When you face criminal charges, a criminal lawyer is the most suitable person to protect your rights and freedom. These attorneys understand criminal law and court processes, allowing them to offer legal guidance and represent you in court.
You risk a conviction when charged with a criminal offense. A guilty verdict will hurt your personal, professional, and social lives. Additionally, you risk jail or prison incarceration, hefty court fines, and criminal sanctions. Therefore, you need the assistance of our attorney at Virginia Criminal Attorney to explain the kinds of charges you face in Warrenton and the possible penalties. Besides, our staff will review your case, craft defense strategies, present evidence in court, and negotiate a plea deal for a fair outcome.
Types of Criminal Offenses Your Attorney Can Defend You Against
You can be charged with several offenses in Warrenton, ranging from minor crimes to severe felonies. Some of the crimes your criminal attorney can defend you against are:
Virginia drug crimes include simple possession, sale, distribution, and trafficking. The laws are straightforward and harsh, with the severity of your crime based on the kind of and quantity of drugs involved and your case’s circumstances. The charges you will face for drug crimes are drug possession and drug distribution or transportation.
Possession of drugs or controlled substances is the unlawful deliberate purchase or possession of drugs without a valid prescription or marijuana possession. The offense is a misdemeanor whose penalties include court fines, misdemeanor probation, and jail incarceration.
The other type of drug crime is controlled substance trafficking or distribution. The offense involves the production, sale, and distribution of controlled substances like heroin. The law harshly punishes these crimes because they are felonies with penalties upon conviction, including hefty court fines and prolonged prison incarceration.
Theft or larceny refers to taking someone’s property without their authorization and with the motive of denying the lawful owner property use or benefits. Theft crimes include burglary, larceny, and embezzlement. The punishment for these property crimes depends on the stolen property's worth and the nature of the charges.
Virginia Code 18.2-89 defines burglary as unauthorized access into a person’s dwelling or building with the motive to engage in a felony once inside. Burglary is a level six felony that attracts five to twenty years of prison incarceration. The court can also impose a fine of no more than $100,000. However, if your charges are for statutory burglary, you risk spending at most twenty years behind bars upon conviction. A guilty verdict for burglary will have severe consequences, so you need legal guidance from a criminal attorney.
Another theft crime form is embezzlement. The crime refers to the unauthorized, fraudulent, or unlawful use of property or funds entrusted to you as part of a job or employment by someone else. When the value of the embezzled property is less than $1,000, the offense is classified as petit larceny. If the property loss is above $1,000, the embezzlement is charged as grand larceny. Petit larceny falls under class one misdemeanors and attracts at most twelve months in jail, while grand theft is a felony that attracts at most twenty years of prison incarceration.
Even with the thorough investigations and forensic audits involved in embezzlement cases, a charge does not make your case hopeless. Your competent Warrenton criminal attorney can contest the accusations to prevent a conviction or impose lenient penalties.
White Collar Offenses
Financially motivated non-violent crimes are classified as white-collar offenses. Some of these crimes that your Warrenton criminal defense attorney can defend you against are:
- Fraud crimes like insurance fraud, securities fraud, and mortgage fraud.
- Money laundering, which involves making money obtained from crimes but looks legal,.
- Bribery refers to issuing or obtaining money or favors for power.
- Cybercrime, which includes offenses like identity theft and computer fraud.
- Insider trading, which is the unlawful purchase or sale of securities relying on insider information unavailable to the general public.
- Racketeering, which includes crimes like extortion.
- Ponzi schemes.
White-collar offenses attract severe penalties. Therefore, you should speak to an experienced attorney to understand your charges and possible penalties and prepare defenses to contest the allegations.
Murder or homicide is the illegal killing of another party with malice aforethought. The offense is divided into various categories with unique aspects and penalties.
The first category is first-degree murder. The prosecutor files these charges if:
- You imprisoned the victim before taking their life.
- You starved the victim to death.
- You lay in wait before the murder incident.
- You poisoned the deceased.
- You killed someone while engaging in a crime like arson, burglary, or rape.
First-degree murder is a level two felony that attracts at least twenty years in prison and court fines of at most $100,000.
The other category is second-degree homicide. The offense involves killing an individual because of reckless conduct or disregard for other people’s safety. The prosecutor does not prove malice aforethought or premeditation to convict you of these charges. The punishment for homicide in the second degree is five to forty years of prison incarceration. The offense also attracts collateral consequences that will hurt you even after serving your sentence, hence the need to have a skilled Warrenton defense attorney for your case.
Another homicide type is voluntary manslaughter. It refers to taking a person’s life in the heat of passion without malice. The lack of malice or premeditation differentiates murder from voluntary manslaughter. The punishment for this crime when convicted is $2,500 in court fines or prison incarceration for a duration ranging from twelve to 120 months.
The unintentional taking of someone’s life as a result of criminal negligence is involuntary manslaughter. A conviction for this offense also attracts 12 to 120 months of prison incarceration.
The last form of homicide is felony homicide. It refers to the unintended or unplanned killing of an individual when engaging in a felony offense. The maximum sentence for this crime is life incarceration.
Virginia sex crimes statutes are very stringent, with a guilty verdict attracting severe consequences, including expensive court fines, prison incarceration, and sexual offender registration obligations. When you learn of an impending arrest or have pending charges for a sex crime in Warrenton, do not hesitate to contact an experienced defense attorney because an unfavorable verdict will change your life for the worse. Sex crimes have several categories, which include:
- Prostitution and solicitation.
- Sexual battery.
- Infected sexual battery.
- Child sexual abuse.
- Indecent exposure.
- Child pornography.
Despite the severe penalties imposed on a conviction, a formal charge alone for a sex offense does not make you guilty. Your defense lawyer understands sex offenses are emotional, sensitive, and personal and will work tirelessly to reduce the trauma associated with these crimes.
Another crime we at the Virginia Criminal Attorney will defend you against is traffic violations. The traffic offenses our attorneys will protect you against are:
- Operating a vehicle without a license.
- Driving a motor vehicle while your driving privileges have been withdrawn.
- Driving while intoxicated.
- Reckless driving.
- Driving without auto insurance.
The penalties you will face for a traffic offense depend on the violation type and your case’s nature. Some of these offenses are felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions.
Ways a Defense Attorney Can be Useful in your Case
The help of your criminal attorney comes in different forms. Their efforts are directed towards obtaining a favorable result because a lot is at stake, including your freedom and rights if you are convicted of a crime. A legal representative will work hard to prevent an adverse outcome in the case. Therefore, you must hire one immediately after arrest or learning of formal charges. The attorney will do the following for you:
Review Your Case
If there is a reasonable belief that you have violated the law, law enforcement officers will apprehend you. The arrest comes after thorough investigations or when the officers find you committing a crime. The arresting officers will then take you to the nearest police station for booking. Once the booking process is completed, the officers will put you in a holding cell and then send your file to the prosecutor. Depending on the police's evidence against you, the prosecutor can file charges in court or return them for further investigation. Your attorney's role at this stage is to evaluate your case and explain its significance and the possible penalties upon conviction. The advice your lawyer will give and your course of action depend on the evidence the prosecutor has against you.
Investigate Your Case
The best way for your attorney to evaluate your case and give a way forward is by conducting an independent investigation. The analysis aims to collect new evidence the police could have missed during their examinations.
The evidence the prosecutor has is for showing the jury how the alleged crime happened and helping them reasonably believe you committed the offense. The proof typically takes physical evidence, police reports, and eyewitness statements. It is the role of your defense attorney to review the evidence against you and interview witnesses. A profound attorney will not stop here. They will hire a private investigator to conduct an independent investigation to gather new and additional information.
Your legal representative will also hire expert witnesses like forensic scientists, accident reconstruction professionals, and medical professionals to help corroborate their assertions. The attorney will also investigate the credibility of eyewitnesses who have given statements. The goal is to look for inconsistencies in their testimony and criminal history to impeach their credibility so that their testimony cannot be used in court.
The police must follow the law when conducting investigations or making arrests. If they disregard the protocols provided by statute for arrests and criminal investigations, the evidence against you will be illegal and inadmissible in court. The attorney will look for instances where the police violated your rights or failed to follow the law to craft defense strategies. Also, an excellent attorney will review the prosecutor’s evidence and poke holes to raise reasonable doubt in the jury's minds for a fair verdict.
Advise You on Your Constitutional Rights
Understanding court processes after an arrest helps reduce anxiety. You will require an excellent criminal attorney to explain these processes and your rights. The police can pretend to be your friends or have your interests at heart to convince you to confess or provide self-incriminating information. However, when you hire an attorney early, they will explain your constitutional right to stay silent until your attorney is present because anything you say can and will be used against you in court. Other rights your legal representative will explain are:
- Right to a fair trial.
- Your right to have an attorney present during investigations and to have court representation.
- Right to appeal court’s decision.
With knowledge of your rights and legal procedures, the chances of a favorable ruling in the case are high.
Negotiate With the Opposing Side
Part of your Warrenton criminal attorney’s job is negotiating with the district attorney during plea bargaining for a charge withdrawal, reduction, or lenient penalty. Most negotiations happen during plea bargaining when you agree to take a guilty plea for a lesser offense for a dismissal in the baseline offense.
In plea deals, your attorney points out the flaws in the prosecutor’s case and presents mitigating circumstances in your favor. If the prosecutor’s proof is weak or insufficient, your lawyer will have the upper hand in the negotiations, leading to a sentence or charge reduction.
Under unique circumstances, your legal representative can negotiate a deferred judgment or prosecution. Here, the DA agrees to suspend or delay the trial if you meet particular conditions, like enrolling in a rehabilitation program or recompensing your victims. If you meet these conditions, the charges against you will be dismissed.
Also, your attorney can have you enrolled in a diversion program. The goal is to address the underlying behavior that resulted in the crime. Once you complete the diversion program, the charges against you will be discharged.
Not every plea deal is worth considering. Therefore, allow your attorney to evaluate the case and advise you on whether to consider a deal or not based on the risks and advantages.
Represent You in Court
One of the integral roles of your criminal attorney is to represent you in court. During your bail proceeding, the attorney will be present to convince the court to grant your bail, lower the bail figure, or award a personal recognizance discharge.
When the case moves to the arraignment hearing, the attorney will be present to plead not guilty. Furthermore, the attorney will partner with the prosecutor during the pretrial stage to try and settle the matter before it reaches trial.
The attorney will offer legal representation during the trial if no settlement is reached. They will present evidence in your favor, cross-examine witnesses, present mitigating factors, and make closing remarks. The goal is to ensure a favorable outcome or avoid the disabilities associated with a criminal conviction.
Hiring a Criminal Attorney in Warrenton
At Virginia Criminal Attorney, we advise individuals who face criminal charges in Warrenton to partner with an attorney immediately after arrest. Doing so protects your interests from the start of the case. Finding the right attorney is the problem. Below are some tips to help you hire the right attorney:
Research an Attorney’s Qualifications
When hiring, find an attorney licensed to practice criminal law in Virginia. You can find the information on the bar association site. Besides, a qualified attorney has experience handling criminal cases like yours. An attorney like that has the skills to handle the charges and knows the approaches for a positive result. Also, they understand the common challenges in cases like yours and how to maneuver them, streamlining the case.
Look for a Reputable Attorney
Reputation is a critical element to consider when choosing an attorney. You want to partner with an attorney who has built a strong reputation. The arguments presented by an attorney like this will be acceptable to the jury because of the trust. So, talk to friends or relatives for recommendations. Additionally, you can read online reviews from former clients to see what they say about a particular attorney.
Find a lawyer you can easily access to discuss your case or obtain updates. If it takes time to schedule a meeting with an attorney or ask questions, you will have the same experience after hiring them, which will hurt your case. Therefore, go for a lawyer who is available and ready to meet or pick up your calls.
Consider Attorney Fees
It would help if you inquired about attorney fees and associated additional charges. Request detailed quotations from the legal experts you are considering. Go for the one offering uncompromised representation at affordable rates. Also, ensure there are no hidden charges because this will increase the fees further. When you cannot raise the funds upfront, negotiate a flexible repayment. Legal fees are expensive but should not make you consider representing yourself or opting for a public defender.
Find a Skilled Criminal Lawyer Near Me
Have you been arrested or have a pending criminal charge in Warrenton?
If yes, it is time to hire an attorney. These legal experts will guide you through court processes and represent you. Also, they will explain your rights and defend your freedom by obtaining a fair ruling. At Virginia Criminal Attorney, we offer criminal defense for various crimes. Contact us at 703-718-5533 to discuss your case.