Your Virginia Legal Team

Prince William County Criminal Consequences

Law enforcement takes criminal charges of all kinds extremely seriously, and, therefore, enforce strict punishments to keep people from committing these crimes again. Although penalties vary depending on the specifics of a charge, any conviction could impact someone’s life in negative ways.

If you are facing Prince William County criminal consequences, you should speak with a legal representative who can guide you through the next steps. A seasoned attorney could answer your questions and work to create a sound defense.

Types of Penalties a Person Might Face

Criminal consequences in Prince William County can vary depending on the specifics of the offense and the situation. Misdemeanors are typically less severe crimes than felonies, and their potential consequences match this fact.

Misdemeanors

The penalties for misdemeanors in this county might include:

  • Up to 12 months of active or suspended jail time
  • Up to $2,500 in fines or suspended fines
  • Hundreds of dollars in court costs
  • Hundreds of dollars in restitution
  • Months or years of license suspension
  • Local probation supervision including classes and drug tests
  • Community service hours
  • Driving classes
  • Protective orders
  • No-trespassing orders

Felonies

Alleged felony offenders tend to face more serious consequences, however. These might include:

  • Loss of civil rights, including the rights to vote and bear arms
  • Registration on Virginia’s Sex Offender Registry
  • Placement on post-release supervision with the Virginia Parole Board

Otherwise, the types of penalties for felony crimes are similar to those of misdemeanor crimes. However, people convicted of felonies may face these punishments with a greater degree of severity.

Paying a Fine

The first thing that the court may offer a person who owes money for a case but who cannot pay is an extended payment plan of up to 90 days, instead of paying in 30 days. If an individual still cannot pay what they owe within that time, either an additional payment plan extension could be considered, or the court might offer the person a certain amount of community service hours that the court may accept instead of money.

The Impact of Criminal Charges on Immigration Status

A criminal charge or conviction can cause an individual to become deportable, removable, or ineligible for re-entry into the United States upon leaving the country. Charges and convictions can also delay or destroy eligibility to upgrade to permanent resident or full citizenship status, as well as they can impact someone’s fitness to remain on or apply for certain immigration visas. Criminal defense attorneys should be familiar with how these Prince William County criminal penalties could hurt an individual’s immigration status and should be consulted when someone faces this situation.

How Criminal Charges Might Affect Security Clearances

A criminal conviction can immediately render someone ineligible to receive or maintain a security clearance, as well as serve as a basis for a current clearance to be revoked. Most security clearances are necessary for a person’s job, so the revocation of that clearance could result in the loss of employment. Criminal charges also can complicate clearances because employees must report new charges, and a pending criminal charge may function as a red flag on security clearance applications. Employers do not generally want to take a chance on granting someone a clearance when at any subsequent court date, they could become convicted and therefore ineligible for the clearance they were just granted.

If a particular charge or conviction does not automatically result in the loss of clearance, once a criminal offense is brought to an employer’s attention, it may trigger a review process which can end with the termination of their clearance—regardless of conviction.

Felony charges are the most worrisome to report in the context of security clearance holders, followed by crimes involving deception, violence, and drugs. The least serious charges may be traffic infractions and misdemeanors that do not involve threats to public safety. A well-versed attorney could review a defendant’s case to determine which Prince William County criminal punishments they may face and how these consequences could affect someone’s security clearance.

How an Attorney May Handle a Defendant with Security Clearance

A person with a security clearance can raise the stakes of a criminal case and narrows the number of acceptable outcomes that a defense attorney can achieve. While this fact may make the case more difficult, a skilled lawyer can leverage a defendant’s security clearance by trying to persuade the prosecutor, police officer, or judge to view the defendant more sympathetically. Many people who hold clearances have noble jobs, which is a great source of mitigation evidence to present against a finding of guilt, as well as in support of abnormally favorable sentences or reduced forms of charges.

Not all security clearances are affected by criminal cases in the same way. One thing an attorney might tell a person worried about their clearance is to confirm with more specificity the likely effects that a charge or conviction might have. This clarification can be something that a client is better-suited to find out than the attorney.

Once the consequences are clearer, an attorney can brainstorm ways to avoid or lessen those consequences in terms of when they happen, and whether they happen. An attorney may also be able to offer some insight as to their understanding of the clearance-revoking process, and give examples of case outcomes that have worked in the past for other accused individuals who have held those same level of clearances.

The Higher Standards for People with Security Clearances

To acquire a security clearance in the first place, a person goes through a substantial background check that focuses on any preexisting and concerning criminal history. Security clearances are also only offered or required of people that hold positions of trust on matters concerning public interest or national security.

As a result, some prosecutors and police operate under the presumption that holders of security clearances should be held to a higher standard of conduct since they qualified for a security clearance in the first place. People with clearances are also presumed to know that the commission of crimes can severely jeopardize their clearances, such that they have an added incentive to be extra careful when it comes to avoiding potential criminal misconduct.

Contact an Attorney to Discuss Criminal Consequences in Prince William County

Depending on the specific offense, Prince William County criminal consequences can be severe. They could impact someone’s ability to vote, work, travel freely, drive, and more.

As a result, no criminal charge is too insignificant to contact a legal professional. If you have been charged with any criminal offense, call our office to schedule a consultation on your case.

Contact Us

Do not send us confidential information related to you or your company until you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us.

Copyright 2020 Virginia Criminal Lawyer. All rights reserved. Disclaimer/Privacy Policy