Any kind of crime you commit has its consequences. Each charge attracts different effects depending on the provisions of the law. Therefore, it is always essential to seek a professional attorney to help you with your criminal charges to avoid facing the full force of the law. We at Virginia Criminal Attorney, in Fairfax, VA, and Northern Virginia, have the experience and resources needed to help our clients with any criminal charges they face.
Definition of Virginia Codes 18.2-25, 18.2-26, 18.2-27, 18.2-28
Several offenses fall under Virginia Code 18.2. Here are a few codes that will be discussed in this article.
- Virginia Code 18.2-25 - Attempts to commit a capital offense
- Virginia Code 18.2-26 - Attempts to commit a non-capital offense
- Virginia Code 18.2-27 - Attempts to commit a misdemeanor
- Virginia Code 18.2-28 - Maximum punishment for attempts
Virginia Code 18.2-25 - Attempts to Commit a Capital Offense
Under this Virginia code, anyone who attempts to commit an offense punishable by death is guilty of a Class 2 felony.
For a prosecutor to charge a defendant under this code, he or she must prove that the defendant had attempted to commit a capital offense that is punishable by death. In Virginia, capital murders are punishable by death and are explained under Virginia Code 18.2-31. The code considers murder as the willful, deliberate and premeditated the killing of:
- Another person through abduction. The abduction must have been committed with the intention of extorting money, financial benefit, or defiling the victim.
- Another person through the hiring of another person
- Another person by a prisoner confined in a correctional facility, or someone who is in the custody of an employee
- Another person during a robbery or through an attempted robbery
- Another person during the commissioning, after or attempt of rape, sodomy or object penetration
- A law enforcement officer
- A person as part of a similar act or transaction
- More than one person within a range of three years
- Another person during the commissioning and violation of a crime that involves Schedule one or two controlled substances
- A person below the age of fourteen by a person aged twenty-one years or older
- A member of the judicial system to disrupt the official duty of the respective victim
- Another person in the attempt or commissioning of an act of terrorism
Since murder is the main crime under capital offense, there are a couple of steps that describe the attempt to commit murder. These range of actions include:
- Stalking, ambushing, and tracking
- Breaking into the victims home or property
- Collection of all materials that are directly associated with murder
- For instance, paying someone to commit murder or convincing someone to take or do something that will lead to the death of someone
Virginia Code 18.2-26: Attempts to Commit a Non-capital Offense
Under this code, anyone who attempts to commit a non-capital felony is punished as follows:
- Punishable with a Class 4 felony if the felony he or she is about to commit is punishable by life imprisonment or a maximum of twenty years
- Punishable with a Class 5 felony if the felony he or she is about to commit is punishable by a maximum prison term of twenty years
- Punishable by a Class 6 felony if the felony he or she is about to commit is punishable by imprisonment of a maximum of twenty years
Non-capital Offenses in Virginia
Non-capital offenses are the majority of crimes committed within Virginia and the United States at large. These are non-serious offenses that do not warrant death as their penalty and include crimes related to sex, firearms violation, and fraud.
Virginia Code 18.2-27 Attempts to Commit Misdemeanor
Under this code, committing a misdemeanor offense is punishable with the same punishment that applies for the offense about to be committed.
Misdemeanor Offenses in Virginia
In Virginia, misdemeanors are classified in different classes. These classes are as follows:
- Class 1 misdemeanor, which includes offenses such as shoplifting, DWI, reckless driving
- Class 2 misdemeanor, which includes crimes such as a first offense of driving without a driving license
- Class 3 misdemeanor, which includes unintentional damage of a monument
- Class 4 misdemeanor, which includes driving while intoxicated and public swerving
Virginia Code 18.2-28: Maximum Punishment for Attempts
Under this penal code, any provision provided in this article shall not be punished with a maximum punishment that exceeds the offense that one intends to commit.
Proving “Attempt” to Commit Capital Felonies, Non-capital Felonies, and Misdemeanor
One of the most significant aspects described in the offenses stated above is the attempt to commit a specific crime. In other words, this can be explained as the purpose to commit a criminal act. An intent is a deliberate or mistaken purpose to do something. Intent can also be described as a mental state to undertake a particular action. Legally, an intent is divided into two categories, namely common-law delinquent intent and Model penal statute criminal intention. Common-law unlawful intent is categorized into three based on the level of culpability. These categories are as follows:
Malice aforethought is a type of intent delegated for murder. In the categories of crimes described above, malice aforethought falls under the Virginia Code 18-2-25 since it considers the attempt of felonies that are punishable by death. From the description provided above, malice aforethought can be described as “the intent to kill.”
The specific purpose of a crime is an extreme level of liability for other criminal offenses other than killing. Ideally, specific intent alludes that the offender acted with deep awareness. This falls under three particular categories which are described as follows:
- The defendant had the intention of causing specific bad results
- The defendant had the intention of doing something greater than the unlawful action
- The defendant continued to act with the knowledge that the activity they were about to undertake is illegal. Such action is referred to as scienter
General intent is less sophisticated compared with other types of intents. In this case, the intent is focused on unlawful action. Therefore, if the defendant acted intentionally, but without any additional desire to achieve specific results, this becomes a general intent. It can also be described as the focus of an offender to commit one crime without any additional purpose.
It is hard to prove general intent since it is locked inside the offender’s mind. Ordinarily, the only evidence that can be considered is through the confession of the defendant, which cannot be forcibly obtained from the defendant. Therefore, the court resolves to an inference of the criminal action to prove this kind of intent.
When it comes to model penal statute criminal intention, criminal intent is divided into four categories. These categories are as follows:
When a defendant acts purposely, he or she intends to engage in a specific act with the full knowledge of the results of the action. It resembles a particular intent.
When a defendant acts knowingly, this indicates that he or she was aware of the nature of the actions about to undertake and the probable consequences that might follow. It differs from purposely based on the awareness of your actions rather than having a specific motive.
Recklessly Is a lower liability than knowingly. The level of risk recognition is vital in distinguishing whether there is a thoughtless intent from a known intent crime. Therefore, the defendant will act thoughtlessly if he or she purposely disregarded a significant and inexcusable risk that would lead to adverse outcomes or will lead to harm.
Negligently is a less culpable crime than reckless crimes. However, the distinction between recklessness and negligence is a lack of cognizance. Since defendants who commit intentional crimes face significant and inexcusable risks, they might be unaware of the crime, although a sensible person should be aware of such action. Therefore, the first spike of recklessness is changed to an objective standard rather than a subjective one.
Please note, the intent to do something can be considered even when someone mistakenly asks another person to commit a crime. This happens even when one does not realize that the action that he or she is requesting one to commit is a crime. Also, the prosecutor does not have to prove whether the intended crime was successful in bringing forth the charges.
Penalties for Virginia Codes 18.2-25, 18.2-26, 18.2-27, 18.2-28
Based on the descriptions provided above, each offense that falls under Virginia Code 18,2-25, 18.2-26, 2-27, and 2-28 have different penalties. Here is a summary of all the penalties that apply.
- Under Virginia Code 18-2-25, committing an attempt to commit a capital offense is a Class 2 felony. Under Virginia laws, Class 2 felony is punishable by a maximum of twenty years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $100,000
- Under Virginia Code 18.2-25, the attempt to commit a non-capital offense is a Class 4 felony. Under Virginia laws, a Class 4 felony is punishable by imprisonment for two to ten years and a maximum fine of $100,000
- Under Virginia Code 18.2-27, the attempt to commit a misdemeanor carries the same punishment that the offender intends to undertake. Therefore, the penalties that apply are as follows:
- For Class 1 misdemeanor, the kind of sentences that follow include imprisonment for a maximum of twelve months, a fine that does not exceed $2,500, or both
- For Class 2 misdemeanor, the possible penalties include imprisonment for a maximum of six months, a maximum fine of $1,00, or both
- For a Class 3 misdemeanor, the potential penalties that apply include a maximum fine of $500
- For a Class 4 misdemeanor, the possible sentence that follows include a maximum fine of $250
- Under Virginia Code 18.2-28, no punishment for the offense provided in this section shall exceed the maximum sentence of the crime that one intended to commit. This means, if you are convicted with a non-capital crime that attracts a lesser charge than a Class 4 felony, the judge will sentence you with the minor penalty.
Legal Defenses for Virginia Codes 18.2-25, 18.2-26,18.2-27.18.2-28
Hiring an attorney means that one should use relevant legal defenses in your charges. Several legal defenses can apply in the above-stated violation since they involve several offenses. Here are the legal arguments that your attorney should consider.
Innocence is the most straightforward claim that you can make in a legal defense. It usually works when the prosecutor does not have any relevant evidence to link you with the crime at hand. However, this does not mean that one should interfere with anything related to the investigation. Such a move can lead to additional charges or severe punishment.
Withdrawal can be a suitable defense for someone who did not commit the alleged crime. In this case, you would probably have been involved in the initial steps of an attempt offense, but withdrew later on. The primary reason behind the withdrawal would be the realization that the action about to undertake has a legal consequence. This leads us to the next legal defense, which is a lack of intent.
Lack of Intent
For a prosecutor to prosecute anyone with an attempt to commit a particular crime, he or she must prove to the court that one had the purpose to do something. This depends on the decisions that the offender took and whether they are geared towards realizing the intended offense.
If you can prove to the court that there was no intent to undertake the offense, this would be suitable to dismiss your case.
A mistaken facts argument is close to a lack of intent defense. However, in mistaken facts, the police officer would have probably mistaken your actions for criminal purposes. This means that you were involved in some activities that are close to the alleged offense but were different. For instance, if you have a legal permit to own a firearm, this does not mean that you are using it for criminal purposes.
Coercion is the forcible push towards doing criminal activity. This usually occurs when one is threatened to do something through harm to oneself or close relatives. In most cases, the person in authority typically issues death threats to you or your family member to force you into doing something. If you can prove to the court about this, the court might resolve into dropping the charges filed against you.
Entrapment is close to coercion, but usually blackmailing as the main reason behind the attempt to commit an offense. In such a case, you might knowingly or unknowingly commit a crime due to coercion or blackmailing. You can use this legal defense if you convince the court about the blackmail or coercion that led to the attempt to commit an offense.
Two factors explain police misconduct according to the 4th Amendment. These factors include illegal search and seizure and violation of Miranda rights. For unlawful search and seizure, this happens when an officer searches your property without a legal warrant. On the other hand, violation of the Miranda rights occurs when the officer fails to read out your rights during the arrest.
Please note, in illegal search and seizure, the court might decide to drop the charges that have been brought against you. However, in violation of Miranda rights, the court has no obligation of dropping your case, but cannot accept any evidence that you probably revealed during your arrest.
Ideally, intoxication is not acceptable as a legal defense. However, if it was done without your knowledge, the court might decide to consider it as a suitable legal defense. In this case, the court usually assumes that you were not aware of the actions about to take due to your inebriated state.
Please note, you must convince the court beyond a reasonable doubt that your intoxication was not intended, and probably someone wanted to frame you for a criminal offense.
Mistaken identity is common in most charges. This can be a suitable legal defense if you prove beyond doubt that you are not the actual perpetrator. This requires one to give evidence of his or her whereabouts while the crime was being conceived. You can disapprove of your non-involvement in the crime through credit card payment, video footage, witness statement, and receipts.
Generally, it is justifiable to commit a violation to prevent foreseeable harm. One of the primary offenses that consider this as a suitable defense is trespass. The law justifies this as long as there was no hidden meaning behind the intrusion.
Crimes Related to Virginia Codes 18.2-25, 18.2-26,18.2-27.18.2-28
Particular crimes are related to the crimes stated above. These crimes are either prosecuted along with the respect crimes or have the same charges. Here are a couple of crimes that are related to Virginia Codes 18.2-25, 18.2-26,18.2-27.18.2-28.
Conspiracy to Commit a Felony: Virginia Code 18.2-22
Under this code, it is unlawful to commit a felony either within Virginia or outside. If the perpetrators are guilty of conspiring a crime that is punishable by death, one will be facing a Class 3 felony conviction. If the crime that one is conspiring is non-capital, the charges the offender is deemed to have committed a Class 5 felony. Finally, if the underlying crime that one is conspiring is punishable with imprisonment for less than five years, one will be sentenced with imprisonment for a maximum of one year and a $500 fine.
A Class 3 felony is punishable by imprisonment for five to twenty years and a maximum fine of $100,000.
A Class 5 felony is a wobbler, which means it is punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible charges include imprisonment for a maximum of twelve months and a maximum fine of $2,500.
If punished as a felony, the offender is eligible for a prison term of one to ten years.
Conspiracy to Commit Terrorism: Virginia Code 18.2-46.5
Under this code, it is unlawful to conspire to engage in the act of terrorism, whether the action was successful or not. Such a crime is convicted with a Class 2 or 3 felony.
In Virginia, a Class 2 felony is punishable by 20 years-to-life imprisonments and a maximum fine of $100,000. On the other hand, a Class 3 felony is punishable by imprisonment for 5-20 years and a maximum fine of $100,000.
Conspiracy to Commit Trespass or Larceny: Virginia Code 18.2-23
Under this code, it is unlawful to conspire with another person to enter another person’s property without any permission. This crime is considered a Class 3 misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $500.
Also, it is unlawful to conspire, assist, aid, or abet in the act of larceny. If the value of the merchandise that is involved in the conspiracy is more than $200, this can result in a felony charge, which is punishable by imprisonment for one to twenty years.
Conspiracy to Commit Crimes Involving Fraud
Several crimes involve fraud. These include fraudulent use of birth certificates, pyramid schemes, and credit cards. Some of these frauds are convicted as a Class 1 misdemeanor, while others are convicted as Class 6 felonies.
A Class 1 misdemeanor is convicted with a maximum of one year of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,500. On the other hand, a Class 6 felony is charged as a wobbler, which means that it is chargeable as a felony or misdemeanor. A felony conviction attracts one to five years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,500. A misdemeanor attracts maximum imprisonment of 12 months and a fine that does not exceed $2,500.
Find a Virginia Criminal Attorney Near Me
It is quite hard to handle any of the charges covered in this article all by yourself. There are lots of complicated aspects that one has to cover, which requires a professional attorney. In that case, you should hire a criminal defense attorney to help you with your case. Not all attorneys who consider themselves as professionals are capable of delivering quality services. However, our Virginia Criminal Attorney team can guarantee an attorney who does not only match your expectations but can offer credible legal services. If you are in Fairfax or Northern Virginia, contact us at 703-718-5533 and let us handle your case.