Located in the south-central part of the United States, Virginia has a population of over 7 million and is one of the most populated states in America. Owing to the huge population, several types of criminal offenses occur there, including driving while intoxicated (DWI), violence, fraud, driving, or drug offenses.
If you are accused of a crime and placed under arrest in Richmond, Virginia, you could be unaware of the next steps. To effectively fight your criminal case, you must know the elements, potential consequences, aggravating circumstances, and defenses to these offenses.
You want to seek a criminal attorney's guidance to understand your case facts and build a solid defense. When working with your attorney, you should feel secure and assured that a qualified expert handles your case. At the Virginia Criminal Attorney, our experienced team can handle various crimes and help you have a better chance of having a sentence reduced or your charges dropped.
In Virginia, the law considers domestic violence a serious criminal offense. Domestic violence involves making threats or using physical force against a family member. Upon conviction, possible punishment includes lengthy jail terms, hefty fines, and protective orders against you.
You could face limitations on contact with the victim even after acquittal. An arrest is enough to destroy your reputation in Richmond. Your children, spouse, or in-laws who reside under your roof are family members under this statute. The following are some examples of the offense:
Assault and Battery Against a Family or Household Member, Virginia Code § 18.2-57.2
Virginia Code § 18.2-57.2 is the statute that punishes assault and battery against a family or household member. You face a class 1 misdemeanor if you violate this statute. Per the law, you are guilty of domestic violence if you perform an obvious act intending to cause bodily injury and have the capacity to cause such harm.
Also, an assault could happen when you commit an overt action meant to make the victim fear or apprehensive of a physical injury and instill a reasonable fear or apprehension in them. The intentional or unauthorized touching of someone else is considered a battery crime.
Under the law, the touching need not cause any harm, and it might even be done to be impolite or insulting. Accidentally touching is not considered a battery offense if it wasn't done carelessly.
Parties Considered Family or Household Members
Crimes of “assault or battery” and “assault or battery against a family or household member” are distinct. With the latter, you commit assault against someone to whom you are related or with whom you live. The following are examples of family or household members:
- Your spouse. It does not matter if you live together in the same house.
- Your ex-spouse. It does not matter if you still live together in the same house.
- Your children, parents, siblings, half-siblings, stepchildren, stepparents, and grandparents. It does not matter if you live together in the same house.
- Your sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brothers-in-law, and sisters-in-law. It does not matter if you live together in the same house.
- Any person with whom you have borne a child. It does not matter if you have been married to or lived with another parent.
- Any person with whom you cohabitated or did so within the preceding year, and any of your children or those of your partner living together. If you are accused of domestic violence, you might refute the accusation by claiming that you were wrongly accused, the injuries were unintentional, or you acted in self-defense or to protect others.
Discretionary Detention of the Primary Physical Aggressor
When the police respond to a report of a domestic disturbance, they typically make an arrest. Even if the officers were not present when the violation of the protection order or domestic violence occurred, law enforcement could arrest without a warrant. The "reasonable complaint of a person who observed the alleged offense" is enough for police to make an arrest.
Depending on the situation, the police will detain and arrest the individual they judge as the "predominant physical aggressor,” regardless of whether the other party initiated the altercation.
If you are convicted of domestic violence, the judge will likely order you to undergo anger management counseling as a condition of your probation. You may also be ordered to stay away from your victim and avoid any contact with them.
Violent Crimes in Richmond
Criminal acts involving violence may result from a single incident or a pattern of abuse over time. You will need a defense attorney on your side if you are accused of a violent crime in Virginia so they can fight the allegations and make sure you receive a fair trial.
Violent crimes in Richmond, Virginia, could include the following:
- Carjacking, Virginia Code § 18.2-58.1
- Robbery, Virginia Code § 18.2-58
- Acts of Terrorism, Virginia Code § 18.2-46.5
- Gang crimes, Virginia Code § 18.2-46.1
- Involuntary manslaughter, Virginia Code § 18.2-36
- Voluntary manslaughter, Virginia Code § 18.2-35
- Sexual Assault, Virginia Code § 18.2-61
- Murder, Virginia Code § 18.2-32
- Kidnapping, Virginia Code § 18.2-47
- Assault and battery, Virginia Code § 18.2-57
Penalties to Violent Crimes in Richmond, Virginia
In Virginia, the maximum sentence for a serious felony is life in prison, with a Class 1 misdemeanor for simple assault. In some situations, the severity of the victim's injuries can influence the penalty for a violent criminal conviction.
Some first-time domestic violence assault cases involving family or household members result in the accused person's charges being postponed and placed on probation. Counseling, drug or alcohol treatment, education, community service, and other requirements for a delayed disposition may be included in terms of probation.
Most allegations of simple assault are misdemeanors, which carry a maximum 12-month prison sentence. However, allegations of injury-related violence involving a hate crime or a police officer are typically considered felonies.
The majority of other violent criminal charges are considered felonies. Even after being released from prison, criminals may still encounter challenges in finding employment, obtaining housing or assistance, or acquiring firearms.
Possible Defenses to Violent Crime Charges
You can have your day in court even if the police do not believe your version of events. I'll look into your case to determine the most effective defense. This might comprise the following:
- Self-defense or the defense of someone else.
- Police misconduct.
- The plaintiff started the fight.
- Yours is a case of mistaken identity.
- The plaintiff escalated the fight.
- Your contact was accidental, not intentional.
- Witnesses dispute the plaintiff's event account.
Drug Crime Laws
Anyone detained in Richmond on a drug-related offense knows how harshly many laws outlawing the possession and sale of prohibited substances are. You could have a criminal record for decades due to a straightforward possession accusation. Even if a person has no intention of selling or distributing anything, having a large amount of a substance could result in penalties for drug sales.
Because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, innocent persons are frequently implicated in drug cases and charged with felonies. Drug arrests can result in substantial prison time, a criminal record, and the loss of key privileges.
The following are drug and controlled substance crimes in Richmond, Virginia:
- Prescription drug fraud, Virginia Code § 18.2-258.1
- Drug DUI, Virginia Code § 18.2-266
- Drug trafficking, Virginia Code § 18.2-248.01
- Marijuana cultivation, Virginia Code § 18.2-248
- Drug distribution, Virginia Code § 18.2-248
- Possession of drug paraphernalia, Virginia Code § 18.2-265.3
- Possession with intent to distribute, Virginia Code § 18.2-248
- Possession of marijuana, Virginia Code § 18.2-250.1
- Drug possession, Virginia Code § 18.2-250
Potential Penalties for Drug Offenses in Virginia
Possession of even a tiny amount of marijuana constitutes a misdemeanor for simple drug possession. A misdemeanor violation carries a maximum 12-month prison sentence. On the other hand, the first possession offense may be eligible for probation to postpone legal action. Drug testing, community work, and treatment for substance misuse are all possible conditions of probation.
Drug sales, large-scale drug possession, and crossing state lines to enter Virginia with drugs are all taken very seriously. These offenses are felonies, which entail harsh jail sentences. For instance, bringing narcotics into Virginia to sell them can result in a 40-year prison sentence.
Even after doing time, an offender will still face harsh consequences. This entails continuing to adhere to probationary requirements long after being freed. Additionally, felons won't be allowed to purchase firearms and may have difficulties locating housing, a job, or benefits.
Legal Defenses to Drug Crime Charges
There may be many legal defenses to drug possession or other drug-related accusations in your particular instance. Below are the strategies that could work best:
- You were in lawful possession of prescription medications.
- The medications were in the hands of another individual.
- The amount of a controlled substance was not indicated in the police report.
- Presence of police misconduct.
- Illegal police search and seizure.
Larceny Crimes in Richmond
In Virginia, larceny-related offenses can range from shoplifting or petty theft to embezzling millions of dollars. A larceny conviction can result in jail time, a criminal record, and the loss of specific privileges. Make sure you know your rights and the repercussions of forfeiting your right to a trial before pleading guilty to theft charges.
Virginia Larceny Offenses
What is typically referred to as stealing is generally referred to as "larceny" in Virginian law. In Virginia, there are numerous statutes regarding various forms of theft, including prohibitions against stealing shopping carts, animals, poultry, or crops. The following are the most frequent larceny offenses, nonetheless.
- Embezzlement, Virginia Code § 18.2-111
- Receiving stolen goods, Virginia Code § 18.2-108
- Unauthorized use, Virginia Code § 18.2-102
- Grand larceny, Virginia Code § 18.2-95
- Petit larceny, Virginia Code § 18.2-96
- Shoplifting, Virginia Code § 18.2-103
Penalties for Larceny Convictions
The severity of the punishments for larceny convictions typically depends on the amount or type of stolen property. A Class 1 Misdemeanor, Petty theft is typically believed to be the theft of things worth less than $1,000. A misdemeanor conviction carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail.
Grand larceny is the theft of something worth $1000 or more. Grand larceny is a felony that carries a potential 20-year prison sentence. No matter the object's value, grand larceny also includes theft of a firearm and theft from a person, like stealing someone's jewelry or purse.
Defenses to Larceny Charges
Charges of theft or larceny may have many legal defenses. Your criminal defense lawyer in Richmond will look into your case to identify the best ways to defend you. This might consist of the following:
- Honest mistakes regarding your property rights.
- Violations of the defendant's protections against unlawful search or seizure.
- The owner gave the defendant the property.
- The defendant owned the property.
- The defendant never left with the property.
- Mistaken identity.
Driving While Intoxicated DWI Law
It is against the law under Virginia Code 18.2-266 to operate a vehicle while under the influence of narcotics or with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. The burden of proof in these matters rests with the prosecutor, who must prove that you were intoxicated when operating a vehicle.
On the other hand, the court uses the findings of the breathalyzer test and the legal justification for the arrest, known as probable cause, to decide whether you are guilty or innocent. The court will order a chemical test on the blood if you provided a blood sample after arrest but did not consent to a breath test.
You are likely to be found guilty if the tests reveal that you were intoxicated or under the influence of drugs when you were arrested. You might be charged with DWI based on the officers' observations. Upon initial encounter, police will evaluate your voice, demeanor, and muscle activity. Slur your speech and display other intoxication-related symptoms, such as red eyes.
They will have a good reason to think you were drunk when you drove, and they will look into it further by ordering field sobriety tests, for example. DUI offenses carry severe penalties; however, these situations are not completely hopeless.
During investigations, arresting police frequently make mistakes that can be used to cast doubt on the validity of breathalyzer or chemical test results. Your defense attorney can question the arresting officer's training, examine the video footage, and uphold the breathalyzer. By doing this, the charges may be dropped, or the case may be dismissed.
Fraud Law in Richmond
Criminal fraud in Virginia typically entails wilful misrepresentation, false claims, or deceiving people to get money, assets, or access. Changing the amount on a check, using a stolen credit card, or applying for workers' compensation for an injury that was not sustained on the job are all examples of fraud. For assistance fighting back against a criminal conviction, speak with an accomplished criminal defense attorney if you are under investigation or have been detained in Richmond on suspicion of fraud.
Types of Fraud in Virginia
The Virginia Code, Section 18.2, Chapter 6, discusses several fraud-related offenses. Below are some examples of criminal fraud in Virginia:
- Insurance theft
- Fraud involving workers' compensation
- Credit card theft
- Medical fraud
- Property fraud
- Poor checks
- Launder money
- Pretending to be a police officer
- Identity fraud
- Falsified claims
Virginia Fraud Penalties
The deception's severity and the defendant's prior criminal history are among the many variables that affect the penalty for a fraud conviction. Depending on the offense, fraud may result in a misdemeanor or felony punishment.
A misdemeanor fraud conviction carries a possible penalty of up to $2,500 in fines and up to 12 months in prison. A felony conviction carries a penalty of up to 10 years in jail or more.
The court could order that the perpetrator pay compensation to the victim in addition to penalties and jail terms.
Sex Crime Laws in Richmond
Any sexual act committed against a person who could not or did not consent to the act is considered a sex offense in Virginia. A person's age, mental state, or physical capabilities may prevent them from permitting sexual acts. A conviction for a sex crime has severe legal penalties and lifelong repercussions. In Richmond, Virginia, attempting to commit a sex crime is enough to land you in for a sizable amount of time. You could be prosecuted with various typical sex offenses, including the following:
- Rape, Virginia Code 18.2-61
- Having Indecent Contact With a Minor
- Sexual Penetration With an Object
- Statutory Rape
Find a Reputable Richmond Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me
Nobody anticipates being charged in a court of law. So, if you are detained and the prosecution decides to charge you, your freedom and way of life may be in jeopardy. In Virginia, there are significant repercussions for being convicted of a crime, whether a felony or misdemeanor.
Thankfully, not every arrest results in a conviction. You could be accused of an offense for many reasons, such as mistaken identity, police misconduct, or insufficient evidence. You could challenge your accusations and avert a conviction irrespective of your case’s facts.
Building a strong defense against your allegations requires working with a skilled lawyer to represent you in court. We at Virginia Criminal Attorney have in-depth expertise and experience fighting charges on behalf of clients and achieving positive outcomes. We assist individuals in Richmond, Virginia, battling criminal charges and needing legal representation. Speak to an attorney at 703-718-5533 today and schedule a cost-free consultation.