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.
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This was the most inspiring and educational day I’ve had in a long time. Never hesitate to visit or contact your elected...
01/18/2020

This was the most inspiring and educational day I’ve had in a long time. Never hesitate to visit or contact your elected officials regarding matters you care about. It’s truly a reminder that elections have consequences and all politics are local.

What makes a good lobby day great?

✅ Having nearly 100 volunteer advocates come from across the Commonwealth.
✅ Being recognized on the floor of the House of Delegates by Delegate Alfonso Lopez.
✅ Meeting with Attorney General Mark Herring (with Commonwealth's Attorney Buta Biberaj) about criminal justice reform priorities.

Thank you all for making this the single biggest lobby day for criminal justice reform.

https://www.facebook.com/#
01/16/2020
Town of Leesburg, Virginia

https://www.facebook.com/#

Construction of the new Loudoun County courthouse will be starting soon. It is expected to last approximately 2.5 years.

Once construction begins, the Church Street and Semones parking lots will be closed. The Semones lot will reopen once construction is completed. Free public parking is provided in the Pennington Parking garage, which has more than 700 spaces.

To sign up for email and text notifications, or to view project details, visit loudoun.gov/courts-expansion.

* Loudoun County Government is managing the construction of this project.

"There's no such thing as someone else's war. Your creature comforts aren't the only things worth fighting for." - Jason...
01/15/2020
Record Number of Advocates to Fill the Halls of the Virginia General Assembly in Support of Criminal Justice Reform — Justice Forward Virginia

"There's no such thing as someone else's war. Your creature comforts aren't the only things worth fighting for." - Jason Isbell

I'm very excited to be attending the 2020 Justice Reform Lobby Day and Defenders’ Day of Action this Friday. The status quo can come to feel too comfortable and normal to question, and the steady creep of mass-incarceration and over-criminalization too subtle to notice. It's important to question why these things exist, what purpose (if any) they serve, and who they benefit (private prisons, for example). It is worth your time and effort, and even uncomfortable feelings, to stand against unfair practices and policies. Contact me if you want information to assist in speaking with your local government.

https://justiceforwardva.com/blog/record-setting-lobby-day?fbclid=IwAR1gJwPqY1Jc0R_J22HepIwncCMP1WK2evQ6lv9UM9hV6I6XnwcIFuzzoNU

ARLINGTON, VA -- Justice Forward Virginia is thrilled to announce a record turnout for its 2020 Justice Reform Lobby Day and Defenders’ Day of Action, scheduled for January 17, 2020 in Richmond, VA. Over 100 volunteer advocates from across the Commonwealth have signed up to participate in the larg...

There is a difference between decriminalization and legalization. Decriminalization still permits pretextual stops of ci...
01/06/2020
Virginia Governor Makes Marijuana Decriminalization Top Of Legislative Agenda | WAMU

There is a difference between decriminalization and legalization. Decriminalization still permits pretextual stops of citizens and disproportionate enforcement. https://wamu.org/story/20/01/03/virginia-governor-makes-marijuana-decriminalization-top-of-legislative-agenda/

Northam released a host of proposals that would replace jail time for possession of marijuana with a light fine and clear the records of people with prior convictions.

Fairfax County will no longer prosecute citizens for simple possession of marijuana. This article provides some first-ha...
01/02/2020
Having My Day in Court: Dramatic First Day Under New Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney

Fairfax County will no longer prosecute citizens for simple possession of marijuana. This article provides some first-hand context and color for this important decision. https://bluevirginia.us/2020/01/having-my-day-in-court-first-day-under-new-fairfax-commonwealths-attorney?fbclid=IwAR3PdQUNW4frPo4adCSLbe8HMQikEduYm3dMJIl2qnuxczFDLYYGPtMwFE8

First off, let me say that every single person in Virginia should spend one day in a criminal court and see what the criminal "justice" system looks like. If you come away dry-eyed, you're stronger th

This is very big news and a long time coming for Loudoun County residents.
11/27/2019

This is very big news and a long time coming for Loudoun County residents.

After Years of Effort, Sheriff Chapman Lauds Amended Traffic Ordinances to Fix Gap in State Law

A nearly six-year effort by Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman to remedy a serious gap in the Virginia motor code has been finally resolved at the local level with the passing of two amendments to the county’s codified ordinances by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.

The amendments allow Loudoun Sheriff’s deputies investigating a minor crash the discretion to issue a summons to a driver instead of Reckless Driving - a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted of Reckless Driving, the driver faces up to $2,500 in fines, and up to one year in jail. The amended ordinances, Failure by the operator to give full time and attention to driving and Failure to keep a vehicle under control, will be pre-payable by a maximum $250 fine and would not assign demerit points to a driver’s record.

Across the Commonwealth, law enforcement has little option but to charge an at-fault driver involved in minor accidents with Reckless Driving for accidents not witnessed by the deputy/officer. “The amendments relieve our deputies of the current state code constraints and provide drivers a much fairer legal recourse,” said Sheriff Chapman. “Previously, the charge of Reckless Driving could only be reduced to Improper Driving, a less serious charge, by a judge or at the request of the Commonwealth Attorney,” added Sheriff Chapman.

A review conducted in 2017 determined of 795 Reckless Driving cases in Loudoun County’s General District Court, 89% were reduced to Improper Driving.

Since 2014, Sheriff Chapman has urged the General Assembly to amend Improper Driving statute language, and has taken extensive efforts to support statewide legislation that would remedy the current Virginia Code.

In addition, with support from Vice-Chair Ralph Buona (Ashburn), they obtained the successful adoption of the county ordinance on November 13, 2019, by a 7-0-2 vote by the Board of Supervisors amending the Loudoun County Ordinances by adding two additional traffic infractions. The amendment to Loudoun County’s Ordinances will mirror those of 11 other Virginia jurisdictions that established local ordinances that provide law enforcement the ability to cite drivers for a lesser charge.

Sheriff Chapman will continue to work with state legislators to establish a uniform code for law enforcement regarding Improper Driving.

Residents can view amended ordinances 466.07 and 466.08 at www.loudoun.gov/ordinances.

I read this article with great interest and a lot of consternation. I don't practice in Alexandria, but I do represent a...
10/02/2019
Alexandria refunding more than 2,000 speeding tickets

I read this article with great interest and a lot of consternation. I don't practice in Alexandria, but I do represent and counsel clients charged with speeding infractions. Sometimes, we will discuss that judges will routinely believe police officers over the accused, assuming the police officer has written calibration certificates for the proper dates with no obvious defects. What this doesn't account for is when the calibration process, performed by humans, is flawed, happened here. I'm glad Alexandria is taking remedial steps, and to many, a speeding ticket is no big deal. But if you speak to any criminal defense lawyer, they will tell you what a large impact even a stop for speeding can have on someone's life. Demerit points and unpaid court costs can lead to license suspensions, which can cause loss of employment or other collateral consequences. If people drive out of desperation to their job while suspended, they can face jail and further license suspension, a cycle from which they may never emerge. A traffic stop based on a radar reading may lead to search and seizure, arrest, impoundment of vehicle, and other criminal charges. Even if exonerated, a person may have a difficult time over the course of years recovering from this sort of event. We should not blindly trust our government systems. We should not think of defense attorneys as paid liars. Even though someone in the city noticed this issue in 2017, it was still ongoing through half of 2019! This malfeasance (or nonfeasance) affected up to ~2,200 lives. https://www.insidenova.com/news/crime_police/alexandria-refunding-more-than-speeding-tickets/article_af092a24-e53c-11e9-b2ef-23974f0c7661.html

Alexandria officials announced Wednesday that the city refund 2,169 speeding tickets issued over the last three years because the citations were based on police speedometers that were not sufficiently tested.

I am so sad to hear of the passing of Clara. She always brightened my day, and I loved to hear her southern drawl on the...
09/05/2019

I am so sad to hear of the passing of Clara. She always brightened my day, and I loved to hear her southern drawl on the phone when I would call the office. I will really miss her.

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of one of our beloved colleagues and friends, Clara Neeley. Clara left us on Thursday, August 29th at home with her family after a lengthy fight with cancer. For six years from 2012 to 2018, Clara was the face of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. She was the first person you saw when you came through the door. Attorneys were typically greeted with her charming smile, sense of humor, and sharp wit. Clara was well known in the Northern Virginia legal community before coming to Leesburg having worked for over 20 years for Raby and Stafford Law Offices in Alexandria as well as Whitestone, Brent, Young, & Merril P.C. in Fairfax. “The loss of Clara has been felt by everyone in this office as well as local attorneys and court staff who continually asked about her,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman. “Her friendship positively impacted all of our lives and we will remember her with great fondness.”

Update from the County regarding courthouse parking in Leesburg. I'm happy to say that my clients are able to use the co...
07/25/2019
Courts Complex Expansion | Loudoun County, VA - Official Website

Update from the County regarding courthouse parking in Leesburg. I'm happy to say that my clients are able to use the convenient, private parking lot by my building, however!
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The new Pennington Parking Garage at the Loudoun County Courts Complex in Leesburg is scheduled to open Thursday, August 1, 2019. At the same time, the surface Pennington Lot next to the garage will close temporarily for renovations. Members of the public who have business at the courts or in the Town of Leesburg may begin parking in the new garage, which has 717 spaces on four levels. The fourth level of the garage will remain closed to parking at this time and is inaccessible.

Motor vehicle access to the new garage will remain the same as the existing access to the Pennington Lot, which is from Church Street NE in Leesburg. The garage has a single entry and exit point for vehicles; however, all pedestrians entering and exiting the garage must follow a new pedestrian path that extends from the southeast corner of the garage structure to North Street NE. There will be no pedestrian access to the garage from Church Street.

Renovations to the Pennington surface lot and work on the extension of Church Street are expected to take about two months. There is no impact to the Semones Parking Lot at this time. For additional information about public parking locations in Leesburg, visit the town’s website.

The parking improvements are part of an expansion of the Loudoun County courts complex, which includes the construction of a new 92,000-square-foot courthouse, renovation of the existing courthouse and historic Valley Bank building as well as improved pedestrian access to the courts buildings.

Additional information about the project can be found at loudoun.gov/courts-expansion.

The 4th Circuit strikes down Virginia’s “Habitual Drunkardl interdiction law! I’ve always found this law disturbing in t...
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! Th...
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 th...
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!

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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