Norfolk Criminal Lawyer
When you are accused of a crime in Virginia, contacting a Norfolk criminal attorney is a smart choice. An attorney can provide legal representation at every step of your case and help you make tough decisions, from deciding whether to plead guilty to determining how best to present evidence at trial. Get help from a Norfolk criminal lawyer today so you have a legal advocate on your side.
Advantages of Working with a Norfolk Criminal Lawyer
A Norfolk criminal lawyer can talk to the prosecutor on your behalf and try to negotiate a plea bargain if you don’t wish to take your chances in court. The plea deal can sometimes result in more limited penalties, or even reduced charges.
If you get in contact with an attorney early enough in the charge process, he or she can also attend your arraignment and potentially minimize damage right from the beginning. If you are being questioned by police without having been detained, speak with a Norfolk criminal lawyer immediately.
In some cases, charges can be dropped before your case gets to court. A Norfolk criminal lawyer can move to keep illegally-obtained evidence from being used in trial if law enforcement officers violated any of your Constitutional rights. This may mean there is no evidence and the prosecutor has to drop the charges. Your criminal attorney in Norfolk can also make a motion to the court to dismiss the charges and argue that the prosecutor hasn’t made a convincing case to go forward.
Crimes in Norfolk, VA
Crimes in Virginia can be either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors typically result in up to a year of jail time, although it is often possible to just pay fines or get probation and not go to jail. Felonies are more serious offenses that can result in more than a year incarceration, sometimes up to life in prison. Some examples of different felony and misdemeanor offenses you could be charged with include:
- Reckless Driving: Driving very fast and/or driving in a way that puts other motorist’s life, limb or property at risk. This offense is a misdemeanor under Virginia Code Section 46.2-852.
- Driving Under the Influence: Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, or driving with enough drugs or alcohol in your system to cause impairment. This offense, defined in Code Section 18.2-266, is usually a misdemeanor, but can be a felony.
- Traffic Offenses: There are a variety of traffic offenses including reckless driving and aggressive driving that are criminal misdemeanors and therefore result in criminal charges if convicted.
- Drug crimes: Possession of controlled substances is usually a misdemeanor under Code Section 18.2-248, while manufacturing or selling drugs usually results in felony charges.
- Assault: Making someone feel a reasonable fear of imminent unwanted or offense contact is typically charged as a misdemeanor under Virginia Code Section 18.2-57 although some behaviors escalate to a felony.
- Domestic violence: Making offensive unwanted contact or threats of offensive contact against a close family member can result in misdemeanor charges under Code Section 18.2-57.2.
- Weapons offenses: Using a gun when committing a felony is a felony under Code Section 18.2-53.1. Shooting inside certain public places or shooting at certain places can also be charged as a felony under Code Sections 2-279 and 18.2-280.
- Sex offenses: Sex crimes involving forcible unwanted sex or sexual contact with minors typically result in felony charges. Rape is a felony under Code Section 18.2-61 and the sexual abuse of children is a felony under Code Section 18.2-67.4:1. Some offenses, such as indecent exposure with no children involved, can be charged as a misdemeanor.
- Prostitution: People who buy (or offer to buy) sex, and people who sell (or offer to sell) sex are both charged with misdemeanors under Virginia Code Section 18.2-346.
- Theft: The theft of $200 or less in items is a misdemeanor under Virginia Code Section 18.2-96. The theft of items valued at more than $200 is a felony under Code Section 18.2-95.
You are informed of the criminal charges you face when you are arrested and arraigned. You will need to decide whether to plead guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity.
Where Cases Are Heard
Defense Strategies in a Norfolk Criminal Case
If your case goes to court, a Norfolk criminal lawyer can help you to present defenses to a jury or to poke holes in the prosecutors’ case so you can introduce reasonable doubt. The defenses will vary depending upon the crime prosecutors have charged you with. Some possible options include:
- Innocence: You did not commit the crime.
- Entrapment: You were tricked into the illegal acts.
- Lack of intent: Some crimes require that you acted intentionally in order for a prosecutor to convict.
Other defenses are specific to a particular offense. For example, consent is a defense to rape and a claim of ownership to property is a defense to theft. A Norfolk criminal lawyer will review your charges and investigate the facts to find possible defenses and help you handle your case. He or she will also be able to inform you on what defenses do or don’t work with local prosecutors and judges.
Contact an attorney for help with your case as soon as you can after your arrest if you want a legal professional on your side to guide you through the criminal justice system. Retaining a lawyer for your case will make the entire process easier and less complex for you.