Being charged with a criminal offense is an intimidating experience, and what follows the initial charge can often be quite daunting. When you are facing this kind of unfamiliarity, it is important you have someone by your side that can explain the process, help you to understand the pending charges, and work to get you the best possible outcome.
An experienced Dale City criminal attorney will guide you through the process while protecting your legal rights. If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Dale City, it is important you retain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Crimes are classified as either misdemeanor or felony offenses. The classification dictates the maximum and sometimes, the minimum penalty, that may be imposed if convicted. Within the felony and misdemeanor classifications, there are class designations assigned based on the seriousness of the offenses.
The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor offense is up to 12 months incarceration and fines up to $2,500. The minimum penalty for a felony offense is up to 12 months in jail and the maximum penalty includes fines up to $100,000 and life imprisonment. Further, the death penalty also exists in Virginia. An experienced Dale City criminal attorney can help an individual understand the penalties they are facing.
Simple possession is one of the most common drug charges in Virginia. Intentionally possessing a half-ounce or less of marijuana constitutes simple possession, which is a misdemeanor. For first-time offenders, the penalty for simple possession is commonly up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $500. A drug conviction also carries a license suspension of six months.
The penalty for a drug-related offense is enhanced based on the substance possessed, the amount of the substance possessed, and whether there is evidence to support being charged with intent to distribute the substance. Accordingly, possessing two pounds of heroin would have more serious penalties than a half ounce of marijuana.
Reckless driving is a catch-all term that is used to define specific acts that a driver engages in, which puts lives or property in danger. This standard does not require that there be an accident or injury caused by the alleged reckless driving. The charge is not just a traffic violation in Virginia, it is also a criminal offense.
Driving 20 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit or driving faster than 80 miles per hour is reckless driving in Dale City. Failing to timely use turn signals, passing a stopped school bus, or overtaking a vehicle at a railroad crossing constitutes reckless driving. In Virginia, speeding is the most common reason to be cited for reckless driving.
Reckless driving is a serious misdemeanor offense that can be penalized with up to one year in jail, a fine up to $2,500, or both. Plus, the court has the authority to suspend a driver’s privilege to drive in Virginia for up to six months for this offense. Additionally, a reckless driving charge may result in administrative penalties with the Department of Motor Vehicles making it important that a Dale City criminal attorney is consulted.
Dale City is not obligated to be lenient with first-time offenders or any other offenders in criminal cases. While the law is the same throughout the state, every jurisdiction has local customs so a charge that may be commonly reduced for first-time offenders in one jurisdiction, may be prosecuted with no leniency in another.
If you are being investigated or have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, it is important to seek out an experienced criminal attorney in Dale City to help improve the outcome in your criminal case.
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