The scope of Virginia criminal charges is broad. While a felony conviction can lead to a lengthy prison sentence, even a minor conviction could have far-reaching implications. If you're interrogated about your role in a criminal case, you have the right of remaining silent till you have spoken with a seasoned attorney. Anything you say, even your professions of innocence, could be used against you. A lawyer looks out for your best interests by assisting you in cooperating with the investigations while safeguarding your rights.
If you've been accused of a criminal offense in Fairfax Station, Virginia, you might feel confused and anxious. When facing criminal accusations, it is natural to be concerned about the implications of being convicted. We at the Virginia Criminal Attorney can fiercely advocate on your behalf and work relentlessly for the best results for your case.
Common Types of Fairfax Station Criminal Charges
Even though all criminal offenses are serious and ought to be addressed as such, some Virginia criminal charges occur and are prosecuted far more often than others. These common criminal charges include:
Traffic Felonies and Misdemeanors
DUI/DWI, hit-and-run incidents, reckless driving, operating a vehicle without a valid license, and failing to stop at a traffic stop are some of the traffic-related offenses. These offenses carry certain penalties such as fines and potential jail time. In addition, based on the offense, a person's license could be removed or suspended.
Sentences for violent crimes are often among the harshest. Homicide, battery, assault, robbery, domestic abuse, hate crimes, and gun crimes are included in this category of crimes. A defendant could face anywhere from a few years to a lifetime behind bars, hefty fines, or even a death sentence, based on the severity of the charges against them.
Financial crimes include acts such as fraud, tax evasion, identity theft, and embezzlement. These offenses carry penalties including jail time, hefty fines, and payment of restitution payments to the victims.
Rape, solicitation, prostitution, sexual assault, soliciting a child, lewd acts, and incest are all considered sexual crimes. Defendants could be subject to jail time, fines, and the possibility of having their names listed on the federal sex offender register, which could make it more difficult for them to get work or live in certain neighborhoods.
Crimes involving drugs can range from a simple possession charge to possession with the intention of selling. Convictions often result in hefty penalties and time in jail.
Having a Fairfax Station criminal defense attorney by your side can be very helpful for your case. An attorney can oversee the complexities of jury selection, evidence collection, courtroom hearings, other activities, and behind-the-scenes discussions (during a plea deal for a lesser punishment or lowered charges).
An attorney can inform their client of any alternatives and guide them on the best course of action. Your attorney can give legal advice regarding the choice to file an appeal depending on the circumstances surrounding the case once the court has rendered a judgment.
What to Do if You’ve Been Charged With a Crime in Fairfax Station
Defending yourself in court against criminal allegations requires the assistance of an attorney who is well-versed in the relevant law. The allegations you are fighting could have long-term consequences, regardless of whether you've been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony offense.
It can be tempting for you to enter a quick guilty plea, put together your defense, or entrust a public defender with your case. However, if you made such choices, you could be required to deal with even harsher penalties.
Before proceeding, get in touch with a criminal lawyer to go through the specifics of your case. They can provide you with the legal advice you need to pursue measures that could lead to a more favorable ruling, a shorter term, or even a case dismissal.
When Do Fairfax Station Police Make Arrests?
Simply said, the authorities make arrests when they suspect a criminal activity has occurred. This could happen if a law enforcement officer observes the crime firsthand or when a court issues a warrant for the offender's arrest.
The law governing this police authority is significantly more complex than the precise process required to warrant an arrest. Assessing whether a law enforcement officer has sufficient grounds for arresting someone depends on both probable course and reasonable suspicion.
For police to conduct a public stop, reasonable suspicion is required at the very least. Some examples are:
- A driver who swerves between lanes.
- An individual who is publicly stumbling.
- Fleeing with what appears to be stolen goods.
When an officer has cause to believe that an offense has been committed, they could stop that individual and frisk them to look for weapons.
It's crucial to keep in mind that a stop does not equal an arrest. Although police officers could detain a suspect for interrogation at the alleged crime scene, this doesn't represent an official arrest.
Police officers must have sufficient reason to suspect that an offense has been committed or that there is proof of an offense at a particular location to make an official arrest or obtain authorization to carry out a warrant.
Police should be ready to thoroughly clarify why they think a particular individual has perpetrated a crime since probable cause is held to a higher statutory threshold compared to reasonable suspicion.
These contrasts are essential in criminal prosecution. Any evidence gathered as a consequence of an unlawful search, stop, or arrest by a law enforcement officer could be dismissed from court. A criminal defense attorney could be able to provide additional information regarding the authority of police enforcement to detain and arrest people.
What Generally Happens After an Arrest?
Most defendants consider an arrest to be the beginning of their legal problems. Although an arrest is unquestionably a cause for alarm, it's crucial to understand that it does not necessarily lead to criminal charges.
Officers can arrest to gather additional evidence, but they must have reasonable grounds to do this. They might not have sufficient evidence to win a case in court with the information they had when they carried out the arrest. The prosecution should only pursue legal charges when they feel they can win a case.
It is crucial to comprehend what occurs after being arrested. The authorities take several pictures, sometimes referred to as "mugshots," of the offenders. Also, they collect the defendant's fingerprints.
Authorities often use interrogation to try and get more information. But, communicating with the authorities is not mandatory and can have a negative outcome. A person being investigated is entitled to both silence and the presence of a lawyer during all interrogations.
Defendants are required to submit to blood testing when requested by law enforcement, and this is typically done in cases that involve charges of intoxication by alcohol or narcotics.
Most arrests result in a person being in police custody until their arraignment. In cases of relatively minor offenses, such as certain misdemeanors, police officers can choose to release defendants on their own recognizance or seek the advice of the bail commissioner. Those who are still in police detention after being arrested on criminal offenses could benefit from the assistance of a Fairfax Station attorney.
Classifications of Criminal Offenses
According to Virginia state laws, most criminal actions are classified as misdemeanors or felonies, with felony offenses being more serious and punishable by lengthier prison terms and higher fines.
An attorney will be able to shed more light on the specifics of the law regarding "special" charges, which are not included in this system and could carry varying penalties depending on the particulars of the case.
The Four Categories of Misdemeanor Crimes
According to Virginia law, there are 4 different classes of misdemeanors, each of which is subject to penalties but only 2 of which could lead to serving time in jail. The following are the maximum penalties that could be imposed in Fairfax Station for misdemeanors of the various classifications as permitted by provisions of Virginia Code 18.2-11:
- Class 1 misdemeanor crimes are punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a maximum fine not exceeding $2,500.
- Class 2 misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of 6 months behind bars and/or a hefty cash fine not exceeding $1,000.
- Class 3 misdemeanor offenses carry a cash fine not exceeding $500.
- Class 4 misdemeanor crimes carry a maximum cash fine of $250.
The Six Categories of Felonies
According to state law, there are six different classes of felonies, and depending on the crime, different penalties could be imposed. If a person is found guilty in Fairfax Station of a certain class of felony, the following punishments could be imposed under Virginia Code 18.2-10:
- Class 1 felony crimes: life in prison or death sentence (death isn't taken into account if the accused is younger than 18 or qualifies as "intellectually impaired" under the provisions established by Virginia Code 19.2-264.3:1.1).
- Class 2 felony offenses are punishable by a minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment.
- Class 3 felony offenses are punishable by five to 20 years behind bars.
- Class 4 felony crimes are punishable by two to ten years behind bars.
- Class 5 felony offenses attract a sentence of up to 10 years behind bars or, at the court's discretion, a jail sentence not exceeding 12 months.
- Class 6 felony crimes are punishable by between one to five years behind bars or, at the court's discretion, a jail sentence not exceeding a year.
Additionally, the court can impose hefty fines not exceeding $2,500 for Class 5 and Class 6 felonies and no more than $100,000 in cash fines for felony crimes of higher classes.
What the Prosecution Should Demonstrate to Get a Conviction
A prosecutor is required to prove all allegations in a criminal court case beyond any reasonable doubt. To put it simply, this involves demonstrating that any sane individual would believe that the accused perpetrated the offenses listed in the lawsuit based on the available evidence.
A case-by-case basis would determine the precise nature of the submitted evidence. There are specific elements to every charge, and if any of the factors are not proven, the defendant will not be found guilty.
The majority of criminal charges include both an action committed and an intent element. The prosecution team, for instance, should prove not only that the accused injured the victim, but also that their action was intended to result in harm. Therefore, an accused's lawyer can argue that even though the accused's actions caused injury, they didn't intend to cause it.
Sometimes an accused's intent is not relevant. If the prosecution can simply prove that the act occurred, the accused could be found guilty of charges related to driving while under the influence, possessing illegal substances, and possessing other kinds of contraband.
A criminal defense attorney's objective is to obtain a favorable result in a perpetrator's case, whether this entails discussions with the prosecution team or testifying at trial.
County and Local Ordinances or Laws
Local laws can play a part in criminal proceedings. These can provide law enforcement officers with justification for stopping, searching, and arresting a person, which could result in Virginia statutory violations.
During a criminal investigation, local ordinance breaches like those involving parking or noise violations could come up. This is particularly important in DUI cases since an officer could detain or stop a vehicle and its occupants if it's parked improperly or makes extremely loud music or noise. Such a detention or stop can result in serious DUI-related charges later on.
The Repercussions of a Conviction
A misdemeanor conviction can result in a jail term not exceeding 12 months, based on the severity of the offense. Various charges can affect a person's background check and security clearance. Morally offensive acts can also have a detrimental impact on a person's standing before the court, which could affect how trustworthy that person is viewed by the court.
Background checks and security clearances can also be affected by a misdemeanor criminal conviction. A conviction could hinder someone from obtaining or retaining certain occupations, depending on their clearance level.
What Happens During a Defense Attorney Consultation?
A Fairfax Station defense attorney can begin the session by asking you any of the following questions:
- What are the allegations against you?
- What evidence do you think the prosecution has?
A lawyer might ask an accused person what they think the prosecution could prove rather than first seeking an explanation of what occurred so they are aware of any potential evidence.
Sometimes the state's evidence conflicts with what occurred. An attorney needs to be aware of all the facts about the case and would be keen to examine the evidence first to gain a more comprehensive understanding of your case.
Investigating the Case To Set up a Solid Defense
People often inquire during consultations about how they could evade conviction or what would happen to them. A local criminal defense lawyer would be able to provide a defendant with a realistic projection of what might transpire in the case.
In other situations, an attorney would have to conduct a thorough investigation. This often entails doing discovery, interacting with witnesses, the involved law enforcement officers, and finally, the prosecution team in charge of the case. A legal counsel might not be aware of all the underlying factors in the case during the initial consultation.
It could take some time for these investigations to develop to the stage where a local criminal defense attorney can thoroughly understand all of the relevant information from all sides of the case. By doing so, a lawyer is better placed at forecasting what would happen in the case.
Make sure your criminal lawyer is basing their estimate on the particulars of your case when you consult with them. A lawyer would be more equipped to discuss possible consequences the more they're familiar with the facts of the case.
The Advantages of Seeking Legal Advice
The bureaucracy and paperwork involved in court proceedings are among the most frustrating things. The responsibility for proving guilt rests with the prosecutors, which could be unfamiliar territory for anyone facing criminal accusations for the first time. As a result, individuals are susceptible to being overwhelmed by the unnervingly vast and intricate legal system, as well as the numerous documents and extensive legal jargon.
Professional criminal defense attorneys are aware of which documents to submit and to whom, minimizing the possibility that your case will be postponed due to incorrect submissions and common errors. By doing this, your attorney will be ready and prepared to save you a significant amount of time and money in court costs.
Besides having expertise in law and skills applying it, lawyers are compassionate, understanding individuals who sincerely want to assist you in every way. Skilled attorneys are aware of the stress, embarrassment, and anxiety that can result from being accused of breaking the law.
Because of this, whether you were accused of a DUI involving drugs or alcohol or another crime, your lawyer can review every aspect of the matter with you in-depth and fight for a lenient resolution. It's not necessarily the final chapter in life when you are charged.
Find a Skilled Fairfax Station Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me
If you've been detained in Fairfax Station, the Virginia Criminal Attorney can put unwavering effort on your behalf to defend your constitutional rights and best interests while pursuing a positive outcome. Call us at 703-718-5533 right away.