Criminal charges can affect your life, resulting in detention in police custody and a possible conviction after trial. The effects of a sentence can also be harsh, primarily because of the strict penalties applicable in Virginia. To avoid the severe impact of a criminal charge on your life, you want to work with a skilled and highly experienced defense attorney who will handle your case accordingly. Their involvement in your matter should reflect strong research and defense preparation, and they should also provide sound legal advice to guide you throughout the legal process.

At Virginia Criminal Attorney, we provide high-quality criminal defense services to our clients and work to ensure their criminal trial runs smoothly. Our team has worked on multiple criminal cases in Virginia, and they understand the importance of having clear case presentations for your defense hearing. You can also rely on us to represent you in court, so you do not have to worry about making oral arguments to advocate for your release. If you or a loved one requires defense services in Ashburn, Virginia, consider working with us to increase your chances of a favorable case outcome.

The Nature of Criminal Offenses

Legal provisions exist to regulate behavior in society and promote peace and liberty. Subsequently, any violation of the laws attracts punishment that should be proportional to the type of offense you committed. Criminal law, therefore, deals with handling arrested suspects and presenting them for a criminal trial.

The prosecutor is responsible for presenting a case against you on behalf of the aggrieved victim and the state. Since they take on the role, the law expects them to prove your involvement in crime beyond a reasonable doubt and use credible, high-quality, evidential sources.

During your trial, you will learn about the specific factors the prosecutor relies on to push for your conviction. Understanding the common offenses prosecuted in Ashburn can also help you, especially if you face one of them.

Types of Offenses Prosecuted in Ashburn

The law applicable across Virginia is strict, calling for you to understand the elements of a crime necessary for conviction. Further, you need to learn the possible defenses to persuade the judge or jury of your innocence.

Some common offenses include:

  1. Carjacking Crimes

Carjacking is an offense recognized under the Virginia Penal Code, resulting in a possible arrest and conviction. The law prohibits anyone from carjacking under Section 18.2-58-1 and classifies it as a felony offense.

Elements of the Crime

During the trial, you can expect the prosecutor to rely on specific elements of the crime to prove their case. They should be clear about carjacking and aim to show that you fully participated in the offense. The main aspects of the crime are:

  • You Took Stopped a Vehicle Owner With Intent to Take Their Car

To start your case, the prosecutor must show that you stopped a vehicle in transit or imposed a fine on a vehicle owner inside the car. They must also show that you intended to take the vehicle from the owner, resulting in a violation of the law.

The prosecutor will rely on various evidential sources to prove their case, including witness testimonies, video footage, and police reports on your arrest. They may also gather additional details directly from the aggrieved parties if they can recount all the facts correctly.

  • You Used Threats or Violence to Force them Out of the Vehicle

Additionally, the prosecutor must show that the vehicle owners did not consent to you taking their car, meaning that it violated their rights. To do this, the prosecutor should establish that you used threats, violence, or surprise attacks to force the people in the vehicle out.

Some cases also involve extreme violence, like shooting or beating the passengers before taking the car away. If so, you risk facing harsher penalties, including the maximum sentence.

  • You Intended to Deprive the Owner of their Vehicle Permanently

Since carjacking is a theft crime, the prosecutor must conclude their case by showing that you intended to deprive the owners of their vehicle permanently. Demonstrating that you had criminal intent separates your case from any possible alternative arguments that claim you would return the car.

The prosecution can show that you did not intend to return the vehicle using circumstantial evidence. For example, if you drove off and hid the car in a secret location, removed any tracking monitor, and denied having taken it upon investigation, these factors are enough evidence. As a result, you can expect the prosecutor to provide evidence for all these factors.

Penalties for Carjacking

After facing a conviction for carjacking in Ashburn, you risk facing a sentence of fifteen years to life imprisonment, depending on how severe your case facts are. You risk facing harsher penalties with more aggravated factors, so you must work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

  1. Committing Assault

Any act or attempt to cause bodily harm to another person is assault, which is prohibited under Section 182-57 of the Penal Code. Assault is a commonly reported crime because it takes various forms, and anyone can be a victim.

 Usually, assault cases do not result in severe harm or injury to a person because they involve an attempt to harm and not actual damage. Nevertheless, the law punishes wrongdoers because they possess a criminal intent to harm the victim.

Elements of Crime

When presenting your case for suspected assault, the prosecutor will focus on these elements:

  • You Acted Openly Against the Victim

Assault charges require the prosecutor to prove that you acted overtly and did not hide them from the intended victim. In many cases, the offender tries to call for the victim’s attention to make them fearful of the attack lodged against them.

An overt act differs from case to case, primarily because offenders use different tactics. For example, throwing a dangerous object like metal that could cause severe injuries from impact amounts to an overt act. The action falls within the assault category if it does not cause actual harm, provided you attempted it.

  • Your Actions Were Dangerous and Posed a Threat to the Victim

The prosecution team should also show that you engaged in actions with the potential to cause harm to the victim. In the above example, throwing a metal object is dangerous because it exposes the person to bleeding, cuts, and deep tissue injuries. Other examples include sabotaging their targeted person’s safety with the intent to cause harm. For instance, attempting to attack the victim physically through violence is a dangerous threat.

  • You Intended to Cause Harm by Your Actions

To tie up the case elements, the prosecutor should show that all these actions were not by accident and that you intended to cause harm to the victim. They can demonstrate this by providing details about what you did before and after the attempted attack and linking it to your criminal actions to show that you intended to harm.

Penalties for Committing Assault

Anyone found guilty of assault faces a Class 1 misdemeanor, which attracts penalties of up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $2500.

  1. Committing Rape

Sexual offenses are a severe category of crime, with most offenses attracting harsh penalties, including life imprisonment. Among these is rape, an offense prohibited under Section 18.2-61 of the Penal Code. Offenders face prosecution based on legal guidelines, and the prosecutor must prove all elements of the crime:

Elements of the Crime

A prosecutor handling a rape charge must prove that:

  • You Had Sexual Intercourse with the Victim

Rape involves penetration of the genitalia, so the prosecutor must obtain sufficient evidence. Primary sources include medical records obtained after the victim underwent tests to ascertain that penetration occurred.

Additionally, evidence from witness statements is considered, although the court may avoid it to prevent the victim from recounting their trauma. As an accused person, you must look out for the prosecutor’s case presentation and identify any inconsistencies.

  • You Lacked their Consent

The prosecution team should further establish that your actions were forceful, meaning you lacked consent to engage in sexual intercourse. They can present this using the testimonies, police reports, and exhibits recovered and given as evidence.

For example, torn clothes often indicate that violence ensued, meaning that the victim in question was unwilling to participate in the act. Any other useful evidentiary sources will also form part of the prosecutor’s argument.

  • You Used Threats, Intimidation or Force to Commit the Act

Closely linked to the second element, the prosecutor should show that you used force, threats, intimidation, or violence to force the victim into compliance. They will equally rely on testimonies, footage, police reports, or any other suitable evidential sources to support their arguments.

Penalties for Committing Rape

A convicted offender facing rape risks a minimum sentence of five years in prison, or a maximum charge of life imprisonment, based on various case circumstances.

  1. Sexual Battery

Another type of sexual offense reported in Ashburn is "sexual battery." Section 18.2-67.4 defines the crime as any action involving violating a person through offensive sexual advances. It includes forced kissing, groping, or heavy petting without the victim’s consent. Additional measures may also amount to sexual battery, provided they do not involve penetration of the genitalia.

Elements of Crime

The main elements of the crime for sexual battery charges are:

  • You Made Physical Contact With Someone

Battery differs from assault because it involves making physical contact, unlike in assault cases, where the victim does not come into physical contact with the offender. Based on this, the prosecutor should show that you made physical contact with the victim, resulting in the rightful battery charges.

To demonstrate your involvement in this element, the prosecutor will call on the aggrieved party to give testimony or a witness statement. Alternatively, they can use recovered footage to trace your actions or request other witnesses at the crime scene to recount what they saw.

  • You Intended to Make a Sexual Advance

Further, the prosecutor should show that you intended to make sexual advances, hence the need for your arrest and charging. Determining your criminal intentions requires the prosecution team to assess circumstantial evidence that could demonstrate your actions.

 For example, if the victim reports that you abused their personal space several times before the act, the prosecutor can use the information to support their case. Also, any messages or direct conversations with the victim that included sexual innuendo can demonstrate that you intended to engage in sexual actions.

  • You Lacked their Consent in Making the Sexual Advances

The lack of consent is a significant crime distinguishing consensual physical touch from sexual battery. As a result, the prosecutor must prove that the victim resisted your advances, but you proceeded with the actions.

Penalties for Committing Sexual Battery

In Ashburn, sexual battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and offenders face up to one year in jail or fine payments of up to $2500 or both.

  1. Grand and Petit Larceny

A larceny is the act of stealing something from the rightful owner, resulting in the deprivation of their property. It is a commonly reported offense and falls into two main categories; grand and petit larceny.

Under Section 18.2-95, grand larceny involves the theft of any property worth more than $1000 in Virginia. Conversely, petit larceny is provided under Section 18.2-96 and consists of the theft of anything worth less than $1000.

Elements of the Crime

Since larceny falls within the theft crime category, the prosecutor must prove these three main elements of the crime:

  • You Took Someone’s Property

Taking another person’s property means removing it from their possession and control. This prevents them from accessing it, meaning they cannot enjoy the benefits of ownership. Since this violates the legal provisions of the Penal Code, the prosecutor must prove it occurred as the first element of the crime.

  • You Moved it to a Different Location.

Showing that you moved the property is also essential, demonstrating your criminal intent to steal. When presenting this criminal element, the prosecutor only needs to prove that you moved the property in question, even if it was for a short distance.

  • You Intended to Deprive the Owner of the Property Permanently

Theft crimes should always indicate that the accused intended to permanently deprive the property owner, meaning they wanted lasting control and possession. The prosecution team can demonstrate this element by showing your efforts to hide the property, lie to the owner, and evade police investigations.

Penalties for Grand and Petit Larceny

Upon conviction, grand larceny offenders face up to twenty years in prison, as the offense falls within the felony category. On the other hand, petit larceny offenders face up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $2500 for a class 1 misdemeanor.

  1. Robbery

When you use violence intending to steal property from a person or establishment, you are answerable for robbery charges as provided for under Section 18.2-58 of the Penal Code. In Ashburn, robbery is a felony offense that attracts severe penalties for convicted persons.

Elements of Crime

In court, the prosecutor focuses on proving that:

  • You Approached a Person or Building With the Intent to Steal

The prosecutor should show that you intended to steal and thus approached a person or building that looked easy to access. Prosecutors assess various evidential sources to demonstrate that you intended to steal, including indications of carrying weapons, prior communication with accomplices, and your statements during interrogation.

  • You Used Force or Violence to Take Property from the Person

Additionally, robbery involves using force or violence to take possession of the property or goods, indicating that the victim does not consent to your actions. Possession of any weapons directly shows your intention to use force, and the prosecutor will rely on all available evidential sources to support their argument.

  • You Intended to Deprive the Owner of their Property Permanently

Like all other theft crimes, the prosecutor should show that you intended to permanently deprive the owner of their property so they would be unable to use it again. Mainly, the prosecution team uses circumstantial evidence to support their position.

Penalties for Committing Robbery

Anyone guilty of the offense risks facing five years to life imprisonment, as it is a felony crime.

 Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me

Unexpected circumstances may cause your arrest, detention, and a criminal charge, creating the need for a defense lawyer. Although your case may seem straightforward, you should consider working with a defense attorney because they have experience and a better understanding of court processes.

Further, they will help you with essential but hectic processes like filing paperwork and conducting research for your case. Based on the multiple court requirements you must meet before your release, you must retain a skilled defense lawyer who understands the importance of adequate case preparation.

At Virginia Criminal Attorney, you will receive excellent legal services aimed at helping you avoid conviction and other severe penalties. Over the years, we have helped multiple clients facing criminal charges in Ashburn, Virginia, win their cases. With our help, you will understand how the prosecutor works and explore counterarguments to support your case. For more information on how to handle criminal charges, call us today at 703-718-5533.