Posted by Gary
When my 20 1/2 year old daughter was charged with "illegal possession of alcohol" charge, i.e. under age drinking, a lawyer in the family highly recommended we hire a lawyer in the Harrisonburg area, as he/she will know the court judges, police officers, etc. and will make the best recommendations and perhaps negotiate a reduced penalty.
We hired Mr. Oliver from the Evans Law Group after doing some research into who the best attorneys for handling the illegal possession charge (We learned that your body is considered a container, thus the 'illegal possession" charge.) I was surprised that Mr. Oliver recommended that we contest the charge, as my daughter was drinking and was stopped while walking back to her dorm with a friend, who also charged. However, Mr. Oliver thought we could win the case as my daughter did not admit to drinking nor did she take a breathalyzer test.
All first time offenders are offered the chance to attend the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) where you can have your record cleared of an underage drinking conviction, which is a felony in Virginia. You're required to attend classes, and perform charity work for a minimum of 6 months, or possibly longer depending upon the charge(s).
So instead of negotiating a reduced time period and/or fees, Mr. Oliver recommended that my daughter plead innocent. During the period between the initial court date and the trial, Mr. Oliver's only communication was his invoices. I had to call his office to find out what was going on.
At the trial, the police office gave his account, saying my daughter 'reeked of alcohol' and saw her stumbling while she was walking. What was Mr. Oliver's defense argument? ... "Someone could have spilled alcohol on her"... that was it! I paid $1,000 for an argument a high school kid would have made.
In fact, the police office wanted a more serious penalty... no admittance to the VASAP program, resulting in a felony conviction on my daughter's record. The judge did not like that my daughter pleaded not guilty and was trying to escape responsibility... Thanks for that poorly thought out recommendation, Mr. Oliver. She would have plead guilty and taken the VASAP first offender program if it wasn't for your recommendation that she contest the charge. Fortunately, the judge did not take away the VASAP first offender program offer, which my daughter is going through now.
To wrap up this short story, I HIGHLY recommend you DO NOT hire Mr. Oliver. A complete waste of time and money!!