitler, Eichmann or numerous other monstrous people their brothers or sisters. Nonetheless, all humans come from the same source, and most of us are in fact sisters and brothers. Unless we have low self esteem, we are not going to berate our favorite humans...

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Moral Turpitude Convictions Can Sink Immigration Status – Fairfax Criminal Lawyer


Fairfax Criminal Lawyer On The Ongoing Crimmigration Minefield Of Criminal Convictions For Non-United States Citizens

Moral turpitude convictions (also known as crimes involving moral turpitude (“CIMT“)) and aggravated felonies present serious immigration risks for non-United States citizens. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I repeatedly deal with such issues, recognize when I have a sufficient grasp of the issue not to need an immigration lawyer’s advice, and call on a qualified immigration lawyer when my own knowledge base is insufficient.

Virginia Criminal Lawyer On The Complexities Of Immigration Law As They Relate To Criminal Cases

Immigration law and procedure are very complex and ever-changing, based on such factors as statutory law, caselaw, federal regulations, Board of Immigration Appeals decisions, policy changes with each new presidential administration, and discretionary practices of immigration authorities and immigration judges. A lawyer practicing primarily criminal defense needs to recognize when s/he needs to reach out for advice from a qualified immigration lawyer. Posting an inquiry to a criminal lawyers’ email listserv will not usually suffice as a replacement for consulting with an immigration lawyer. The CAIR Coalition’s website is a good starting point for getting a grasp of the complexity of these issues, including this Virginia chart from the coalition.

Fairfax Criminal Attorney On Fourth Circuit’s Reminder Of Risks Of Moral Turpitude And Aggravated Felony Convictions

This week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion confirming the inflexibility in the harshness of the immigration law as to moral turpitude criminal convictions (for which there is a five-year safety net) and aggravated felony convictions, where the petitioner had a prior conviction for marijuana distribution and another for burglary. Guevara-Solórzano v. Sessions, _ F.3d _ (4th Cir., May 24, 2018).

Whenever a non-United States citizen is charged...

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Trial Readiness Is Critical – A Virginia Deal Is Not Always A Done Deal – Fairfax Lawyer


Fairfax Criminal Lawyer On Virginia Prosecutors’ Leeway To Back Out From Plea Deals

Trial readiness is critical for criminal defense lawyers. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that trial readiness is the only way to win, to negotiate from a position of strength, and to not get caught with pants down in the event that the criminal defense client changes his or her mind from a plea deal into a trial posture.

Virginia Criminal Attorney Warns About Prosecutors Backing Down From And Trying To Modify Plea Deals

A deal is a deal, goes the saying. However, under Virginia law, the mere happening of offer and acceptance of a plea offer does not automatically bind the prosecutor to not withdraw from the plea offer before the judge has accepted a criminal defendant’s plea of guilty, no contest/ nolo contendere, or Alford.

Fairfax Criminal Lawyer Points Out The Self-Damage Prosecutors Do To Back Out From Plea Deals

Sadly, Virginia appellate caselaw provides prosecutors wide leeway to back down from plea deals before the court actually accepted the defendant’s plea. Watkins v. Virginia, 27 Va. 473 (1998) (en banc) (reversing the Virginia Court of Appeals panel that determined that a “middle ground exists when the defendant, although not having pled guilty, has taken some ‘other action’ pursuant to a plea agreement” to justify enforcing the agreement). (For additional key caselaw on enforceability of plea agreements, see Santobello v. New York, 404 U.S. 257 (1971); Wright v. Virginia, 52 Va.App. 690 (2008); and Sandy v. Virginia, 26 Va.App. 724 (1998).

Absent the defendant’s having done anything underhanded to obtain the plea agreement, such prosecutorial backing out of a deal summonses unseemly images of an unfeeling Lucy van Pelt each season urging Charlie Brown to kick the football she is holding, only to snatch the ball away at the last moment so that Charlie lands on his back. Consequently, even when prosecutors back out of a plea deal without violating the Virginia caselaw, that does not mean that such backing out will not damage that prosecutor’s (and even that prosecutor’s office’s) reputation with criminal defense lawyers...

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Handgun Violence – Part II – Fairfax Criminal Lawyer


Fairfax Criminal Lawyer On Handling Handgun Violence And All Violence

Handgun violence runs rampant in American society. This is the second instalment of a two-part article on this topic. Part 1 is here.

Fairfax Criminal Lawyer On How To Stop Handgun Murders If Guns Are Not Banned

How do we stop murders if guns are not banned? I do not have a ready answer, but as a Fairfax criminal lawyer do have the below thoughts.

Those who own guns should assure they know how to use their weapons as safely as possible, and to assure they do not get into the wrong hands. Guns are not going to get banned, particularly because the Second Amendment will not get repealed, and because gun culture is so entrenched in the United States, going back to the days of the first settlers and their next generations and the wild west.

Virginia Criminal Attorney On The Laws Already In Place To Address Gun And Weapons Violence

We already have federal and state gun laws that severely punish for homicides, robbery, sexual assault, drug dealing, and other felonies committed with guns and other firearms.

Unfortunately, as with the broader criminal justice system’s convicting too many innocent criminal defendants and too harshly sentencing too many criminal defendants, the same goes too often for handgun defendants. Stiffening the criminal laws on handgun possession is not necessarily going to put much of a dent against gun violence.

Gun control advocates also talk about more tightly restricting who can own handguns in the first place (for instance those convicted of felonies), including screening for mental illness. I also know about laws limiting the number of bullets that one may possess (but that sounds counter to the Second Amendment), and efforts to stick gun manufacturers with civil liability, which federal legislation prohibits.

Stopping Handgun Violence Includes The Need To Reach Out To Others In Our Overly Isolated Society

American society is overly disconnected, with so many people feeling oppressed and left out from economic and other life opportunities that widespread violence will continue in America for a long time to come. (It is unclear how much the Santa Fe, Texas murderer was motivated by the rejection of his romantic advances on another student.) Just as one person’s vote for president, by itself, is not by itself likely to change the outcome of...
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