Engaging in criminal acts in Virginia attracts criminal charges and possible penalties. You could be charged with many offenses, ranging from simple misdemeanors to severe felonies. Whether you face charges for a felony or misdemeanor, a conviction for any crime can carry serious and life-changing consequences.
Penalties for a criminal conviction may range from incarceration, hefty fines, probation, driver’s license suspension, and sex offender registration. In addition to the legal penalties, criminal convictions leave behind a criminal record.
A criminal conviction is a public record accessible by anyone carrying a background check on you. Employers or professional bodies can deny you an opportunity based on your conviction. The states are high for defendants facing criminal charges in Virginia. Therefore, seeking legal guidance is key.
At Virginia Criminal Attorney, we understand the devastation of dealing with the uncertainty of criminal charges. We work hard to protect your rights and help you build a defense against your charges. You will need our expertise if you or your loved one faces criminal charges in Fredericksburg, VA.
In Virginia, a sex crime is any sexual act perpetrated against another person who could not consent or did not consent to the act. A person could be unable to consent to a sexual act based on age, mental capacity, or physical abilities.
A conviction for sex crimes attracts significant legal penalties and long-lasting consequences. Attempting to commit a sex crime in Fredericksburg, VA, is enough to put you behind bars for a long time. Some of the common sex crimes with which you could be charged include:
Rape is a serious felony involving sexual intercourse with another person against their will and accomplished through fear. Threats, intimidation, or force. Under Code 18.2-61, the court uses a victim’s viewpoint to judge intimidation, force, or threat. The prosecutor can prove that you committed a crime of rape through witness testimony, defensive wounds, physical evidence, or forensic evidence.
Before you face a conviction under this statute, evidence of sexual penetration must be sufficient. The minimum prison sentence for a rape conviction is five years. However, the minimum sentence could increase to twenty-five years if the victim is a child under thirteen. If the victim of your acts is your spouse, the court could defer the judgment and send you to probation.
Taking Indecent Liberties with a Minor
In Virginia, liberty is the privilege or right to do something. The following acts constitute taking indecent liberties with a child:
- Exposing your genitals in the presence of the minor
- Asking or forcing the child to expose their genitals
- Fondling the sexual organs of a minor
- Asking a child to perform a sexual act on you
Under Section 18.2-370, taking indecent liberties with a minor is a class 5 felony punishable by a ten-year prison sentence and fines not exceeding $2500. If you are a repeat offender, your offense is treated as a class four felony, increasing potential prison time and fines.
Object Sexual Penetration
Virginia Code 18.2-67,2 makes it a crime to penetrate the vagina or anus of another person or cause the person to penetrate their body using a foreign object. You will face an arrest and conviction under this statute under the following circumstances:
- The alleged victim was thirteen years or younger
- You acted against the other person’s will
- The alleged victim could not defend themselves from the act due to physical or mental incapacitation,
Object sexual penetration is a felony that attracts a minimum prison sentence of five years.
Statutory rape involves non-forcible sexual intercourse with an individual under the age of consent. Even when the alleged victim verbally consented to the act, the law considers them too young to consent. The stakes are high for defendants facing charges of sex crimes against minors. Therefore, having a Fredericksburg criminal attorney will help you formulate a strong defense against your charges.
Most of us have broken a traffic rule at one point or another. Traffic offenses, even minor ones, can have serious consequences. You can be charged with a traffic offense as a misdemeanor or felony in Virginia.
Common driving crimes that result in a misdemeanor charge or conviction include:
- Reckless driving
- Driving without a valid license
- First and second offenses for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving on a suspended license.
The main difference between misdemeanors and simple traffic violations is that misdemeanor convictions result in jail time. Additionally, the conviction will remain on your criminal record. The penalties you face following a misdemeanor driving offense conviction include the following:
- Jail time
- Driver’s license suspension
The severity of your penalties will vary depending on your criminal background and the circumstances of your crime. However, with the guidance of your Fredericksburg criminal attorney, you can negotiate a probation sentence to avoid jail time.
A felony is the most serious offense under the Virginia criminal system. Felony driving crimes include:
- Third DUI offense
- Vehicular Manslaughter
- Hit and run causing injury or death of another person
Felony driving offenses attract a lengthy prison sentence, heftier fines, and a longer driver's license suspension.
Domestic violence is a serious crime that results in jail time and hefty fines after a conviction. Even when you do not face a conviction, an arrest record can ruin your reputation and professional relationships. If you face an arrest for domestic violence, the services of a Fredericksburg criminal lawyer will go a long way for you. One of the common offenses that fall under domestic violence include:
Assault and Battery Against a Household Member
You commit a crime of assault by engaging in an overact with the intent to cause harm to another person. On the other hand, ‘battery’ is the unlawful touching of another person. The offense is classified under domestic violence when evidence shows that the alleged victim is a member of your household. Under Virginia Code 18.2-57.2, a household member is defined as any of the following individuals:
- Former or current spouse
- Your parents, children, or siblings with whom you share a home
- The other parent of your child
- A cohabitant or domestic partner
The penalties you face for assault and battery of a household member vary depending on your criminal history and other factors of your case. As a first offense, Virginia Code 18.2-57.2 is a class one misdemeanor that attracts a twelve months jail sentence and fines of up to $2,500. A second assault and battery offense within twenty years of the first offense is a class six felony, which attracts a maximum of five years in prison.
In addition to prison time and fines, the court could issue a protective order against you. A protective order prohibits contact between you and the victim of your actions. In domestic violence cases, protective orders are classified into three categories:
- Emergency protective order
- Preliminary protective order
- Permanent protective order
Whether your protective order is issued based on a court order or from a police report, the order will impose the following conditions:
- Prohibit further criminal activity or acts of abuse against the victim
- Prohibit physical or electronic contact between you and the victim
- Prohibits occupation of a home or premise
- The requirement to surrender your firearms
If you fail to live up to the conditions of the protective order, you risk facing an arrest and charges under Virginia Code 18.2-60.4. Violation of a protective order is a class one misdemeanor punishable by a twelve months jail sentence.
The laws prohibiting the possession, sale, and use of controlled substances in Virginia are severe. A simple act of drug possession could put you behind bars and leave a permanent criminal record that will follow you for decades.
Unfortunately, innocent and unsuspecting individuals are often caught up in drug cases for being in the wrong places. If you face an arrest and charges for a drug offense, you will require the guidance of a Fredericksburg criminal lawyer to fight your charges. Common drug crimes addressed under Virginia law include:
Possession of Drugs
Under Virginia Code 18.2-250. It is a crime for an individual to knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance without a valid prescription. Drugs and controlled substances are classified according to their effect on the user, ranging from prescription pills to hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. Simple possession of drugs is a misdemeanor. The penalties you face after a conviction under this statute vary depending on the type of drug you possess, the amount of drug found during the arrest, and your criminal history.
For first-time offenders, the law is lenient, and you may fail to spend time in jail. Instead, the judge will send you to probation with the following conditions:
- Community service
- Random alcohol and drug testing
- Driver’s license suspension
- Substance abuse treatment
If you are a repeat offender, a conviction for drug possession will attract a jail sentence and substantial fines.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Drug paraphernalia is any equipment used to consume, manufacture, or package controlled substances. Even when you do not possess an illegal drug, possession of paraphernalia is a crime charged under Section 54.1-3466 of Virginia law. Common examples of drug paraphernalia include:
- Water pipes
- Knives and spoons
- Roach clips
- Weighing scales
Unless you are legally authorized to handle or sell these items, you can face an arrest and conviction under this statute. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a class one misdemeanor that attracts a jail sentence of twelve months and a fine of up to $2500.
Drug trafficking laws define the sale, transportation, and import of controlled substances. You will face a felony charge for transporting the following quantities of a controlled substance into the state:
- 0ne ounce or more of cocaine and its derivatives
- At least one ounce of a schedule I or II substance
- Five or more pounds of marijuana
In Virginia, drug trafficking is an unclassified felony. An unclassified felony is a crime that has different penalties set by the law. You will face a conviction for drug trafficking if there is evidence that you transported the substances with the intent to sell. A drug trafficking conviction attracts a forty-year prison sentence and fines of up to $1,000,000. If you are a first-time offender, your Fredericksburg defense lawyer can help obtain a probation sentence, reducing your time in prison.
Possession of Marijuana to Sell
Under Virginia Code 18.2-248.1, it is unlawful to give, sell, distribute or possess marijuana with the intent to sell. While simple marijuana is unlawful, it does not attract criminal charges. Possession of marijuana for sale is a class one misdemeanor punishable by a one-year jail sentence and fines of up to $2500. However, your jail sentence and fines could increase significantly when the quantity of the substance is 5 lbs. or more.
White Collar Crimes
White-collar crimes are offenses that involve financial schemes and other criminal actions that involve dishonesty or fraud. The issues in white-collar crimes are complicated and may involve losses of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Although these crimes are not violent, they are serious offenses whose conviction attracts severe penalties. Numerous offenses fall under the white-collar crime classification in Virginia, including:
Money laundering is the use of property or money obtained illegally for lawful purposes. Under Virginia Code 18.2-246.3., money laundering is a felony that attracts a prison sentence of up to forty years after a conviction. Additionally, the court could impose fines of up to $500,000. The severity of the penalties you face vary depending on the amount of money involved in the scheme.
You commit the crime of embezzlement when you use property or money entrusted to you for personal gain. Unlike robbery, where an offender uses force or violence to take another person’s property, embezzlement offenders use fraudulent schemes to steal from unsuspecting victims.
Under Code 18.2-111 of Virginia law, embezzlement can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. If the money or value of the property involved in the embezzlement scheme is less than $200, the prosecutor will file misdemeanor charges. As a misdemeanor, embezzlement is punishable by:
- Up to $2500 in fines
- Victim restitution
- A year in county jail
A felony conviction for embezzlement arises when you embezzle money or property worth $2,000 or more. A felony conviction under this statute attracts a sentence of up to twenty years, a minimum of $2500 in fines, and probation.
Identity theft is a crime that involves the use of another person’s identification information to procure goods or services. If there is sufficient evidence to prove that your acts of identity theft resulted in a loss of $500 or more, your crime is charged as a class six felony and punishable by a five years prison sentence and a fine not exceeding $2500.
However, if the loss suffered by the victim was less than$5,00, you will be charged with a class one felony which attracts a one-year jail sentence. If you have a prior conviction for identity theft in Virginia, the court will sentence you to ten years in prison for your current conviction.
The stakes are high if you or your loved one faces charges for identity theft. Therefore, seeking the guidance of a skilled Fredericksburg criminal lawyer is critical.
Extortion is the offense in which you allow another person to give up property or money with threats or coercion of financial hardship, violence, or a ruined reputation. Under Virginia Code 18.2-59, extortion can be charged as a class five felony or a misdemeanor. A class five felony is punishable by a prison sentence of up to ten years and $2500 in fines. As a misdemeanor, the offense attracts a one-year jail sentence.
If you face an arrest or learn that you are under investigation for a white-collar crime, it would be wise to enlist the guidance of a Fredericksburg criminal lawyer.
Find a Skilled Criminal Attorney Near Me
No one plans to be a defendant in a criminal case. However, if you face an arrest and the prosecutor files criminal charges, your freedom and livelihood could be at risk. For both misdemeanor and felony charges, the consequences of a criminal conviction in Virginia are severe. Fortunately, not all arrests attract a conviction. You can be charged with a crime for several reasons, including poor judgment, mistaken identity, or false allegations. Regardless of the circumstances around your case, you may be able to fight your charges and avoid a conviction.
Consulting with a knowledgeable criminal attorney to represent you in your case is critical in building a successful defense against your charges. We at Virginia Criminal Attorney have extensive knowledge and experience in defending criminal cases and securing the best possible outcome. We serve clients seeking legal guidance and representation to battle criminal charges in Fredericksburg, VA. Contact us today at 703-718-5533 to discuss the details of your case.