Being accused of a crime can be a frightening and stressful experience. The easiest way to manage scheduling court dates, submitting paperwork, and generally developing a defense plan is to hire a skilled attorney, especially if you've never been caught up in the justice system. If you have been charged with a crime in Chantilly, our team at Virginia Criminal Attorney can assist you.

We are well-versed in both Federal and Virginia criminal law, and have defended cases all around Chantilly with great success. Criminal charges are serious, but getting a favorable outcome can be attainable. Reach out to us today at the Virginia Criminal Attorney for a free consultation to discuss your case and potential defense options.

When Do Law Enforcement Officers Make Arrests?

Police officers make arrests when they suspect an offense has been committed. This could happen as a result of a law enforcement officer witnessing a crime firsthand or a court issuing a warrant of arrest. No matter the exact process used to support an arrest, the laws underlying this law enforcement power are far more complex. Probable cause and reasonable suspicion are critical in assessing whether a law enforcement officer is warranted in making an arrest.

Police officers can stop someone in public if they have reasonable suspicion. Here are a few examples:

  • A motorist swerving lanes.
  • Stumbling in front of others.
  • Someone fleeing with what appears to be stolen items.
  • An officer with reasonable suspicion of an offense can pull over an individual and conduct a frisk to check for weapons.

It is essential to understand that a police stop does not constitute an arrest. While an individual can be taken into custody for questioning at the alleged crime scene, this doesn't constitute an official arrest.

Law enforcement should have reasonable suspicion to believe that an offense has been committed or that there is evidence of wrongdoing at a particular location to make a formal arrest or obtain authorization to carry out a warrant. Police should be able to explain in detail why they believe that an individual has perpetrated a crime since probable cause is held to a higher standard of proof than reasonable suspicion.

These distinctions are essential in any criminal case. If a law enforcement officer conducts an illegal stop, arrest, or search, all evidence stemming from such actions could be considered inadmissible in court. A Chantilly criminal lawyer could be able to give you more details regarding a police officer's capacity to stop and apprehend individuals.

What Happens After Arrest?

Most people consider an arrest to be the beginning of their legal entanglements. Although an arrest undoubtedly calls for concern, it's vital to note that it does not automatically lead to criminal charges. Law enforcement officers can make an arrest to gather more information, but they need to have reasonable suspicion to do so.

At the time of the arrest, it’s possible that the facts they had were insufficient to secure a conviction. If the prosecution team is not confident of winning the case in court, they would consider filing formal charges. Understanding what follows an arrest is critical. Police capture a series of photos referred to as mugshots.

Additionally, they'll take the offender's fingerprints. Law enforcement officers often question defendants to get more evidence. However, talking to police officers is not mandatory and can result in negative consequences. An accused person has a right to stay silent and to be accompanied by a lawyer during all interrogations.

Police officers have the power to request a defendant be taken to hospital for a blood test in a few other circumstances, typically those involving accusations of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and the accused is required to cooperate.

Most people who are arrested are held in custody until their arraignment. A police officer could issue a citation to an accused for minor offenses like some misdemeanors or seek the assistance of a bail commissioner to set the terms of the defendant's release. A Chantilly lawyer can help people who are still held in custody after being arrested on criminal charges.

Crime Types and Penalties

There are always two sides to a story. The mere fact that you've been accused of a crime doesn't guarantee that you did anything wrong or that you'll be found guilty. Having an experienced Chantilly criminal defense attorney on your side significantly boosts your chances of winning the case.

The following are examples of crimes with which you would be charged:

  • Federal Offenses.
  • Domestic Violence.
  • Tickets for speeding.
  • Traffic.
  • DWI/DUI.
  • Drug-related charges.
  • Reckless Driving.
  • Crimes involving firearms.
  • Evading a police officer.

Even minor crimes can lead to harsh penalties that have long-term repercussions in your professional and personal life. Criminal violations should be treated very seriously, as they can lead to hefty fines, serving time behind bars, and even losing your driving privileges.

If found guilty, the offender will also accrue a criminal record, which he or she could be required to disclose to their prospective employers. Additionally, this could make it challenging to obtain or retain security clearance, which could have a huge effect on individuals who work for the government.

Felony convictions could also result in the loss of some constitutional rights, like the right to carry weapons or vote. Because of this, criminal charges should be treated seriously and need to be handled by an experienced lawyer who is well-versed in the local system.

Assault Crimes

According to VC 18.2-57, an assault is defined as a threat or application of physical force against a person that causes reasonable fear that the person will come into contact with something dangerous or offensive. A simple argument between two people can quickly escalate into an altercation, leading to criminal assault charges.

Occasionally, people who are defending themselves are charged with assault by police officers who were not present for the full incident and came in late to the accident scene. It is unlikely to be held criminally liable for an act of self-defense, so long as the force applied was proportional to the threat posed.

An individual charged with assault and battery or simple assault in Virginia can face up to twelve months behind bars and a hefty fine of $2,500, making the assistance of a criminal attorney even more crucial.

Drug Crimes

The Commonwealth of Virginia has strict penalties for drug crimes. The charges you would face, along with the penalties associated with them, vary based on the quantity and type of substance involved, in addition to the nature of the conduct. Virginia's criminal code defines all of the drug-related charges that you could be charged with. The charges vary from distributing a controlled substance to a minor to simple possession of drugs.

Many times, people who are charged with drug crimes also suffer from serious drug addiction or substance abuse problems that are better handled through rehabilitation and treatment programs rather than with jail time and penalties. If you are charged with a drug offense, a competent criminal defense attorney can help you with such serious penalties.

DUI Charges

DUI is considered a serious offense as defined in VC 18.2-266. Aside from the possible jail time and hefty fines that come with a DUI conviction, individuals found guilty can also face disciplinary action from the Virginia DMV. A DUI charge could also result in restricted licenses, license suspensions, and installation of the Ignition Interlock Device.

Consult a skilled defense lawyer who can assist you in fighting the allegations you are facing if you want to safeguard yourself from such severe repercussions and have the best chance of retaining your driving privileges.

Solicitation and Prostitution

Although soliciting and prostitution are typically seen as nonviolent offenses, the Virginia criminal system certainly takes them seriously, so those who are accused of them shouldn't take them lightly. Both solicitation and prostitution are categorized as Class 1 misdemeanors under the State's Code § 18.2-346.

However, if you're caught trying to solicit a child into prostitution, you'll be facing Class 6 felony charges. In Virginia, a Class 6 felony carries a sentence of 1 to 5 years behind bars or, at the judge or jury's discretion, a lighter penalty of a maximum of twelve months in incarceration and/or maximum fines of $2,500.

Reckless Driving

Since reckless driving regulations in the State are so broad and can apply to a variety of situations, many drivers find themselves unexpectedly facing prosecution after perpetrating a supposedly minor traffic infringement.

In general, reckless driving is defined as operating an automobile in a way that could harm the lives or property of others. Specific examples of negligent driving include exceeding the posted speed limit by over 20 mph or exceeding the limit by over 80 mph.

Additionally, drivers may be charged with reckless driving when they:

  • Proceed past a vehicle that is meant for emergency services and has its siren and lights on.
  • Carelessly speed in poor visibility or adverse conditions.
  • Pass an automobile that has its driver's view obscured on a hill.
  • Failure to use a signal properly.

Although reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor, it could affect your driving privileges. If you are found guilty of reckless driving, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles could add points to your record.

Theft Crimes

In Virginia, the three types of theft charges are burglary, robbery, and larceny. Theft of a valuable item without utilizing violence is regarded as the crime of larceny, while robbery is defined as the application of physical violence or threats of violence along with the theft of another person's possessions, and burglary is defined as the coupling of breaking, entering, and theft.

All theft offenses in Virginia are treated severely by the legal system, and depending on how serious they are and how much was taken, they may result in harsh penalties. Individuals who are found guilty could, in addition to serving time in prison and paying penalties, be ordered to make reparation payments to the legitimate property owner.

What Rights Does a Person Have While Being Held by the Police?

Regardless of the specific actions that prompt law enforcement officials to make arrests, the constitutional rights of individuals who are being held by the authorities do not change. When a person is arrested, police officers are required to recite their Miranda rights to them.

The right to silence is considered to be among the most significant rights granted by Miranda. Officers are at liberty to ask as many questions as they see fit to someone they suspect perpetrated a crime. The accused, though, does not have any obligation to respond. Doing so is not usually a good idea. Additionally, you have the option of having a lawyer there during questioning, which is yet another protection under Miranda rights.

When a person is placed under arrest, they have the right to request the presence of their lawyer so that they do not inadvertently incriminate themselves by speaking with the authorities. Having their attorney present could also signal to the police that the defendant does not want to answer any questions.

Keep in mind that law enforcement officials will never be on an accused's side. Their primary objective is to gather more details, ideally a confession. Individuals detained by law enforcement can benefit from the services of a Chantilly criminal lawyer.

Fair Bail Conditions in Chantilly

If the detention does result in the formal filing of charges, having legal representation from the very beginning of the case can be extremely beneficial. An arraignment is the initial court appearance that an accused will make after being accused of a crime. Usually, this takes place on the same day of the detention or the following morning.

The arraignment phase of a criminal prosecution has multiple purposes. The first step is to file formal charges with the court. Occasionally, the court will set the terms of release or bail. Defendants can often be discharged on their personal recognizance in cases involving misdemeanor charges.

This implies that the accused commits to show up for all the next court dates and to stay out of legal trouble.

On the other hand, the judge has the authority to set bail if they consider there is a possibility of the defendant fleeing the jurisdiction or if they believe the offender could threaten the peace of the general public. As a general rule, this is more likely to happen if the court is dealing with felony charges. A person has the right to always submit a bond petition for the following day, even if the judge chooses not to discuss the subject of bail during the arraignment hearing.

A Chantilly criminal defense attorney could advocate for reasonable bail conditions. They could help make explanations to the judge that the accused will attend all upcoming sessions and also that it isn't required to impose pretrial release terms.

What Problems with the Evidence Emerge in Chantilly Criminal Matters?

People often wrongly believe that an accused has no other option except to go to trial to refute the accusations made against them. Thankfully, this isn't the case. Criminal lawyers are aware that from the moment of arraignment, they can start working to help their client's situations.

The requirement that the prosecution must reveal their witness testimony and evidence in criminal prosecutions is a valuable tool for the defense. In court, there aren't any unexpected twists, and the defense attorney has the chance to assess the evidence not only for its persuasive power but also its compliance with the law.

For instance, a person accused of possessing drugs might learn that the proof in their trial came from search warrants that were carried out at their home. The discovery of illegal substances was undoubtedly made as a result of the search, but there could be some disagreement as to whether or not it was legal.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you challenge the admissibility of any information presented by the prosecutor in their disclosure document.

Effective Legal Representation for Defendants

Providing an effective defense is a dynamic task that necessitates an attorney's undivided attention at every stage, from the point of arrest and detention by law enforcement until trial. Additionally, even when there isn't a court date scheduled, an attorney can assist in protecting your rights when speaking with the prosecution.

A Chantilly criminal lawyer is aware that good communication is essential for efficient representation. A lawyer can assist in describing the allegations that a defendant is facing and the potential repercussions of a conviction.

Then they can make suggestions for moving forward while acknowledging that the accused ultimately have the say in any decisions that must be made.

An experienced criminal attorney can negotiate the terms on behalf of their client if their goal is to reach a plea agreement to avoid going to jail.

Nevertheless, everyone has the constitutional right to go to trial, and when the accused want to use it to argue their innocence, a lawyer can assist in providing the jury with the evidence they will need to make their verdict. Get in touch with a lawyer as early as possible. The earlier they can start working with you, the higher your likelihood of succeeding.

Find a Chantilly Criminal Attorney Near Me

Taking on major criminal charges by yourself is not a wise move. If you have been charged with a crime, speak with a Chantilly criminal lawyer to understand the details of your case and the best ways to defend yourself. If you are facing criminal charges in Chantilly, Virginia, you can contact the Virginia Criminal Attorney to ensure that your rights are protected under the law. Call us today at 703-718-5533.