Sarah Bruns Law PLLC

Sarah Bruns Law PLLC For over a decade, Sarah Bruns has been aggressively protecting the rights of her clients in Northern Virginia in matters of Family Law, Criminal Defense, and Drunk Driving (DUI/DWI) Defense.

The 4th Circuit strikes down Virginia’s “Habitual Drunkardl interdiction law! I’ve always found this law disturbin...
07/17/2019
Legal Aid Justice Center

The 4th Circuit strikes down Virginia’s “Habitual Drunkardl interdiction law!

I’ve always found this law disturbing in that it disproportionately affects the poor and homeless, much like the driver’s license suspension rules I’ve recently posted about. And once again, I find myself grateful for the good work of the Legal Aid Justice Center.

WE WON! The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Virginia's "habitual drunkard" statute, which effectively criminalizes the status of being a homeless alcoholic. A huge victory for decriminalizing poverty!!

Five years ago, when Virginia's courageous public defenders first brought this tragic and medieval law to our attention, who would have thought we would win such a strong majority opinion striking it down from eight judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals? (Also, who would have thought that the term "habitual drunkard" would be in use beyond the nineteenth century?)

The majority opinion puts it well: "What the Eighth Amendment cannot tolerate is the targeted criminalization of otherwise legal behavior that is an involuntary manifestation of an illness.”

Thank you to our pro bono partner Skadden Arps, amicus National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty represented by Georgetown Law Center's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, our brave clients, and public defenders statewide!

There are so many things wrong here it’s hard to know where to even start. 1.  Never consent to a search of the car. 2...
07/11/2019
Prosecutor who sparked Jackson County drug-planting probe resigns as whistleblower

There are so many things wrong here it’s hard to know where to even start. 1. Never consent to a search of the car. 2. I’m very relieved to see the “fast plea” process is stopped and it’s hard to imagine how it existed for so long in the first place. 3. Please challenge your assumptions against people who are accused of crimes. 4. Stay vigilant about your rights. 5. Prosecutors should not be pressured against following their conscience, even it is to the benefit of the accused. 6. The simple fact of an arrest has a significant impact on the Accused, even if they are later exonerated. These people will be feeling the impact of this for a long time, if not their whole life. I’ll certainly be following this case.

https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2018/09/29/prosecutor-who-sparked-jackson-drug-planting-probe-resigns-whistleblower/1441015002/

119 cases have been dropped as investigation into fired deputy continues. “I don’t want to work in an environment that allows this to happen."

Thank you Legal Aid Justice Center for your hard work on this new law rescinding suspensions for unpaid fines and costs!...
07/01/2019
6 Things To Know About Driver’s License Suspensions

Thank you Legal Aid Justice Center for your hard work on this new law rescinding suspensions for unpaid fines and costs!! Here is a very informative link full of good information about driver’s license suspensions in Virginia due to UNPAID fines and costs ONLY. Please contact your legislator and urge them to support this law permanently after it expires next year.

Personally, I anticipate some confusion from citizens, the DMV, and local police going forward on this matter. If you believe you are suspended for fines and costs only, I’d still visit a DMV (in person or online) and confirm this through your “compliance summary” AND carry it with you while driving in the event a police officer who pulls you over may be unfamiliar with the new law and believes you are still suspended (we don’t yet know anything about how long it will take systems to update and how this will match up to police record checks). Be warned that clients I have sent to the DMV to inquire about this in the last few months have reported that the employees at the DMV were not familiar with this law change, so if you go, make sure to print this information from the LAJC out and show it to them.

https://www.justice4all.org/2019/06/11/6-things-to-know-about-drivers-license-suspensions/

UPDATED 6 Things To Know Right Now about the recent Virginia budget amendment to temporarily halt driver’s license suspensions for unpaid court debt: 1. The budget amendment should lift current driver’s license suspensions for unpaid or...

Come down to Vanish Brewery! The Loudoun Community Cat Coalition’s Pints for Paws fundraiser is happening right meow! ...
06/23/2019

Come down to Vanish Brewery! The Loudoun Community Cat Coalition’s Pints for Paws fundraiser is happening right meow! There are wonderful raffle prizes, live music, and retail from local artisans! I’m a proud sponsor, volunteer, and Board member for the Coalition. I hope to see you soon! #vanishbeer

This week was very busy! For the last several years, I’ve had the honor of mentoring high school mock trial teams for ...
06/21/2019

This week was very busy! For the last several years, I’ve had the honor of mentoring high school mock trial teams for the Thomas D. Horne Leadership in the Law Camp. The students spend a week being trained in how to put on a trial, while also having some fun camp activities, like rafting, and a field trip to Washington DC to visit the Supreme Court and some local legislators. The camp comes at no cost to the campers, and is funded and run solely by volunteers and the local bar! It’s a long, but very inspiring, week. Here I am with opposing mentor, attorney Christopher Dove, and The Hon. Thomas D. Horne.

Each year in February, the camp hosts a casino night, which is a major source of its fundraising. It’s very fun, and watch out for future posts on how to get tickets!

Happy to help!
06/11/2019

Happy to help!

Thank you to Sarah Bruns Law PLLC for your Litter of Kittens sponsorship for Pints for Paws 2019! www.sarahbrunslaw.com

Don't forget to vote in your local primary June 11! Here is some information from Alert Loudoun about the upcoming Prima...
06/04/2019
June 11, 2019, Primary Election | Loudoun County, VA - Official Website

Don't forget to vote in your local primary June 11! Here is some information from Alert Loudoun about the upcoming Primary Elections:

Loudoun County voters will go to the polls Tuesday, June 11, 2019, for a primary election. Here are six important things Loudoun County election officials would like voters to know before going to the polls:

1. Know When to Vote
Polls in Loudoun County will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 11, 2019. The last day to vote absentee in person is Saturday, June 8. Absentee voting is taking place at the Loudoun County Office of Elections and Voter Registration. Details are online at loudoun.gov/JunePrimary.

2. Know Where to Vote
Voters will cast their ballots at their normal polling location. Anyone who is not sure about where to vote may check their voter registration card or look up their polling place and related information online at vote.elections.virginia.gov. A list of polling places in Loudoun is available at loudoun.gov/polls.

3. Bring Your Voter ID with You
Voters are required to show an acceptable form of photo identification at their precinct. Acceptable forms of photo ID include a Virginia DMV-issued driver’s license, a U.S. passport, a student photo ID from a college or university located in Virginia, or a government-issued photo ID. Voters who do not have one of these forms of photo ID are eligible for a free Virginia Voter Photo ID Card. More information is online at www.loudoun.gov/VoterID.

4. Know Which Ballot to Choose and What Races are on the Ballot
The Commonwealth of Virginia does not recognize party affiliation when registering citizens to vote. In precincts holding both a Democratic and Republican Primary, voters will be asked to choose which party’s ballot they wish to vote. Candidates are running for offices that will be on the ballot in November. The offices on the primary ballot are:

Democratic Party: The State Senate seats in Districts 31 and 33, the House of Delegate seat in District 87, the Sterling District seat on the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff.

Republican Party: The State Senate seat in District 13.

5. Know about possible traffic delays
On Tuesday, June 11, traffic delays may occur in the vicinity of John Champe, Riverside, and Tuscarora high schools between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., as both graduation ceremonies and a primary election will be taking place at these schools. To access parking, voters should follow posted signs and graduation attendees should observe law enforcement direction.

6. Stay Informed Before, During and After the Election

Text LCVOTES to 888777 to receive text alerts from the Loudoun County Office of Elections and Voter Registration or sign up for the Election Update category through Alert Loudoun, the county’s email and text notification system.

Follow the Office of Elections and Voter Registration on Facebook and Twitter. Loudoun County Government also posts general information on Facebook and Twitter.

Get election results: Preliminary results of voting in Loudoun County in Tuesday’s election will be available following the closing of the polls on election night. Loudoun County preliminary results will be available here as they are reported. Additionally statewide results will be available from the Virginia Department of Elections.

More information about the June 11, 2019, election is online at loudoun.gov/JunePrimary.

A Primary Election has been called and is scheduled on June 11, 2019, to nominate candidates for offices to be voted on in the November 5, 2019, General Election.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to view sample ballots for each district.

Outside of being a lawyer, I’m most fulfilled by community service work. I am honored to volunteer for and sit on the ...
05/30/2019

Outside of being a lawyer, I’m most fulfilled by community service work. I am honored to volunteer for and sit on the Board of Directors of the Loudoun Community Cat Coalition. Today, I attended the groundbreaking of the new Loudoun County Animal Shelter with volunteers from my organization and the Humane Society of Loudoun County. This facility will open in Summer 2020 and will be the first public animal shelter in the country to meet 100% of the standards set by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

Live release rates for the shelter have soared under Director Nina Stively (pictured left), and I truly appreciate the leadership of the Chair of the County Board of Supervisors Phyllis Randall (pictured center).

I feel very lucky to live and work here and want to give back! Everyone can and should. Pick your favorite organization and give them a call. Many groups need volunteers for low time-commitment work such as transportation, hanging fliers, or making calls.

I've been advocating for people accused of crimes since my first day as a Public Defender in 2007. In the ensuing 12 yea...
05/29/2019
Left and Right Agree on Criminal Justice: They Were Both Wrong Before

I've been advocating for people accused of crimes since my first day as a Public Defender in 2007. In the ensuing 12 years, I've felt heartened to watch the discussion surrounding criminal justice issues evolve across the whole nation to acknowledge and account for what I was seeing literally daily: addiction, homelessness, poverty, over-incarceration, over-charging, recidivist crimes, misnomered truth-in-sentencing, mandatory minimums, the jury penalty, mental illness, systemic challenges, racial disparity, economic disparity, barriers to available services, limited access to housing, and more. This article backs up what I've known for some time, these criminal justice reform issues transcend party lines and these disparate times, and thoughts are evolving rapidly. However, I know that for myself and many of my defense attorney brethren, we can sometimes feel frustration when it seems that this nationwide awareness stops at the local courthouse door. I truly hope that everyone will take some time to learn about the criminal justice system, and contact their elected officials (to include the Commonwealth's Attorney in your locality) to discuss these matters. Adult criminal courtrooms are open to the public, and I encourage you to go. Anyone can come watch these dockets. Unfortunately, it's easy to think of humans charged with crimes as Criminals, but when given the opportunity to listen to them, you'll likely see that most of the Accused have stories that are sad, are actively carrying heavy burdens, and want to do better...or, are outright innocent. Dedicated defense attorneys can present their clients in their best and most human light to the court, but community awareness, legislative change, and constituent advocacy are tools more powerful than any one favorable court hearing or talented attorney.

I'll be posting articles addressing these topics from time to time, and would love to discuss them with anyone at almost any time.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/16/us/politics/criminal-justice-system.html?searchResultPosition=2

In a new report, Democrats and Republicans denounced the “tough on crime” approach as unsparingly as they once promoted it.

Useful employment resource from Loudoun County: The Loudoun Workforce Resource Center invites the community to attend a ...
05/10/2019
Loudoun County: Workforce Resource Center Workshops

Useful employment resource from Loudoun County:

The Loudoun Workforce Resource Center invites the community to attend a Job Search in the Digital Age workshop with AARP Community Ambassador Katherine Ponds. The workshop will be held at Rust Library, 380 Old Waterford Road NW, Leesburg, Thursday, May 23, 2019, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

Learn about the newest and best websites and apps to help with your job search so you can boost your online presence and search like a digital champ! You’ll also get tips on how to age-proof your resume and use keywords to get your resume noticed. While the workshop is designed for older adults, job seekers of any age are welcome.

The Workforce Resource Center’s mission is to connect job seekers and employers to meet their employment goals. The center is open to the public and all services are offered at no cost to both employers and job seekers. Registration is required for this workshop and can be completed online at loudoun.gov/wrcworkshops. For more information about the center, call 703-777-0150 or visit loudoun.gov/wrc.

Congrats to the VWAA for this fundraiser. Despite the jokes, many lawyers care about giving back to their community! I'm...
05/06/2019
Empty Bowls Sale Nets $3K

Congrats to the VWAA for this fundraiser. Despite the jokes, many lawyers care about giving back to their community! I'm the proud owner of one of these bowls myself.

https://loudounnow.com/2019/04/30/empty-bowls-sale-nets-3k/

The Loudoun Chapter of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association’s Empty Bowls sale on Saturday during Leesburg’s Flower and Garden Festival raised $3,000 to support Loudoun Hunger Relief. By early afternoon, all 135 donated clay bowls—created by area crafters—had been sold. Since the project...

Loudoun County is operating an overnight drop-in center for people to take care of their basic daily needs, including me...
04/24/2019

Loudoun County is operating an overnight drop-in center for people to take care of their basic daily needs, including meals, access to shower and laundry facilities, and other resources.

The drop-in services will be provided temporarily at the Sterling Community Center, 120 Enterprise Street, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.

The county will provide free transportation from the Douglass Community Center, 405 East Market Street in Leesburg, to the drop-in center with a shuttle bus departing nightly at 9:00 p.m.

The drop-in center is open to adults, 18 years of age or older. A photo ID is required. People in need of assistance should call 703-777-0420.

Drop-in services will return to their permanent location at the Loudoun Homeless Services Center in Leesburg when renovations to that building are complete in May 2019.

Loudoun County oversees the operation of the drop-in center in partnership with the Loudoun County Continuum of Care (CoC). The CoC is a coalition of public, nonprofit and faith-based organizations that provide a variety of shelter and support services to persons who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Staff support for the CoC is provided by the Loudoun County Department of Family Services.

Members of the community who are interested in supporting the county’s efforts to serve people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness may call 571-258-3033.

People with mental health challenges account for some of the saddest parts of my practice. From the over-incarceration o...
04/10/2019
Loudoun County, VA

People with mental health challenges account for some of the saddest parts of my practice. From the over-incarceration of criminal defendants with mental health problems to the devastating impact that these diseases can have on families, I know that people need help, hope, and options. Loudoun County is attempting to help in many ways, to include the new General District Court Mental Health docket, and classes like this.

Please consider attending if a mental health disease is impacting your life of the life of a loved one.

"Seats are available in the next session of Adult Mental Health First Aid, which is scheduled for Saturday, June 1, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 44330 Mercure Circle in Sterling."

https://www.loudoun.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=4784

Seats Available in Upcoming Adult Mental Health First Aid Class June 1

Address

116 Edwards Ferry Road, Suite P
Leesburg, VA
20176

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:30
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:30
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:30
Thursday 09:00 - 17:30
Friday 09:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(703) 777-1349

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