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Brunswick, VA Criminal Attorney
Anyone who is charged with a crime in Brunswick County, Virginia, even a misdemeanor, can serve as much as a year in jail, depending on the offense. And those who commit felonies could serve much longer sentences upon conviction. Some apparently similar crimes can be prosecuted as felonies or misdemeanors, depending on many variables. Even serious driving offenses can land a person in jail for a time if they are convicted. This is why if you are charged with any criminal offense, including any of those listed below, you should consult with an experienced Brunswick criminal lawyer.
DUI/DWI and Reckless Driving
Drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs [Virginia Code Section 18.2-266] are both charged as a class 1 misdemeanor DUI. Suspects who receive their first conviction could face up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500 and lose their driver’s license for a year. Suspensions are even longer for repeat offenders. Those who dramatically exceed a blood alcohol content(BAC) level of 0.08 and drivers who have minors in the vehicle at the time they were arrested can face longer minimum jail sentences.
Reckless driving is a group of serious driving offenses [Section 46.2-852–865] that can also result in the same class 1 misdemeanor penalties as DUI (up to a year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine). Any reckless driving conviction also brings up to a six-month driver’s license suspension. Excessive speed makes up a large percentage of reckless driving charges, especially in Brunswick County, due to a large number of reckless driving for speed tickets that are given out to drivers on I-95 and U.S. 58.
Assault: Crimes That Injure People
Misdemeanor assault [Section 18.2-57] can be charged after a minor physical confrontation – such as a shove or even as a threat – all the way to the crime of murder. Most assaults that result in harm to the victim can be charged as felonies. Crimes involving weapons where the victim is seriously injured or where the suspect meant to cause permanent injury or death to the victim, are all viewed as serious felonies, which are penalized with significant prison sentences and large fines [Sections 18.2-51, 51.1, 51.2].
A class 1 misdemeanor assault sentence can result in as much as a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. There are additional factors that could increase all assault penalties if they are:
- A hate crime, which is a class 6 felony [Section 18.2-57(B)]
- If the victim is a protected government employee (for example, police officers, judges, and EMT’s) [Section 18.2-57(C)]
Domestic violence is charged when the victim is attacked by someone considered to be family or a household member as defined by Virginia law. [Virginia Code § 16.1-228]. Commonly, domestic violence crimes are those perpetrated by or against spouses, former spouses, children, parents, siblings and those who share a child in common. Additionally, a household member includes persons whom have co-habited with one another as defined by law, within the previous 12 months of the alleged assault. The penalties can be more severe than many customary assault convictions [Section 18.2-57.2 & 18.2-57.3]. Violations of protective orders issued after a domestic assault is committed are a serious offense that usually involves jail time [Section 16.1-253.2].
Theft: Crimes Involving Property
Theft charges may also be prosecuted as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the value of the property taken and the details of the crime. If the value is under $200, it’s a misdemeanor; over $200 makes it a felony. Punishments for these crimes are very different. Misdemeanor petit larceny is a class 1 misdemeanor, with a jail sentence of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500 [Section 18.2-11]. But felony grand larceny can be punishable up to 20 years in prison, depending on the charges, the facts of the case and any enhanced felony charges in addition to the underlying larceny charge [Section 18.2-95].
Theft charges include(but are not limited to):
- Shoplifting [Section 18.2-103]
- Burglary [Section 18.2-89]
- Robbery [Section 18.2-58 ]
- Carjacking [Section 18.2-58.1]
- White-collar thefts and embezzlement [Sections 18.2-98,18.2-111]
Virginia also requires all who are convicted of any theft to reimburse victims for their losses. In many cases, theft victims may seek civil damages against those convicted of stealing their money or property.
Different types of controlled substances or marijuana that suspects possess – and the amounts they are holding – draw a variety of penalties [Sections 18.2-250 & 18.2-251.1]. Virginia classifies drugs into six separate “schedules” that are determined by their therapeutic value and propensity to cause addiction, and it uses these schedules to determine penalties (Sections 54.1-3446, 54.1-3448, 54.1-3450, 54.1-3452, 54.1-3454, 54.1-3455]: the lower the schedule number (for example, Schedule 1), the more serious the sentence.
The Commonwealth must have enough evidence to show that the drugs you had in your possession were either for personal use or your intent to sell or distribute them. If they can convict you of intent to sell or distribute [Section 18.2-248], prison sentences will be much longer than if you possessed them only for personal use.
Fraud and White-Collar Crime
Many fraud offenses involve thefts by check [Section 18.2-181]. But forging another’s signature on a check is a class 5 felony [Section 18.2-172]. Identity theft [Section 18.2-186.3] and computer related fraud [Section 18.2-172] are both white-collar crimes that are growing, with penalties depending on the amount of the theft and the degree of damage done to the victim or victims [Sections 18.2-186.3 & 18.2-152.6].
Many fraud and deception crimes are federal felonies. The federal government aggressively pursues suspects who commit the following crimes:
- Healthcare Fraud [18 U.S. Code Section 1347]
- Tax Fraud [26 U.S. Code Section 7201]
- Securities Fraud [18 U.S. Code Section 1348]
- Identity Theft [18 U.S.C. Section 1028]
- Bankruptcy Fraud [18 U.S. Code Section 157]
Sex crimes – depending on the venue – can be aggressively prosecuted as either state or federal offenses, especially sex crimes against children. Penalties for conviction of a sex crime in the Commonwealth can be can be particularly severe. A few of the more common sex crime charges include:
- Rape [Section 18.2-61]
- Attempted Rape [Section 18.2-67.5]
- Object sexual penetration [Section 18.2-67.2]
- Carnal knowledge of a child between thirteen years or older but under fifteen years [Section 18.2-63], which is tantamount to statutory rape (with a minor) in other states
- Child pornography (possession, distribution, production) [Section 18.2-374.1]. This is also the statute under which “sexting” offenses can be pursued, even if the offense is committed by minors (under 18).
Federal child pornography charges carry even steeper penalties than the Commonwealth [18 U.S. Code Section 2252A]. There are federal statutes that allow victims of sex crimes to seek damages against their convicted tormenters in civil court, and all who are found guilty of a sex crime must register as a sex offender.
- Unlawful discharge of a firearm within or at a dwelling [Section 18.2-279]
- Possessing firearms in prohibited areas (for example, airports, churches and courthouses): [Sections 18.2-287.01; 18.2-283; 18.2-283.1]
- Possessing prohibited weapons and ammunition [Sections 18.2-288 – 18.2-298 & 18.2-308.3]
- Carrying of a gun during the commission of a drug-related crime or other felonies: [Sections 18.2-308.4].
Federal weapons charges could also apply to some offenses [18 U.S. Code Section 926A], especially if they occur along with other federal crimes. Prison sentences and fines for federal weapons convictions can be much more serious than state convictions.
Brunswick County Court Information and Crime Statistics
The following are the cumulative crime statistics (arrests) for 2013 in Brunswick County as reported by the Virginia State Police.
- A-type crimes (felonies) – 138
- B-type offenses (misdemeanors) – 221
- Total – 359
Brunswick County is served by the courts of the 6th Virginia Judicial District: the Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile Court. The Circuit Court is the highest trial court where a chief judge and one presiding judge hear cases, most of them being felonies, along with some civil trials. All jury trials occur in Circuit Court.
The General District Court hears the following types of cases:
- Traffic violations
- Non-jury misdemeanor criminal cases
- Preliminary hearings prior to trial in Circuit Court
Both courts are located at the Brunswick Court House at 216 North Main Street in Lawrenceville, VA.
Hire a Brunswick County Criminal Lawyer
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in Brunswick County, contacting an experienced criminal attorney is an important first step in protecting your constitutional rights. A lawyer from our firm can meet with you to craft a personalized defense plan designed to meet your specific needs. Call today for a free consultation.