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Loudoun County Criminal Lawyer
Assault, solicitation, drug distribution, DUI, and theft are just some of the crimes with which an individual may be charged in Loudoun County Virginia. From minor misdemeanors to serious felonies, criminal charges can have a lasting negative impact on the accused individual. The lawyers with our firm can help you fight to protect your rights and your future. Our attorneys have the experience to successfully defend against a full spectrum of felony and misdemeanor criminal charges. If you need a Loudoun County criminal attorney, contact us today.
Loudoun County Criminal Process: What do I do now?
There are myriad charges you could potentially be facing in Loudoun County, including:
Criminal charges are often the result of seemingly innocent statements made during a routine traffic stop or during police questioning prior to detainment or arrest. If authorities ask you about your involvement in any criminal activity, you have the right to refrain from making any statement–even prior to an arrest and being read your rights. We suggest that you politely decline to answer any questions or make any statements until you have consulted with a qualified Loudoun criminal attorney.
Criminal accusations can involve a minor misdemeanor offense or a serious felony. Any charge – especially if it’s a first-time offense – can be a serious threat to one’s criminal record. Penalties that await a conviction can cause a great deal of worry for the defendant. This is why those who are charged with any crime in the Commonwealth of Virginia are best served by seeking representation and reassurance from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
DUI, DUID, and Reckless Driving
The most serious driving offenses in the Commonwealth are driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) ] or drugs (DUID): ] (both charged as DUI) and Reckless driving [Section 46.2-852 – 865]. DUIs, DUIDs, and reckless driving are all class 1 misdemeanors. Such offenses can land the offender in jail for up to a year, lead to a driver’s license suspension and add six demerit points to a Virginia driver’s record.
Repeat DUI offenders with excessive blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of .15 or more face mandatory minimum jail terms. Transporting minors while driving under the influence or alcohol or drugs is an aggravated factor which can lead to stiffer penalties as wel. License suspensions begin at one year for first offenses, rise to three years for second offenses, and a third DUI conviction ith a ten year period is a class 6 felony offense carrying an indefinite suspension and very harsh mandatory terms of incarceration.
There are 13 various reckless driving charges, any of which can bring a license suspension of up to six months. Two such offenses involve excessive speed (20+ MPH over the posted limit or more than 80 MPH), and several cover dangerous passing offenses – such as passing at a railroad crossing or a stopped school bus. Both DUI and reckless driving are considered “must appear” charges meaning that you cannot merely pay the ticket and not show up in court.
If you are charged with a crime, your lawyer will work with you to craft a plan for your successful defense. Most criminal cases are heard at the Loudoun General District Court, located at 18 East Market Street in Leesburg Virginia. Your lawyer will thoroughly analyze your case, gathering evidence to support your innocence and finding experts to testify in your defense. Our attorneys know the legal requirements of police and courtroom procedures and will aggressively fight for the reduction or dismissal of any charges against you. For further explanation of Maryland criminal laws, please visit this page.
Crimes of Assault/Assault and Battery
Inflicting harm on another person – begins as a misdemeanor assault and battery. (Section 18.2-57), and can be as serious as the crime of murder and result in a penalty of life in prison or even death. An utterance of a threat to harm, or even a threatening act (either viewed as attempted assault), can also be charged. This type of crime is an assault rather than an assault and battery which means a harm was inflicted. But serious assault related charges that seriously harm the victim are charged as felonies. If the suspect uses a weapon to commit assault, it can be charged as a severe felony, resulting in long prison sentences and significant fines [Section 18.2-51.2].
Class 1 misdemeanor assault penalties come with sentences as high as a year in jail and no more than a $2,500 fine. There are additional “enhanced” consequences to assault penalties if either of the following special circumstances is present:
If it is a hate crime, meaning the victim is targeted because of their race, religion, national origin or sexual preference then it is classified as a class 6 felony [Section 18.2-57(B)]
If the victim is a protected government employee (for example, police officers, judges or 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 section 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 cohabited 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].
The Property Crimes of Theft
Theft is also charged as a misdemeanor or felony, determined by the value of the property taken and the details of the crime. If the value is less than $200, misdemeanor charges follow. Values of over $200 result in felony charges. 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]. Felony grand larceny can be punishable by up to 20 years in prison [Section 18.2-95], depending on the charge, circumstances and any enhancements represented by additional felony charges.
Theft charges can include:
Enhancements to the above property crimes can include additional charges involving assault, weapons or both. If convicted of these additional charges, longer prison sentences await. An example would be when a burglar carried a pistol when committing a felony.
Carjacking [Section 18.2-58.1] it its own unique robbery charge because it automatically involves an assault in addition to the theft. Those convicted of this crime can receive a prison sentence of 15 years to life [Section 18.2-58.1(A)], and enhancements for other crimes charged in connection with this crime only add to the minimum 15-year sentence.[Section 18.2-58.1(C)].
Fraud and White-Collar Crime
Most Commonwealth fraud thefts involve check forgery [Sections 18.2-181, 18.2-172, 18.2-178] and can range from a misdemeanor (for example, passing a bad check at the grocery store whose value is less than $200) to creating unauthorized checks; a Class 4 felony, which draws a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine as high as $100,000. Identity theft [Section 18.2-186.3] and credit card fraud [Sections 18.2-195 & 18.2-195.1] can lead to misdemeanor penalties of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of $2,500, to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000, depending on the facts of the offense and the number of people victimized by these theft schemes.
Many fraud and deception crimes are also felonies that the federal government aggressively pursues if they reach outside the borders of any state. Most computer-related frauds do that, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office exercises its prosecutorial discretion in these matters as often as not for 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]
Virginia classifies all drugs into schedules that are determined by their therapeutic value and threat of addiction. The Commonwealth applies these schedules to determine penalties (Sections 54.1-3446, 54.1-3448, 54.1-3450, 54.1-3452, 54.1-3454, 54.1-3455], and the amounts the suspect is arrested with can lead to a variety of penalties that can range from a few days in jail to decades in prison [Sections 18.2-250 & 18.2-251.1]. The lower the schedule number (Schedule 1 being the most severe), the more serious the sentence.
Virginia has legalized the possession of small amounts (1/2 ounce or less) of marijuana for medical purposes, but you must have a doctor’s prescription for it and cannot exceed the maximum allowable weight, or you could likely be charged with class 5 felony possession of a schedule 1 controlled substance.
Those who manufacture (for example, grow) or distribute drugs in Virginia can be sentenced to a prison term as high as 40 years [Section 18.2-248] and receive fines of up to $500,000. If you are charged with a federal drug crime (such as importing or distributing across state lines), a federal prison sentence of life without parole could be your fate if you are convicted in a U.S. district court [21 U.S. Code Section 841 (A), (B), (C)].
Sex crimes in the Commonwealth generally occur when the perpetrator performs a sexual act with a person who cannot give, or has not given, their consent. They are separated into two general categories: sexual offenses and sexually violent offenses. The latter category usually brings additional assault penalty enhancements that produce prison sentences of 20 years or more, depending on the circumstances. Some of the more common sex crimes include:
- Rape [Section 18.2-61] and attempted rape: [Section 18.2-67.5]
- Object sexual penetration [Section 18.2-67.2]
- Carnal knowledge of a child between the ages of thirteen and fifteen [Section 18.2-63] and of certain minors [Sections 18.2-64.1 & 18.2-64.2], which in Virginia are commonly associated with statutory rape
- Child pornography (possession, distribution, production) [Section 18.2-374.1]. This is also the statute under which “sexting” offenses can be pursued, even against underage offenders.
Federal convictions of child pornography and human trafficking for the purposes of committing sex crime potentially carry much more severe penalties than the convictions within the Commonwealth [18 U.S. Code Section 2252A]. All who are found guilty of a sex crime in any jurisdiction must register as a sex offender.
Many Virginia weapons violation charges involve unauthorized carrying a weapon in public: [Sections 18.2-308; 308.1; 308.2]; Other state weapons violations can include:
- Unlawful discharge of a firearm at or within a dwelling [Section 18.2-279]
- Possessing firearms in prohibited areas (for example, airports, churches, 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 felony [Section 18.2-308.4].
Federal weapons charges could also apply to some offenses [18 U.S. Code Section 926A]. The federal government consistently exercises its prosecutorial authority over states under certain circumstances, with prison sentences and fines that are much more serious than state convictions.
Loudoun Criminal Attorney
The lawyers with Karin Riley Porter Attorney at Law combine decades of experience to bring you sound legal advice and solid defense strategies. We offer a free case evaluation to individuals facing criminal charges. To get started building your defense, call (703) 278-2800 today. We also have specific page providing information about how a criminal attorney can help with charges in Leesburg.