A Virginia criminal lawyer can help clients with a variety of different charges. Criminal charges can affect people from all walks of life. For example, white-collar crimes can cause significant damage to a person’s professional career and personal relationships. Learn more.
Convictions can result in prison time, fines, loss of employment and changes to marital and custody agreements. It is important that each client understands their rights and how they will be affected.
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Felonies are crimes punishable by at least one year in prison and carry more serious long term consequences than misdemeanors. Violent crimes, high dollar property crime and serious drug crimes are all usually charged as felonies. A conviction for a felony can also prevent you from voting and getting certain jobs.
If you’re arrested for a felony, the first step is to consult with a Virginia criminal lawyer and invoke your right to remain silent. Your attorney can help you to formulate a strategy for fighting the charges.
Federal crimes are prosecuted by a different system than state crimes and often involve the involvement of highly specialized government agencies like the FBI or DEA. These cases require a Virginia federal criminal lawyer with experience in defending against U.S. Attorneys and their teams of prosecutors. Federal charges can lead to longer sentences than state convictions.
Attorney Yeargan works diligently to get misdemeanor charges dismissed so that his client can keep a clean criminal record. He also knows when to appeal a conviction and where the case will be heard.
Virginia has four different classes of misdemeanors, with class one misdemeanors being the most serious. The least serious are class three and four misdemeanors. These typically do not come with jail time but will result in a fine. Examples of class three and four misdemeanors include vandalism without intent to steal, false reporting and possession of schedule IV controlled substances.
Generally, a defendant’s misdemeanor case will be heard in General District Court. However, a defendant has the right to appeal their case to Circuit Court which is a Court of Record. An appeal is heard “de novo,” meaning that it starts fresh and is a new trial. Typically, there is no jury, short opening statements and the judge will make a decision after both sides present their cases.
Sex crimes are among the most serious of all criminal offenses and carry hefty fines and possible prison time. They also leave a conviction on your permanent record, which can limit employment and housing opportunities. In addition, convicted sex offenders have to register as sex offenders in Virginia.
Whether you are charged with sex offenses such as rape, forcible sodomy, or object sexual penetration; or have been accused of child pornography or possession, it is critical that you contact an experienced Virginia attorney as soon as possible. A sex crime defense lawyer will help you understand the charges and the evidence against you, including police and investigative records.
Intent is a key element of the crime, and your virginia criminal lawyer will use their experience to determine whether there was intent, and if not, to establish the lack of intent. This may be done through evidence such as witness testimony and written statements, or by examining the actions of the accused and their words.
The Constitutions of both the United States and Virginia guarantee an accused person certain rights during a criminal trial. One of those rights is the right to not talk to police without a lawyer present, and to avoid self incrimination.
Whether the accused is being charged with a felony or misdemeanor, the consequences of a conviction can be devastating. Jail time, loss of employment, changes to custody and marital agreements, and fines are just the beginning.
A Virginia criminal lawyer can help with sentencing by ensuring that a person is not given the harshest punishment possible. The experienced lawyer knows what evidence can be presented to show that a sentence is unfair.
Sentencing is decided by a judge at the Circuit Court level or, in a jury trial in the District Court, by that same jury. The judge, or the jury, will also decide what a punishment will be. Before a sentence is passed down, the judge must consult the state’s sentencing guidelines. These guidelines provide the judge with a list of past sentences that they can reference to make an informed decision on a penalty.