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NORTHERN VIRGINIA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney covering clients from the City of Alexandria and Alexandria County, Arlington County, City of Falls Church, Falls Church County, Fairfax City, the Towns of Herndon and Vienna, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Loudoun County, and Stafford County.

Attorney Sheryl Shane is the right lawyer for you 

Most persons are stunned, fearful, and often of unclear mind when approached by an officer. This occurs whether or not the party has committed a wrongful act. It is simply the status of the enforcer’s position. For example, a person is driving on the highway, looks in the review mirror, and sees a police officer coming from behind or passing on the side, and then all of a sudden, the heart skips a beat. Whether innocent or not, one worries until that officer moves ahead and then and only then does one relax. Now just imagine, in real life, an officer does detain you and imagine further inquiries and that in addition, you may be recorded. It is so easy for a person to say the wrong thing, to misstate a fact, or to arrive at incorrect conclusions.

Officers have been trained to elicit admissions and confessions and to gather evidence to prove allegations. It is not frowned upon for an officer to tell a lie in order to convince the citizen under investigation to provide a needed statement. An officer can use trickery by pretending to be one’s friend or play down the alleged crime. Sometimes, the police invite a citizen to voluntarily visit the police station to talk. A detective may be present.  If an interpreter is required, one will be provided. At some juncture, the police usually leave the room so it can be proven the party was not under arrest and therefore did not require the Miranda rights to be given.  Statements are made by the interrogated party. Ordinary people when left to fend for themselves in the confines of a police interview room forget the officer’s job is to relax the party being interrogated. It is the job of the officer to provide the evidence necessary for the prosecutor to convict. The police are not hired to act as a social worker, psychologist or religious person where privilege may apply to the accused. The officer makes the case and finds probable cause. The Law Offices of Sheryl Shane are here to help straighten out faulty evidence even from the beginning of the process.

There are times officers or detectives receive a tip. There are undercover police sent out to pose as ordinary citizens. At other times there are snitches working deals to receive dismissals or lighter sentences. Some defendants choose a trial and others a plea. Attorney Sheryl Shane knows how to work with these scenarios. Whether the charges involve a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence), a simple marijuana or more serious drug case such as Heroin, Sex charges, Property crimes, a Crime of Violence, or Traffic issue. The Law Office of Sheryl Shane will be there for you. She will examine the case and look to the absence of proof and mitigating factors. The Law Offices of Sheryl Shane will inform you when you need an immigration consultant. If you are looking for an all around great defense, you have the right person. The best legal outcome is of highest priority.

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How the Law Office of Sheryl Shane deals with Clients

Attorney Sheryl Shane is an attorney with (24) twenty-four years legal experience with emphasis on Criminal and Traffic courtroom litigation. Her length of time in the profession of law has provided her with the ability to serve her clients in a win/win manner whether the client chooses a trial or a plea bargain. After listening to her client(s) and the facts behind the summons or arrest or indictment in a criminal or traffic case, she will assess the situation and review the current law at hand. The next step is to refresh with her client regarding what occurred at the time of the alleged incident(s) and to check for truthfulness and consistency of the defendant, the police officer, trooper, deputy and the prosecutor’s other witnesses. Let’s not forget, there will be additional types of evidence to review such as documentary and illustrative. Since each individual has experienced particular actions or inactions regarding their individual case, a second factual review is provided. Subsequently, Attorney Sheryl Shane will delve deeper into the case in order to provide her best defense possible for the client. All major strategies are run by the defendant and are utilized upon the consent of the client. Since Attorney Sheryl Shane has many years of experience at the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, the General District Court, the Circuit Court, and the Appeal process, she possesses substantial knowledge with procedural matters. Hearings and Trials are an area of her job with which she feels quite comfortable. Defending interests are of utmost importance to the success of her business. The Law Office of Sheryl Shane is known for listening to her client(s), discussing possibilities and different outcomes in a truthful manner, and fighting hard to meet her client’s needs and desires. The Law Office of Sheryl Shane is passionate about the protection of her clients and will strategize to acquire the best outcomes available. Attorney Sheryl Shane is well known to go to trial when necessary. The Commonwealth prosecutors understand that it is not her policy to just settle quickly and walk away. She presents her arguments based on facts and law and is willing to settle only when requested to do so by her client. If you are looking for an attorney who is knowledgeable and understanding, she is the right lawyer to choose.

Attorney Sheryl Shane – Experienced Trial Attorney

The examination of evidence is very important. With new technology, one must keep up with the ever-changing Laws and Court Rules to determine what evidence is admissible and whether it may be excluded. A good lawyer will in most situations look to whether there are computers, videotapes, telephones, and other devices utilized in your case. She will research and determine with your support how to navigate through these items and discuss how to use toward your benefit or how to try to keep private. There are times when the prosecutor may attempt to offer evidence in a trial which the defense feels is hearsay, prejudicial, or harassment. You need a lawyer who will make objections and do her best on direct and cross-examinations. This is a time when it is important to hire an attorney with substantial trial experience who has worked with the Rules of Evidence and applies to the case at hand. Before hiring an attorney – ask your lawyer about their experience. You need to know what to expect.

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Familiar with the Court System

Clients need to be fully informed of the court process once an attorney is retained for their case. The Supreme Court of Virginia has established General Rules applicable to all Courts, provides Rules of Evidence, Establishes Practice and Procedures and forms, and other relevant information. States are laws are passed by the Legislatures and applied to the people and in some cases, businesses. One needs an attorney to walk into court on their behalf who feels strong and confident. Hire an attorney who wants you to win or beat the charge just as much as you want for yourself.

Attorney Sheryl Shane steps into your shoes and feels and sees what position you were in when approached by police enforcement. She puts herself into that place. She then analyzes the rules and laws which have emanated for the United States and Commonwealth of Virginia Constitution and does her best to determine how to defend you in a well thought out manner. On the other hand, there are times when in Court, and listening to the Prosecutors witnesses testifying, she may catch a note which rings positive for your case, and she will make use of their witnesses errors, misunderstandings, and inconsistencies and use toward your advantage. She will do her best to shoot from the hip and add greater strength to your case.

Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court

Police are often called regarding Domestic Violence Cases. Domestic Violence is basically the equivalent of an assault and battery against a family member or household member. These and juvenile criminal charges, some protective orders, and violations of protective orders can be heard at this court. Trials and hearings at this court are often kept confidential. Of course, there may be exceptions such as when a misdemeanor is appealed to a higher court, if a felony is certified after a preliminary hearing, or if a juvenile is certified as an adult. Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court is not a Court of Record. One of the consequences is that a party can appeal a misdemeanor ruling from this court and have it heard again at Circuit Court if done in a timely manner. The case will be heard from scratch just as if it had not been heard at all at the lower court. This does not take away from the importance of this Court. For at this Court – there are well-qualified judges, the same prosecutors, and real findings of innocence and guilt. A non-citizen convicted at this court can be prevented from becoming a citizen or be deported. This court has very real consequences. Defendants can win cases and perhaps the prosecutor will not appeal and the case is disposed of in its entirety. Some felonies are reduced to misdemeanors or dismissed. On the other hand, there are judgements which incarcerate adults and send children to shelters, detention facilities, and persons may be ruled against and ordered to participate in programs. This court has its purpose and its judgment can permanently change a person’s life. That is why it is so important to have an experienced attorney to represent one’s interest. Just like many other individuals who are educated and trained to fit their job description, the same applies to an attorney. It is the job of Sheryl Shane, Attorney at Law to be educated and familiar with the court system. Years of experience counts to help you.

General District Court

This Court does handle criminal, traffic, and civil matters. Regarding misdemeanor charges, one often sees cases involving Petty larceny, Marijuana charges, Assault and Battery, Prostitution, Bawdy house, DWI/DUI, Reckless Driving, Driving on a Revoked, Driving on a Suspended, Driving without a License, Hit and Run, Eluding, amongst others. There are also Felony cases which begin at this Court. Examples may include Possession and Distribution of Drugs (Controlled Substances), Grand Larceny, Embezzlement, Computer Crimes, Fraud, Malicious Wounding, and Robbery. Some Sex Crimes are started at the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and some are initiated here depending on the charge. Sometimes the Felonies are resolved and at other times they are sent up to the higher Court. Having an experienced lawyer with a solid professional history is so important at this court. There are times in which persons attempt to represent themselves and accept pleas and programs without knowing the full consequences of their actions. They may not understand issues involving a dismissal with or without prejudice, the difference between a dismissal and an expungement, nor the immigration effect of accepting a court program. Convictions of this type can be life-altering. Hire a lawyer who will be frank with you about the whole procedure and consequences. This is not a time to forgo the best professional legal counseling. It is very important to have someone on your side who is not only knowledgeable and passionate but also to have someone who takes the time to help you achieve your goals.

Circuit Court – the Court of Record

This is the Court where a defendant is indicted and read Felony charges (may be certified from a lower court - or direct indictment) or misdemeanor charges which have been appealed. At this Court there are jury trials unlike at the lower courts. An exception may arise when both the Prosecution and the Defendant agree to waive a trial by Jury. Evidentiary and Suppression Motions are heard at this Court. There are Court reporters for the Felonies. Defendants may hire stenographers for the misdemeanors. Preserving evidence for appeal may be important. Usually – more discovery is provided by the Prosecution at this level. This can be interpreted as the Defense attorney having more access to the evidence. Sometimes it may be a good strategy to advance to this stage if the Defense feels there may be a lack of evidence on the side of the State. Other times it may backfire if a Commonwealth takes back an offer since the case was pushed too far. All these issues should be taken into account. That is why it wise to have a lawyer like Sheryl Shane who is familiar with the system.

Another consideration at Circuit Court is whether to have a jury or bench trial. Jury trials involve much more work than non-jury trials. For instance, for jury trials, instructions relating to the trial must be prepared by both sides and the Judge decides which to use if both sides cannot agree. The Lawyers and Judge Voire Dire the potential jurors (ask questions), and a certain amount are taken off the panel by both sides. A trial begins with opening statements by the parties. There are times the Defense may forgo opening statement since the prosecution has the burden of proof regarding the elements of the alleged crime(s). Next, the prosecution put their case on. Afterward, the Defense usually puts on a case unless Defense attorney has requested a Motion to Strike and won or for other strategic reasons. If a defendant decides against testifying, the jury should be instructed there is no presumption of guilt based on this failure to testify against oneself. After the evidence is presented by both sides, there are closing arguments. Next, the jury decides. If the jury finds guilt, there will be a subsequent separate trial where the jury determines punishment.

A few months later the Circuit Court judge rules on whether or not to follow the exact decision of the jury. Subsequently, motions may be made or an appeal may be filed. The ball is in the court of both the Prosecutor and Defense as to whether any further actions are necessary. The Judge may have his or her own agenda and schedule further acts or non-action.

Virginia Sentencing Guidelines for Felonies

The Virginia Sentencing Commission has been created within the Judiciary as an agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia. The purpose is to ensure the imposition of the appropriate and just criminal punishment for all individuals convicted of felonies at the Circuit Court. The Commission has developed Discretionary Sentencing Guidelines to assist the Court as to what is the appropriate punishment for these persons. The Virginia Sentencing guidelines in most instances take into account the defendant’s criminal history, current charges, along with other facets of his/her life. Points are assigned to the defendants past and prior acts. Probation Officers research the Defendant and draft a Pre-Sentence Investigation Reports. The Judge and both parties are given a copy. The judge reviews these guidelines and decides what type of punishment should be imposed upon the defendant. This is done after a trial and when the defendant was found guilty or when a defendant took a plea or is later at the sentencing hearing. The guidelines also may address fines, boot camp incarceration, local correctional facility incarceration, diversion and detention center incarceration, home incarceration, electronic monitoring, day or evening reporting, probation, and community service. These guidelines can assist a defendant to make a choice between a trial and a plea when he may have an idea of what type of punishment lies ahead. But, one must always remember that a Judge is not required to follow the guidelines. The Sentencing guidelines are discretionary, not absolute.

Many times when a defendant is found guilty of a crime or takes a plea to a crime, the Judge will impose actual time, suspended time, treatment, programs, and fines. Secondly, there are statutes which permit suspended impositions for persons charged with certain crimes and the Court will defer on imposing a conviction if the Defendant complies with Court Order. Unfortunately, life happens and failures to comply do arise, and persons violate the rules of a Court Order whether or not due to their own misgivings. Sometimes it is done with purpose and others due to emergencies, inability, negligence, or a simple mistake. When this happens, the party at issue will be required to explain to the Court and show good cause why there is non-compliance or in the alternative, the Court may impose sanctions. Punishments may be a new conviction(s), revocation of freedom, an extension of a probationary period, treatment, additional fines or perhaps community service. It is a no-brainer that an attorney who learns details about the defendant and fully discusses the client’s life and events which lead up to this point is the attorney you want to represent you. The Law Office of Sheryl Shane will do just that and introduce your evidence to the court in a passionate and persuasive manner. Not every case is the same and you deserve individual attention.

Other Practice Areas

  • Driving Crimes
  • DWI/DUI
  • Underage Alcohol
  • Driving with No License
  • Driving on Suspended License
  • Driving on Revoked License
  • Driving on Forfeited License
  • Hit & Run (Duty to stop)
  • Eluding
  • Reckless Driving
  • Drug Crimes
  • Marijuana Possession
  • Marijuana Distribution
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance (class I, II, III, IV)
  • Manufacture Controlled Substance (class I, II, III, IV)
  • Distribution Controlled Substance (class I, II, III, IV)
  • Transportation of Drugs into The Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Prohibiting Sale or Manufacture of Drugs near Certain Properties
  • Drug Paraphernalia
  • Gang Charges
  • Prohibited Criminal Street Gang Participation
  • Recruitment of Persons for Criminal Street Gang
  • Sex Crimes
  • Rape
  • Carnal Knowledge of Child
  • Forcible Sodomy
  • Object Sexual Penetration
  • Aggravated Sexual Battery
  • Sexual Battery
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Indecent Liberties with Children
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Penetration of Mouth of Child with Lascivious Intent
  • Prostitution
  • Frequent Bawdy House
  • Peeping
  • Possession of Child Pornography
  • Distribution of Child Pornography
  • Use of Communication Systems to Facilitate Offenses against Children
  • Property Crimes and (Property and Violence)
  • Grand Larceny
  • Petit Larceny
  • Concealment
  • Unauthorized Use of Vehicle
  • Receiving Stolen Goods
  • Intent to Sell or Distribute Stolen Property
  • Embezzlement
  • Trespass
  • Injuring Property (Destruction of Property)
  • Robbery
  • Bank Robbery
  • Computer Fraud/ Forgery
  • Computer Trespass
  • Computer Invasion of Property
  • Computer theft
  • Violent Crimes
  • Assault & Battery
  • Domestic Violence
  • Stalking
  • Unlawful Wounding
  • Malicious Wounding
  • Aggravated Malicious Wounding
  • Strangulation
  • Weapons Crimes
  • Possession/ Transportation/ Concealment of Firearms – Convicted Felons
  • Use or display of Firearm in Committing Felony
  • Possession of Firearms while in Possession of Certain Substances
  • Concealed Weapon
  • Brandishing Firearm
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