Locate a Great Defense Attorney in Virginia
Lawyers in Virginia's Major Cities
- Fairfax County
- Chesterfield County
- Virginia Beach City County
- Richmond City County
- Loudoun County
- Prince William County
Have you been charged with a crime in Virginia? Do you have an lawyer? One of the first things you should do after being arrested in Virginia is to find a defense attorney. Virginia is one of the oldest states in the US and as such has a rich history and complex legal system. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner they can begin protecting your rights and preparing your defense. Even if you did not commit the crime, you should hire a lawyer. An experienced Virginia lawyer can help you in many ways from ensuring you receive a fair punishment for your crime to presenting a strong defense. We will help you find an criminal attorney with specific expertise in defending your type of case.
Helping You Get a Fair Sentence
The type of punishment issued for each crime can vary quite a bit from case to case. Two people with identical charges can receive dramatically different sentences. For example if you are arrested for a DUI in Virginia you face a potential loss of your driver’s license, fines and even jail time. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate a more lenient sentence or reduce the amount of fines or jail time required. In some cases your attorney may even be able to get the charges dropped. Hiring a lawyer as soon as you are arrested may help you to stay out of jail and avoid unnecessarily harsh punishments.
Prepare a Strong Defense
If the Virginia State Police, or a local law enforcement agency has arrested you, you need a defense attorney. Contact us for assistance finding a lawyer you can trust. We can lead you to a skilled attorney with experience defending crimes like:
- Weapons Charges
- Domestic Violence
- Sexual Offenses
- Probation/Parole Violations
- And More.
A lawyer with experience defending these types of crimes will understand what factors can influence your sentencing and will fight for the best possible outcome to your situation. Optimally your attorney will be able to get the charges dropped so you can get back to your life. Before you head to trial in one of the 120 circuit courts in Virginia, make sure that you have an attorney.
Fight for Your Rights
Did you know that you are legally entitled to specific rights when you are arrested or charged with a crime in any of the 95 counties in Virginia? These rights help to ensure that you will receive a fair trial when you go to court. You have:
- The Right to Remain Silent
- The Right to an Attorney
- The Right to a Speedy Trial
Make sure you take advantage of these rights by hiring an attorney that will battle for you and ensure that you receive the best possible defense. Don’t talk with the police until you have an attorney by your side. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Facing criminal charges in Virginia can be intimidating, but you don’t have to do it alone. Your attorney will help you prepare a defense, fight for your rights and help you to get a fair sentence. Let us help you find the attorney you need. If you have been arrested or if someone you love is facing charges, contact us today.
Are You Facing Criminal Charges in Virginia?
If you find yourself charged with a criminal offense in Virginia, it is quite normal for you to stress over these charges. You may even feel a little panicky as you wonder what the outcome will be. The criminal justice process isn’t always straightforward or easy for the layperson to grasp, and a lack of information about your charges and the applicable criminal law can increase your anxiety. That is why, as you look toward building a robust defense against your criminal charges, it will be important for you to learn about criminal law as it will affect your future.
In Virginia, every criminal charge is either a felony or a misdemeanor. As in most states, Virginia uses these important designations to indicate the potential sentences that will apply to specific charges in most instances. In Virginia, the punishment for misdemeanors is limited to a maximum of one year in jail, while a felony conviction will result in a minimum of one year in state prison.
Felonies and misdemeanors are further classified based on severity of the crime. For felonies, these classifications are Class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, while misdemeanors fall into either Class 1, 2, 3, or 4. However, certain crimes are prescribed a minimum or maximum sentence outside the sentencing schedule created by these classifications. Your best option is to hire a criminal justice lawyer in Virginia who is knowledgeable about the potential punishment the court is likely to apply to the charges against you.
Locate a Virginia criminal lawyer here.
Five Common Crimes Charged in Virginia
A significant amount of information is available pertaining to criminal offenses and the criminal law of Virginia, especially when it comes to the commonly charged crimes in the state. However, understanding and using this plethora of information begins with a basic understanding of each offense. Aside from that, if you have questions regarding how these criminal laws will apply to the charges against you, it is essential to discuss your circumstances and the exact charges with a criminal lawyer in Virginia.
In Virginia, the category, crimes against the person, includes a wide range of criminal offenses that cause physical or offensive harm to a victim. These crimes include the charges of murder, abduction, various sexual offenses, and, of course, assault and battery.
All assault charges in VA fall under a single general offense, but the Code of Virginia is made up of several separate provisions. These provisions address two separate classifications of assault and battery. The first – and less serious – is called simple assault. Simple assault is defined as threatening to cause physical injury to the victim, but without actually inflicting bodily injury. Simple assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor for which conviction will result in a maximum punishment of one year in jail.
The more serious crime, referred to as assault and battery, is charged when the actor actually causes physical injury to the victim. Absent any aggravating circumstances, assault and battery is still a Class 1 misdemeanor, but it can be charged as a heightened offense.
Virginia also imposes specific minimum sentences for simple assault in specific circumstances. It is considered a heightened offense if the simple assault is motivated by race, religion, color, or national origin. That means, if the actor commits simple assault for these reasons, although it is still a Class 1 misdemeanor, the mandatory minimum sentence is six months in jail.
If the actor commits the more serious offense of assault and battery and the act is motivated by race, religion, color, or national origin, then an assault and battery resulting in bodily injury rises to the level of a Class 6 felony. The mandatory minimum sentence is still six months, but the defendant faces a possible maximum of five years in prison.
Assault and battery is also a felony in other specified circumstances. These include:
- Assault and battery against specific victims: judges, police officers, correctional officers, firefighters and emergency personnel
- Assault and battery on a family member or member of the same household, called domestic violence or domestic assault
- Assault and battery by a prisoner
In the event that an assault and battery is perpetrated by a prisoner, such defendant faces charges for a Class 5 felony which increases the potential punishment to 10 years in prison. All other felony assaults are Class 6 felonies, with a potential maximum prison sentence of 5 years. While these heightened offenses fall under the same statute as misdemeanor, simple assault, it can be very helpful for you to engage an attorney who understands the potential ongoing ramifications of a felony conviction. For example, you may want to enlist the services of a domestic violence attorney in Virginia.
Find an experienced assault defense attorney Virginia.
The laws imposed by the state of Virginia against driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or controlled substances are very similar to those found in other states. Virginia determines whether or not a driver is operating his or her vehicle while under the influence by requiring drivers to take a chemical test – typically a breathalyzer – if a law enforcement officer observes signs of intoxication or impairment.
If a driver is found to be driving while his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures above the legal limit set by Virginia law, which is 0.08%, then the individual has broken the law against DUI. The two notable exceptions to the legal BAC limit of 0.08% are:
- Individuals younger than 21 years of age must maintain a BAC below 0.02%
- Individuals operating commercial vehicles must have a BAC that measures below 0.04%
Chemical tests for controlled substances are also available to law enforcement officers in Virginia and, if a driver is requested to undergo such tests, certain ramifications will take effect if a driver refuses to take a breath test or other chemical test.
In general, the administrative and criminal penalties for DUI in Virginia are determined based on the BAC of the driver and whether the driver has any prior DUI convictions on his or her record within the previous 10 years. The minimum and maximum criminal penalties for DUI convictions are determined as follows:
- First offense: any court-ordered restitution, which can include a short jail sentence, community service, or a fine
- Second offense: if the current offense occurs within five years of the first offense, then a minimum of one month and a maximum of one year in jail; if within 10 years of the first offense, then a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of one year in jail
- Third offense: if convicted within five years of an earlier offense, then a minimum of six months in jail; if within 10 years of an earlier offense, then a minimum of 90 days in jail
- Fourth offense: if within 10 years of an earlier offense, then a minimum of one year in jail
These jail terms are imposed upon conviction of DUI in addition to any administrative penalties which may include loss of driving privileges or the imposition of an ignition lock system. Also, substantial fines are likely upon any conviction of DUI. If a driver is facing a fourth or subsequent offense, a DUI attorney in Virginia is needed, because these charges will be for a felony DUI.
Finally, Virginia imposes harsher punishments and penalties for individuals whose BAC tests extremely high – such as on which is measured at 0.15% and 0.2%. Conviction for a first DUI offense with a BAC that measures between 0.15% and 0.199% will result in an additional five days in jail, while a first offense with a BAC at or above 0.2% will mean an additional 10 days in jail. These additional days in jail are doubled if there is a second DUI conviction within 10 years of the first.
Find a top drunk driving attorney Virginia.
Crimes involving stealing and theft are left open-ended in Virginia. The statutes related to these property crimes are generally titled as larceny, but they do not provide a specific definition of the actions included under this criminal offense. It is clear that taking another person’s property with the intent to keep it is larceny, but other forms of stealing, such as shoplifting and embezzlement, can also be charged under this criminal offense.
Virginia law recognizes two degrees of larceny. The division between these two degrees is based on the value of the property that was stolen. If the value is less than $200 – or, if the property was taken directly from the person of the victim, less than $5 – the offense is called petit larceny. This less serious offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia, and the maximum punishment for a conviction of petit larceny is one year in jail.
The more serious larceny offense, referred to as grand larceny, is defined as stealing any property:
- Valued at more than $200
- Valued at more than $5 if it is taken directly from the person of the victim
- Of any value, if such property is a firearm
Grand larceny is a felony offense which is punishable by a state prison sentence lasting a minimum of one year and up to a maximum of 20 years. However, the laws of Virginia, as written, give judges the discretion to charge grand larceny as a misdemeanor offense, in which case, the maximum prison sentence would be one year, just the same as allowed for other misdemeanors. Because of this deference held by the judges of Virginia, it can be incredibly helpful for you, as a defendant, to hire a Virginia criminal lawyer to handle your defense against grand larceny charges and fight for this lower level offense on your behalf.
Find a top Virginia theft lawyer.
In Virginia, any time a person unlawfully causes the death of another person, the criminal charge is homicide. More specifically however, if that death is intentionally or knowingly committed, then the offense is classified as a murder. Therefore, as in other states, Virginia considers it a more substantial and grave offense to cause the death of another person when the act is committed with the deliberate intent to kill.
In Virginia, the three degrees of murder charges are designated as capital murder, first-degree murder, and second-degree murder. The most serious of these degrees is capital murder which, as indicated by the terminology used in its name, can result in a convicted person being punished by capital punishment. In Virginia, the minimum sentence handed down upon conviction for capital murder is life in prison.
The charge of capital murder is reserved for the most egregious acts and methods of murder committed in the state of Virginia. Specifically, murder is considered to be a capital murder only when it is a deliberate, intentional, and premeditated killing which is committed:
- During an abduction
- In exchange for payment or murder for hire
- By a prisoner in a state or local correctional facility
- During the commission of robbery or attempted robbery
- During the commission of rape or attempted rape, forcible sodomy or attempted forcible sodomy or object sexual penetration
- Against a police officer or other member of law enforcement
- Upon more than one victim during the same incident
- Against more than one victim during any three-year period
- During the commission of a crime involving Schedule I or II controlled substances
- At the direction or order of an individual involved in a criminal enterprise
- Upon a pregnant woman, when it results in her death and a stillbirth
- On a victim younger than 14 years of age, when the actor is over 21
- During an act of terrorism or an attempted act of terrorism
First-degree murder is an extremely serious offense and Virginia law classifies it as a Class 2 felony. Upon conviction, the potential punishment ranges from a minimum of 20 years in prison and may go as high as life in prison. Charges of first-degree murder are restricted to cases of aggravated circumstances in which a murder is carried out by the use of poison, unlawful imprisonment, or other premeditated or preplanned acts.
Second-degree murder encompasses all other intentional or knowing killings in Virginia. The potential sentence for a person who is convicted of a second-degree murder ranges from a minimum of five years to a maximum of 40 years in state prison.
Find a murder defense attorney Virginia.
The laws of Virginia cite numerous offenses for crimes against the person and, among those are many very strict and substantial prohibitions against sexual offenses such as sexual battery and rape. These crimes are treated with increased gravity in Virginia due to the sexual nature of the crimes and the grievous harm to the victim.
Together, sexual battery, aggravated sexual battery, and rape contemplate all of the forms of non-consensual, unlawful sexual contact and intercourse. While sexual battery addresses a wider range of circumstances and forms of non-consensual contact, the charge of rape covers the more egregious actions.
In Virginia, sexual battery is defined as the non-consensual sexual abuse of the victim which is accomplished through the use of threat, force, intimidation, or ruse. Sexual battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia, and a conviction will result in a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
Aggravated sexual battery is felony, and a convicted person can be punished by a minimum of one year and a maximum of 20 years in prison. Aggravated sexual battery is a heightened offense, and this charge is appropriate when:
- The victim is younger than 13 years of age
- The victim was unable to consent to the act because of a physical disability or mental incapacity
- The victim was between the ages of 13 and 18, and was the child, stepchild, grandchild or step-grandchild of the actor
- The sexual battery was committed through the use of force or threat and the victim was older than 13 but under 15 years of age
- The act results in bodily injury or was committed by a person who used a dangerous weapon
Rape is the most serious sexual crime in Virginia. Defendants facing these extremely significant charges truly need to enlist the expertise of a rape defense lawyer in Virginia who has experience with similar crimes and is able to explore your potential paths for a defense. Rape is defined as non-consensual sexual intercourse with a victim which occurs:
- Through the use of force or threat of force, coercion, or ruse
- When victim is unable to consent because of mental incapacity or a physical disability
- When the victim is younger than 13 years of age
Rape is an extremely grave felony offense, and a conviction will result in a prison sentence for a minimum of five years up to a maximum of 25 years. If the rape involved a victim who was younger than 13 years of age, the maximum allowable punishment may extend to life in prison.
Find a top Virginia sex crimes lawyer.
The criminal lawyers in Virginia who are accepted into Criminal Lawyer are among the best in the state. These lawyers are prepared to defend a variety of crimes in Virginia. Our experience is not limited to the most common crimes in the state, and extends to defense of federal crimes and appellate level defense. Whether you are seeking a lawyer to defend you against serious charges such as murder – or from a less severe misdemeanor such as possession of a controlled substance, we can help.
Importance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
Not every attorney in Virginia handles criminal defense. Yet, it is extremely important to the potential outcome of your case and its subsequent ramifications – including the potential loss of your freedom – that you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Virginia.
A dedicated criminal lawyer is one who is not only more familiar with the criminal laws of Virginia and the specific charges against you, but he or she is also knowledgeable about the protocols involved in the filing of pretrial motions, criminal court procedures, techniques and limitations of the prosecution, and the best possible strategies for building strong defenses for those charged with specific crimes. This knowledge, derived from prior experience, is invaluable when it comes to the quality of your defense.
If you don’t know where to turn for defense against criminal charges in Virginia, turn to us.
[Disclaimer – this is not legal advice.]
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