Criminal charges can affect your life significantly, especially if the court finds you guilty of the accusation. As a suspect, you must understand the criminal system to help you navigate it more easily. You will also have the chance to defend yourself accordingly when you access additional information on the nature of your case. The law applicable in your state also determines the course of your case, so you must consult the relevant provisions to prepare for the hearing.
When dealing with a criminal accusation, work closely with a defense attorney who will guide and represent you during trial. Their input is critical for your case, as they understand the criminal procedure better. You can, therefore, count on them to prepare a solid defense to avoid facing penalties.
At Virginia Criminal Attorney, we provide quality legal services geared toward helping you avoid the severe repercussions of a criminal conviction. We aim to provide quality guidance and legal representation, allowing you to avoid severe punishment after conviction. Your defense attorney is available to help anyone facing criminal accusations in Reston, Virginia.
Understanding the Criminal Process After Arrest
When you face arrest for suspected involvement in criminal behavior, you face detention to give the police a chance to obtain relevant evidence. They will also forward the evidence to the prosecutor responsible for issuing a formal criminal charge against you.
Criminal charges vary based on multiple factors, including the nature of your actions, outcomes, and effects on the crime victims. As a result, the legal system classifies criminal offenses into either misdemeanor or felony crimes.
Misdemeanor offenses are less severe than felonies, including crimes resulting in minor losses or little harm to the victim. Based on this, first-time offenders are more likely to receive a misdemeanor charge unless they engage in a serious crime that warrants additional punishment.
Conversely, felony offenses are more severe and involve actions that cause serious harm to the victims. For example, murder or manslaughter are felony offenses, and they attract more severe punishments than misdemeanor crimes.
After learning about the nature of the charge you face, consider contacting your Reston criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to prepare for the subsequent procedures. Since you will still be in detention, your details should be as accurate as possible to enable your attorney to prepare as required.
Your detention does not necessarily have to last until conviction, especially if you successfully complete the booking process. You can thus opt for release on bail or bond, and your defense attorney helps you access the required resources within a reasonable time.
After release, you will regain your liberty but are still under the court’s terms and restrictions. You should, therefore, use the time to prepare for your defense by working closely with your defense lawyer. Further, you can inquire about the criminal trial process and how to thoroughly involve yourself in the procedures.
Common Offenses Prosecuted in Reston
Dealing with the criminal system requires understanding the nature of offenses, especially those commonly prosecuted in your area. With the information, you can determine the most probable outcome for your case by analyzing previously decided cases. The details will also help you determine how seriously the offense is treated and the types of penalties issued regularly.
When working with your Reston criminal attorney, you can expect them to provide detailed information about your criminal charge. They will also compare it to similar offenses and charges from different states for perspective. The following are commonly charged offenses, and the main elements of crime for each are:
Driving Under the Influence
Drunk driving is prohibited under Virginia Statute Section 18.2-266, and you are liable to face criminal charges for the offense once arrested. The main elements of the crime for the prosecutor to prove are that you operated a motor vehicle and that you were under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
To do this, you can expect the prosecutor to present information on your blood alcohol concentration, as it shows that you exceeded the legal limit set at 0.08%. Additionally, they may present surveillance footage indicating that you drove a motor vehicle to demonstrate that you violated the law and are thus answerable for the DUI charges.
Further information that the prosecutor may provide includes field sobriety test results, chemical test results, and police reports indicating that you were intoxicated. Your Reston defense attorney will help you prepare defenses to counter the accusations and persuade the court of your innocence, so you must remain in contact throughout the court process.
Petit and Grand Larceny
Larceny is a form of theft involving the possession of items belonging to a third party without their knowledge or consent. Virginia statutes prohibit petit and grand larceny under Section 18.2-95, with specific penalties for either type of larceny.
Petit larceny involves theft of property worth $900 and below. It often falls within the misdemeanor class because it involves less severe charges. On the other hand, grand larceny involves stealing property worth more than $900, and it may attract felony charges if you cause significant losses to the victims.
During the trial, the prosecutor must demonstrate that you moved an item, regardless of how far you moved it, to indicate its displacement. Further, the prosecution team should demonstrate that you moved the item without the owner’s knowledge or permission and intended to deprive them of the item permanently. When presenting each crime element, the prosecutor must also support their accusations with sufficient evidence for the court to accept them.
Trespassing on Someone's Property
Accessing someone’s property without their permission is unlawful and attracts a trespassing charge under Section 18.2-119 of the Virginia statutes. Although you may not cause direct harm to the owner’s property, the prosecutor may still press charges against you based on violating property rights.
If so, the prosecution team must demonstrate that you accessed someone’s property and physically entered the location. Additionally, they should show that you were aware of the restricted nature of the area but still proceeded to access it. If you caused damage to the property, you can expect the prosecutor to present information to demonstrate this, bringing their argument to a close.
Assaulting a person is a severe crime prohibited under Section 18.2-57 of the Virginia statutes, and it may attract misdemeanor or felony penalties. The main accusation in the offense involves causing someone to reasonably believe that they are in danger by attempting to cause them physical harm.
In court, the prosecutor must show that you used indirect force or objects to cause the victim harm, resulting in the assault. They must also establish that you knowingly undertook the actions and that you intended to cause the victim harm. For example, if you throw a hard object at the victim, you are answerable for assault charges, as your actions satisfy the main elements of the crime.
Possessing and Distributing Drugs Illegally
Drug crimes are commonly prosecuted in all states, including Virginia. Possession and distribution of drugs is illegal under Section 18.2-248 of the Virginia statutes, and you face misdemeanor or felony penalties for involvement in the crime.
When the trial begins, the prosecutor will focus on the type of drugs seized from you and the specific actions you are accused of undertaking as an offender. For example, if you are answerable for possession only, you may face different penalties than someone facing distribution charges.
Generally Applicable Defenses Against Criminal Charges
After the prosecution closes their case, the court allows a defense hearing to give you a chance to explain your position. You can present defenses for your case based on the need to uphold a fair trial and obtain justice through reasonable means. Since you can prepare for the defense hearing in advance, you need to work closely with your attorney to raise your chances of a favorable case outcome.
Your Reston criminal defense lawyer’s role is to help you prepare solid and compelling defenses to justify your position. A persuasive defense is essential to your case, as it reduces your chance of facing a conviction by casting reasonable doubt on the prosecution’s argument.
The following are helpful defenses applicable if you face a criminal charge:
You Face False Accusations
Although criminal laws and procedures call for fair and equitable criminal trials, some parties may raise false accusations against you. For example, the prosecutor may prepare a case with exaggerated or incorrect details when presenting their argument against you.
Alternatively, a witness may lie under oath and provide false information that the court then uses to assess your case. If so, you must present your basis for the defense and support your argument by presenting persuasive evidential sources.
For example, you can request that your attorney present details linked to a prosecution witness preparing to give false information. Similarly, you can present messages, texts, emails, or recorded audio from the parties you suspect gave false information to show they planned for it. Before presenting these details in court, your Reston defense lawyer should ascertain that the evidence is admissible and relevant to the current case.
Since false accusations may also involve fabricated evidence, consider gathering information about attempts to frame you for the crime. Showing that you did not participate in the alleged actions may require you to provide an alibi, so consider preparing details of your actual whereabouts at the time of the crime in detail.
You Did Not Intend to Commit the Offense in Question
Criminal intent is a crucial element of the crime for the prosecution to prove in any case, so you can raise a defense against it to counter their accusations. The prosecutor will likely show that you intended to commit an offense using circumstantial evidence, as it shows your thought processes before breaking the law.
For example, hiding items while in a convenience store indicates your intention to break the law, and it shows that you understand that your actions are unlawful. However, in your defense, you can demonstrate that you did not intend to commit the offense and that your actions were taken out of context.
Although demonstrating your lack of criminal intention can be technical, your criminal defense attorney can help you prepare a strong defense. Their strategy may include presenting a different set of facts to show your actions were not premeditated or that arrest occurred without correctly understanding your actions.
Your Case Involves Police Misconduct
Some cases may also include police misconduct, warranting the judge to reassess your case facts and possibly order your acquittal. Police misconduct may manifest in various ways, including corruption with members of the general public.
An example of police misconduct is when an officer accepts bribes to falsify or exaggerate police records of your arrest, making you guilty for an offense that you may not have been involved in. Additionally, you have a rightful claim of police misconduct if the officers intentionally present false records on discriminatory grounds. You can, therefore, present your claim and seek consideration, provided you have sufficient evidence of the claims made.
Alternatively, police misconduct may arise from forced admittance to guilt, contrary to constitutional provisions on an accused person’s rights. For example, if the officers at the station threaten to harm you or your loved ones if you fail to provide incriminating evidence, you can raise the issue during the defense hearing.
Police misconduct claims are serious, and they involve launching an investigation into officers and other court personnel. Based on the severe nature of the accusations, your defense attorney will advise you only to use the argument if you have enough evidential sources to support the claims.
The Prosecutor’s Evidence is Insufficient or Illegally Obtained
The prosecutor holds the burden of proof in criminal cases, making it crucial for them to provide quality evidential sources that leave no reasonable doubt on your involvement in the crime. While they should undertake this responsibility continuously, some prosecutors use unethical means to obtain evidence against you or present substandard arguments with little to no evidence.
You can, therefore, challenge the integrity of the evidence provided against you if the prosecution team obtained it through illegal search and seizure, stalking, or entrapment. Your Reston defense lawyer will help you gather the sources of proof necessary to demonstrate that the evidential sources were obtained without following the correct procedure, undermining the justice system.
Your Case Involves Mistaken Identity
Mistaken identity cases result in prosecution and convictions for many innocent parties, so you need to raise the issue soon after realizing the error in your case. Your defense attorney plays a vital role in helping you demonstrate that you are not the intended accused person in this case.
Since the prosecution will have already presented evidence to incriminate you, you should provide information to counter their accusations and justify your claims. For example, you can provide details on the party guilty of the accusations you face to give the court a chance to properly analyze them. In doing this, you will have successfully countered the prosecutor’s accusations and cast reasonable doubt, which reduces your chances of facing criminal penalties.
A skilled criminal defense attorney is essential to raising strong defenses and avoiding punishment. Working closely with them allows you to look forward to a smoother court trial and lenient case outcomes.
How Your Criminal Defense Attorney Helps Prepare for Trial
Facing a criminal charge in Reston can be intimidating and hectic, especially if you are a first-time offender. You will have a lot of paperwork to complete and submit on time and court dates to adhere to. Additionally, being a defendant in a case requires you to conduct a proper legal analysis to help you raise defenses.
Working with a criminal defense attorney throughout your case is essential, as they have access to critical legal resources to help with the case. Further, their experience handling similar cases as yours equipped them to represent you in court.
The following are the benefits of working with a criminal defense attorney throughout your case:
- They contacted the prosecution team on your behalf
- The team represents you in court
- Your lawyer gathers quality evidence to help your case
- They can request a plea bargain where necessary
- They prepare robust defense strategies
- They prepare witnesses to testify on your behalf
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
When you or a loved one faces criminal accusations, you need to react quickly to avoid facing severe criminal repercussions, including imprisonment. Based on this, you should identify the nature of your charge, the required criminal procedure, and the most effective defenses to apply for better chances of a favorable case outcome. You also need the services of a qualified criminal defense attorney who will represent you in court and undertake the necessary legal procedures on time.
At Virginia Criminal Attorney, we provide quality legal services to guide you throughout your criminal proceedings. Our team is equipped to help you prepare solid counterarguments in advance, making it easier to challenge the prosecutor’s case against you.
Additionally, our skilled team understands the importance of presenting information backed by solid evidence. With our help, you can look forward to a more favorable case outcome that helps you avoid legal penalties. If you or a loved one requires criminal defense services in Reston, Virginia, call us today at 703-718-5533.