When a law enforcement officer cites you for violating Virginia law, you will be arrested and charged with a criminal offense. Criminal offenses range from minor theft crimes like shoplifting to serious and violent felonies like murder and arson. Most crimes in Virginia attract misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the circumstances of the case and your criminal history.

For some offenses, serving jail time may be inevitable. Sometimes, the court can impose hefty fines and probation. After serving your sentence and paying your fines, the consequences of your conviction will still follow you.

Securing employment, enrolling in a good school, or obtaining a professional license may be challenging with a criminal record. A dedicated legal team by your side can help improve your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in your case. At Virginia Criminal Attorney, we understand a conviction's impact on your freedom and life. Our top-notch attorneys will offer you the much-needed legal expertise to battle your criminal charges in Great Falls, VA.

Sex Crimes

A sex crime is an offense that violates Virginia law and has a sexual element to it. Since most of these crimes involve minors and other vulnerable individuals, the courts aggressively ensure that you face harsh punishment. Most sex crimes are felonies and carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence. There are a variety of sex crimes with which you could be charged in Virginia, including:


Under Virginia Code 18.2-61, it is a crime to have sexual intercourse with someone else against their will. The following elements must be met for you to be charged and convicted of rape:

  • You engaged in the act through intimidation, threats, or force.
  • You engaged in sexual intercourse with a person who was mentally incapacitated.
  • You committed a crime against a child.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, rape attracts felony charges. The court will impose a minimum sentence of five years in prison if you are convicted of the offense. Your mandatory minimum sentence may increase to twenty-five years behind bars if your crime's victim is a minor under the age of thirteen.

Sexual Battery

Virginia law defines sexual battery as sexual abuse committed through threats, intimidation, and tricks. Before a conviction for this offense in Virginia, the commonwealth must prove the following factors:

  • You touched or forced yourself on another person against their will.
  • You touched the alleged victim's intimate parts.
  • Your actions were motivated by a sexual motive.
  • You used force, threats, or intimidation to accomplish the sexual act.

Sexual battery is a class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment for this offense is a jail sentence of up to one year. The court would impose a harsher penalty against you if the victim of your actions were a minor under thirteen years of age.

Taking Indecent Liberties with a Child

Sex crimes involving children are punished harshly under Virginia law. A mere accusation could ruin your life, even if you are not convicted of the offense. When you expose your genitals to a child, you can be charged with having indecent liberties.

The court will rely on the testimony from the child and the following elements to secure a conviction under Virginia Code 18.2-370.01:

  • You showed your genitalia to another person or requested that they expose themselves.
  • The victim was a child.
  • You were up to five years older than the victim.
  • You willfully and knowingly took indecent liberties with the child.
  • You acted with intent for sexual arousal or gratification.

The penalties for violating Virginia Code 18.2-370.01 include a jail sentence not exceeding twelve months and a maximum of $2500 in fines. The exact sentence you receive significantly depends on the child's age.

Domestic Violence

Under Virginia law, domestic violence is the assault and battery of family members. Unlike other states, where the crime only covers spouses or cohabitants, Virginia Code 18.2-57.2 addresses all individuals in the household. You commit the crime of assault and battery by engaging in acts that could harm or cause injury to a family member.

A family member could be any of the following individuals:

  • Your current or former spouse.
  • Your children, whether adopted, biological, or stepchildren.
  • The other parent of your child.
  • Your siblings and parents.
  • A domestic partner.

Assault and battery against a family member attract misdemeanor charges. A domestic violence conviction attracts a jail sentence of up to one year. The nature of your acts and criminal history plays a significant role in your sentencing under this statute. In addition to incarceration and fines, the court could issue a restraining order against you.

Drug Crimes

Virginia's drug laws are harsh and straightforward. A conviction for a drug crime could see you spend a long time behind bars. The severity of your penalties often varies depending on the type and quantity of the controlled substance involved. Common drug crimes with which you could be charged include:

Possession of a Controlled Drug

Under Virginia Code 18.2-250, drug possession involves owning or holding a controlled drug. Some controlled substances under Virginia law include cocaine, marijuana, meth, and heroin.

There are six distinct classes of controlled substances. These drugs are classified depending on their physical and psychological dependence. Possession of a controlled substance can attract misdemeanor or felony charges. The schedule of drugs and the amount in your possession will determine the severity of your sentence.

A conviction for drug possession results in a jail sentence of up to one year. When charged as a felony, Virginia Code 18.2-250 could see you spend between two and ten years in prison.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Under Virginia Code 54.1-3466, drug paraphernalia is equipment or a product used to inject, manufacture, and consume a controlled substance. Common examples of items that are considered paraphernalia under this statute include:

  • Water pipes.
  • Bongs.
  • Needles.
  • Scales.
  • Roach clips.

The court will impose a maximum jail sentence of twelve months if you are convicted of possessing drug paraphernalia. Additionally, the prosecution may file additional charges against you if you intend to sell the paraphernalia.

Therefore, you must hire and retain a knowledgeable Great Falls criminal defense lawyer to help you build a strong defense in the case.

Drug Manufacturing

The cultivation and manufacture of drugs is a crime that is severely punished in Virginia. You will face an arrest and charges under Virginia Code 18.2-248 if you manufacture a controlled drug or an imitation of the controlled substance. The manufacture of the following drugs will attract felony charges:

  • A substance containing up to 100 grams of heroin.
  • Up to 500g of cocaine or a mixture containing the drug.
  • Up to 10g of methamphetamine or its derivatives.

A conviction for the manufacture of drugs attracts a mandatory minimum sentence. You could avoid mandatory jail time under the following circumstances:

  • You do not have a prior drug conviction. Virginia law is strict on repeat offenders.
  • Your drug crime did not involve using firearms or violence against another person.
  • You cooperated with law enforcement during their investigations.
  • No one suffered injury or death as a result of your crime.
  • You are not involved in organized crime groups.

Fraud Crimes

You commit fraud by intentionally deceiving another person or business for unlawful gain. Common fraud laws in Virginia include:

Check Fraud

You can be charged with check fraud for engaging in the following acts:

  • You write a check on a closed account.
  • You deliver or draw a check on an account with insufficient funds.
  • You write a check on an account that does not exist.

Identity Theft

Under Virginia Code 18.2–186.3, identity theft occurs when you unlawfully obtain another person’s information for fraud. Common information that could be stolen includes a person’s social security number, driver’s license number, bank account information, and name. The following acts can result in a conviction for identity theft:

  • You obtain another person’s information, which could help you access their financial accounts.
  • Obtain money or credit using another person’s information.
  • Acquire identification information using another person’s name.


Forgery involves the falsification of something to deceive another person. This could include the falsification of a signature or name on official documents. Common cases of forgery include:

Although fraud crimes do not cause injury or harm to others, a conviction can result in harsh penalties. Therefore, having a skilled Great Falls defense attorney is critical to helping you beat the charges.

Credit Card Fraud

Using a credit card to obtain something fraudulently will result in your arrest and charges under Virginia Code 18.2-195. Some of the acts that constitute this crime include:

  • You used a stolen credit card.
  • You use another person’s credit card information without their consent.
  • Obtain and hold credit card information as collateral for a debt.
  • Obtain money over the credit card limit.

Credit card fraud is a wobbler. This means that the offense can attract felony or misdemeanor charges. The nature of your penalties will vary depending on the amount you intend to defraud.

Violent Crimes

Violent offenses happen in Virginia every day. These offenses involve serious injury or the killing of another person. Virginia law is strict on individuals who commit these offenses. A conviction for a violent crime in Great Falls, VA, will result in a prolonged prison sentence and hefty fines. Common offenses that fall under the category of violent crimes include:


Virginia Code 18.2-77 defines arson as intentionally or maliciously burning property or a structure. You can be charged with arson, whether you burned property belonging to you or another person. Virginia law presumes that the cause of a fire is an accident until proven otherwise. otherwise. Therefore, the commonwealth has a huge burden to prove that the fire was intentional.

The following factors will help prove your liability under Virginia Code 18.2-77:

  • You committed an incendiary act. Under this statute, an incendiary act is anything you do to further the arson crime. This could include the application of an accelerant. The Commonwealth must prove that you engaged in this activity before your conviction.
  • You burned property or a structure. To be charged with arson in Virginia, you must have burned or destroyed property with fire.
  • Criminal intent. Your criminal intent is a significant piece of evidence in an arson case. The Commonwealth must establish that you burned the property maliciously or through reckless conduct.

A conviction for malicious burning of property may see you spend up to five years in prison. You could face similar penalties for helping another person commit the crime.

First-Degree Murder

Virginia Code 18.2-32 defines murder as the unlawful killing of another person through the following means:

  • Lying in wait.
  • Poison.
  • Starving.
  • Premeditation.
  • Imprisonment.

You could also be charged with this offense if you kill another person during the commission of these felonies:

  • Forcible sodomy.
  • Rape.
  • Arson.
  • Abduction.
  • Burglary.

A conviction for violating Virginia Code 18.2-32 carries a minimum prison sentence of twenty years. The court can sentence you to life imprisonment under certain circumstances. If you or a loved one faces murder charges in Great Falls, VA, you will need expert legal guidance.


You commit the crime of kidnapping when you use intimidation, force, or deception to detain another person with the intention to:

  • Deprive the person of their liberty.
  • Withhold or conceal the victim.
  • Subject the victim to forced labor.

Under Virginia Code 18.2-47, you do not need to move another person from their location for you to be charged with kidnapping. Abduction or kidnapping is a class 5 felony. Your punishment could include a maximum of ten years in prison.

Driving While Intoxicated

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is an offense in Virginia. Acts that constitute DWI include:

  • Driving with a BAC of 0.08% or more.
  • Operating a vehicle with a blood concentration of up to 0.1 mg/l of methamphetamine.
  • Driving with a blood concentration of 0.02 or more of cocaine.

A DWI investigation can begin when a law enforcement officer stops your vehicle on suspicion of drunk driving. Some of the signs that the traffic officers will look for before stopping your vehicle may include the following:

  • Speeding.
  • Dangerous chance of lanes.
  • Failure to obey traffic rules.

After stopping your vehicle, the officers will assess your conduct before administering a breathalyzer test. You will be arrested and taken to the police station if your BAC exceeds the legal limit. The officers can administer further blood testing to ascertain your BAC. Your blood alcohol content is significant evidence in a drunk driving case.

If the prosecution files DWI charges against you, the prosecution must prove that:

  • You were driving. Under Virginia Code 18.2-266, you could be charged with DWI even when the vehicle was not in motion. If you sit in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with the keys in the ignition, you can be found guilty under this statute.
  • Your BAC exceeded the legal limit. Your BAC test results are critical to obtaining a guilty verdict in a DWI case. The legal BAC limit for drivers twenty-one years and over is 0.08%. Virginia has zero-tolerance laws for underage drinking and driving.

A DWI conviction attracts serious legal penalties. The nature of your penalties will vary depending on your criminal history and underlying circumstances:

  • You will face a minimum of $250 in fines for a first DUI offense.
  • The court may impose a jail sentence of up to one year for a second DUI offense. The minimum jail sentence could be ten or twenty days, depending on the time between your first and current offenses.
  • For a third DWI conviction within ten years, the court will impose a minimum of six months in jail.

The court could impose harsher penalties if your BAC was between 0.15% and 0.02% during your arrest. In addition to incarceration and fines, a conviction for DWI will result in a driver’s license revocation for up to five years. The loss of your driver’s license can be devastating for your livelihood.

Find a Reliable Criminal Lawyer Near Me

No one plans to be a defendant in a criminal case. You will face serious criminal charges when you are arrested for committing a crime in Virginia. Virginia laws are strict, and your freedom is at stake when you face charges in the state. You could face incarceration and hefty fines if you are convicted of an offense. Additionally, the conviction will leave a lasting criminal record that is difficult to shake off.

Some charges are based on false allegations, mistaken identification, or a mistake of facts. You will need the guidance of a skilled lawyer if you or a loved one faces criminal charges. Your choice of legal representation can make the difference between spending the rest of your life behind bars and walking away with a dismissed case.

At Virginia Criminal Attorney, we will ensure that your constitutional rights are protected and work hard to build a strong defense for your case. We offer expert guidance for clients seeking help to battle criminal charges in Great Falls, CA. Call us today at 703-718-5533 to discuss your case.