No one plans on becoming a defendant in a criminal case, but if you find yourself facing a criminal misdemeanor or felony charge, you quickly come to realize how important it is to find an experienced Virginia Criminal Lawyer to handle your defense.
Criminal defense attorneys play an important role in the justice system by protecting the Constitutional rights of the accused and ensuring a fair trial for defendants. There are several reasons one may be charged with a crime including mistaken identity, false accusations, lack of restraint, poor judgment or feeling that one had no other choice but to commit certain actions. Regardless of the circumstances that led to a criminal charge, our Virginia criminal attorneys will handle your case with professionalism and a dedication to upholding your right to skilled legal defense.
A founding partner of Price Benowitz LLP, David Benowitz is one of the most respected attorneys in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. He has received a perfect 10/10 rating on AVVO, is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell. He has also been named one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Benowitz is a faculty member at the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop, as well as a professorial lecturer at the George Washington University School of Law. Mr. Benowitz is only admitted to practice law in Maryland and Washington D.C..
Nicole Naum is a member of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She is licensed to practice in both Virginia and Washington D.C.. She has built an excellent reputation as a criminal defense lawyer, and is prepared to fight on behalf of each one of her clients. When you secure her services, Ms. Naum will make sure that you are represented to the best of your abilities.
Karin Porter comes to our firm after almost a decade as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, where she acted as a prosecutor. Her experience on that side of the bench allows her to understand how the Commonwealth likes to prosecute cases, and what the state’s attorneys are looking for when they put together their case. Ms. Porter became a defense attorney because she understands the need for good representation in the judicial system, and she is excited to use her wealth of experience on behalf of her clients.
If you have been charged with a crime in Virginia, the legal consequences you face can be disheartening: fines, probation, loss of the privilege to drive, community service, and incarceration. The personal consequences of a criminal conviction are just as powerful. Employment status is jeopardized as you miss work due to being jailed or as a criminal record prevents you from finding gainful employment. Admission to college, financial aid, and student status are all negatively impacted by a criminal record. Your criminal record may make it difficult to obtain a loan or secure housing, and it may alienate you from family and friends. A Virginia criminal attorney can help minimize or eliminate these life-altering consequences of conviction.
Misdemeanor and Felony Criminal Defense in Virginia
Virginia crimes are charged as either misdemeanor or felony offenses. A misdemeanor is considered a less serious crime than a felony, with a maximum jail sentence of one year. Violent crimes, high dollar property crimes, and serious drug crimes are generally considered felonies and carry prison sentences of up to life in prison. Certain crimes, such as DUI and assault, may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. For example, first offense DUI is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, but subsequent offenses may be charged as felony DUIs. Assault is generally charged as a misdemeanor, but aggravated assault is considered a felony.
Assault is a pretty general term, when in actuality there are a number of different crimes that fit that description. Domestic violence and battery are other charges that might be confused for assault. Our assault lawyer page will have more information about these types of laws and the charges you could face if you are found to violate them. Most simple assault and battery cases are tried as Class 1 misdemeanors, which carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison and $2,500 in fines. But the penalties for more severe cases escalate quickly. It’s important to contact an attorney to get a better understanding of these laws.
The Commonwealth of Virginia breaks down controlled substances into six different groups, each carrying a different level of penalties if you are found to be in possession and ultimately convicted. The first, and most severe is Schedule 1, and this includes drugs that are both addictive and dangerous, while having no medical value. That includes drugs like heroin, LSD, ecstasy and GHB. Schedule 6, which carries the least stringent penalties upon conviction, simply includes marijuana. Virginia is actually one of a very few states that has a different section for Schedule six narcotics. Please visit our drug lawyer page for more information about the various narcotic schedules in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the various penalties they carry.
Even though you are granted the right to bear arms by the Constitution, there are certain laws that dictate when and where you are allowed to carry, and the penalties for violating those laws are very strict. Our gun lawyer page will have more information on these specific laws. The penalties for these violations will vary depending on the unique facts of your case. Our attorneys will be able to help you understand not only the laws you are accused of violating, but also the penalties that would be associated with a potential conviction.
Sex crimes are among the most fiercely prosecuted in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Violations of these laws are treated so seriously in fact that even an attempted act of sexual aggression could lead to pretty serious criminal charges even though a violation of the more serious laws was never actually committed. Our sex crimes lawyer page will have more information about these laws, what constitutes a violation, and what type of penalties they carry. Some of these crimes could carry up to ten years in prison and pretty heavy fines with a conviction so it is important to understand these laws and not risk putting yourself in jeopardy.
Our site also offers information about reckless driving. In most states excessive speed is a traffic violation. In Virginia, excessive speed and certain actions are considered reckless driving. This is a criminal misdemeanor and can be punished by up to a year in jail. There is an extensive list of things that constitute a reckless driving violation in the state of Virginia, they include but are not limited to:
- Driving in excess of 20 mph above the posted speed limit
- Driving at any speed over 80 mph
- Failure to signal
- Passing a vehicle on a curve
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Driving with faulty brakes
- Drag racing
- Any act of aggressive driving, like weaving in and out of traffic
- Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.
Many of these violations are very similar to an offense that would just lead to a typical traffic ticket, making it difficult to understand when you have committed a criminal offense or what exactly you did. You can find more information about these violations and what they might mean for you by visiting our reckless driving lawyer page. Our attorneys will be able to explain the intricate areas of these laws to you, and they will also work tirelessly to defend you from the charge you face.
Fairfax County is one of the most populated counties in the state because of the amount of people that commute to the Nation’s Capital. As a result, violent crimes are too common there, and there is a chance that residents of the county, and the independent city of Fairfax, will be the victim of a crime. According to the latest crime statistics, there were 17,453 “violent crimes” committed in the county in 2010, including 394 robberies, 963 cases of motor vehicle theft and 14,345 instances of general larceny. This of course does not include non-violent crimes like reckless driving, so the figure of total crimes committed in the county will be much higher. Criminal cases in Fairfax County will be heard at the County Courthouse at 4110 Chain Bridge Road in Fairfax, Virginia.
Prince William County
Prince William County extends from the Potomac River all the way north past Haymarket while engulfing the independent city of Manassas. Prince William County has one common facility for their district and circuit courts, and it can be found at 9311 Lee Avenue in Manassas. The County actually saw a downtick in a lot of common areas of crime enforcement in 2010 including drug, weapons, and DUI charges. Drug arrests fell from 1,290 in 2009 to 1,186 in 2010. Weapons charges from 55 to 37, and DUI’s from 2,116 to 2,046. However, if you are in need of criminal defense in Prince William County contact our attorneys to find out how they may be able to help you.
The Independent City of Alexandria, located inside the beltway but across the river from Washington D.C., is a very populated area with a lot of citizens who make their way into the city everyday for work. The City saw a pretty steep drop in the overall crime rate from 2009 to 2010. The violent crimes fell only 0.9 percent, but what the City describes as nuisance crimes (prostitution, gambling, DUI) fell almost 17 percent; an overall drop of 694 cases. The Alexandria courthouse, where many of these criminal cases will be heard can be found along King Street.
The Arlington General District Court can be found at 1425 North Courthouse Road. That is where many of the criminal cases in the independent city of Arlington will be held. The overall crime rate in Arlington dropped almost 8 percent in 2010 from the totals in 2009. Vehicle theft experienced the largest drop, dipping from 297 to 211 cases in 2010. If you are accused of a crime in the city of Arlington, our attorneys will work diligently on your case until it reaches its final resolution.
Aggressive Virginia Criminal Attorneys
If you are questioned about your involvement in any crime, arrested on a criminal complaint, or charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense, it is your right to have an attorney. Before answering any questions or making any statement to authorities, contact an experienced Virginia criminal lawyer who can advise you how to best protect your rights.
If you are facing a criminal conviction, you want a lawyer who will closely examine every detail of your case, consider every option for your defense, and leave no stone unturned in finding resources and evidence to best support your case. Prosecutors aggressively fight their cases and push for tougher sentencing in order to take a hard line on crime. A diligent Virginia criminal attorney will afford every opportunity to resolve your case in dismissal, acquittal, reduced charges, or a minimum sentence. To speak with an experienced Virginia criminal attorney regarding your case, call (703) 957-7575 or (888) 415-8090 for a free consultation.