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Wife denied CHP in Amelia County Va.
Yesterday was the date for my wife's ore tenus hearing on her CHP denial. We went to court. Our attorney spoke with the commonwealths attorney, they signed some papers. The judge came in and my wife's case was called. The commonwealths attorney spoke saying that they had made a mistake and my wife was not disqualified from obtaining a permit.Then the judge signed the paper granting her permit . It took less than 5 minutes from the time the judge entered the court room.
Sounds easy doesn't it? But it cost us nearly $1000 in lawyer's fees, 3 different background checks(2 by the county because we were charged for a second check when she had to re-submit her original application) and one which she requested on her own. The total also includes long distance phone calls, fees for certified records from N.C and gas for trips to and from the county courthouse. Her original application was submitted in early October
During the 6 month odyssey, The county sherrif went back and forth on the reasons for his recommending the denial. First saying it was for the dismissed charge in N.C. Then saying it was for the misdemeanor paraphernalia charge 16 or more years ago. At one point he said that he didn't think my wife should get a permit because she was a drug addict and dealer. (Trying to use the personal knowledge thing perhaps?) But when our lawyer filed a subpoena, requesting all of the sheriff's records and documentation supporting that "opinion" he could not supply any. Finally it came down to the dismissed charge in North Carolina more than 30 years ago. The sheriff and others claimed they could not read the copies of the court records from North Carolina. Yes, a lot of what they sent was unreadable. But the pertinent line, "case dismissed at request of prosecuting attorney" was legible even to me , and I sometimes have to use a magnifying glass to read things. I did not need one to read that. Our lawyer sent another copy to the commonwealths attorney with that line highlighted and he then agreed that there was no reason under the Va shall issue statute to deny the permit.
Finally, under pressure fro the commonwealths attorney, the sheriff signed off on the permit also. The final step was for the clerk of the court to agree to issue the permit. First she said it would be issued if she had something in writing from the commonwealths attorney and the sheriff saying it was okay to issue it. However, when she got those letters, she backed out saying the the original denial was by the judge and she did not feel comfortable going against the judges original decision. Thus, our 5 minutes in court.
Could we have fought and won this ourselves? Maybe. Was the sheriff jerking us around and trying to assert his personal opinions instead of following the law? Probably. But on the advice of our attorney we aren't going to try and per sue this any further. Hopefully, Amelia county has learned a few things about Virginia's Shall issue laws and will follow the laws in the future. If not, I can recommend an great lawyer to anyone who needs one.
Oh yes, the permit has not been issued yet. It should be mailed out in a week or two. Our attorney said that if it isn't to contact him and he would take care of it