The thought of facing the criminal justice system is often something most people never have to consider. However, when you make a mistake and are charged with a crime, there are consequences. Misdemeanor and felony penalties in Prince William County have the potential to alter your life for the worse. Because of this, it is critical you take every step necessary to avoid these consequences. An attorney with experience as a defense lawyer could help you obtain a favorable outcome in court and demonstrate to the court that your charge was a one-time ordeal. Reach out to an attorney today.
There is a wide range of misdemeanor penalties in Prince William County. Some possible penalties people could face for misdemeanor crimes include the maximum punishment, which is one full year in jail and a fine of $2,500 for most misdemeanors. There are a number of other consequences that could come into play, but that is usually the maximum punishment.
Typically, someone who serves jail time on a misdemeanor would get credit worth two days for every one day they spend in jail, so it would be extremely uncommon for someone to have to spend more than six months in jail for a misdemeanor. It is very uncommon for anyone to have a maximum sentence for a misdemeanor. Usually, that is an indication they have an extremely bad record or they made an agreement to serve the maximum time on one charge in exchange for other more serious charges being dismissed.
In addition to jail time and a fine, there are a number of penalties that people could face for misdemeanors including a suspension of driver’s license, a restriction such as probation, and having to complete community service or drug education classes. Typically, the most restrictive penalties for misdemeanors come from people convicted of DUI.
Everyone who is convicted of a DUI in Virginia has to attend the alcohol safety action program, which is a 12-week course for a couple of hours each week. That person would have to have their driver’s license suspended for a full year. If they want to have a restricted license, they would have to have an ignition interlock installed on their car for a period of at least six months.
Those same restrictions are greatly amplified if someone is convicted of a second offense of a DUI or if someone is convicted of driving after having been convicted of a DUI and not following the court’s restrictions as far as their license suspension. Most of the penalties that someone could face from a misdemeanor crime in Prince William County are fairly temporary in nature. Although it is possible for someone to lose their driver’s license permanently for a misdemeanor, they could always petition the court to have that returned.
Despite what people may think, there is actually a myriad of serious felony penalties in Prince William County. Some penalties people could face for felony crimes in Prince William County include losing their right to vote, losing the right to possess a firearm, losing the right to purchase a firearm, and losing the right be on a jury, although many people do not want to be on a jury to begin with so that may not be a terrible penalty for them. In addition to longer, more serious jail sentences and larger fines for different felonies in Prince William County, people convicted of a felony also face a much more serious, difficult, and rigorous probation system through the circuit court. There is a wider variety of much more serious and much harsher-impacting collateral consequences.
In addition, it could be difficult to get certain types of insurance if someone has a felony conviction. There are a number of apartment buildings and communities that convicted people would not be eligible to rent if they have a felony conviction. Certain types of felonies could be much more restrictive. Someone who is convicted of some type of sex offense, for example, would have to register on a regular basis as a sex offender and would not be able to live in certain areas. Additionally, people would have an extraordinarily difficult time finding employment and would have to constantly update the state police as to their whereabouts. This causes a lot of problems for some people who have a more difficult time maintaining that. Some of the collateral consequences affect people who have a harder time maintaining housing in much more serious ways than they do other people because being on probation and not being able to maintain their housing means that they are almost constantly in violation of their probation. The judges, in some cases, may have no choice except to keep rocking the individual back up for further violation.
Since the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction could be far-reaching and, in a felony case, have a wide array of collateral consequences, it is very important to speak with an attorney about all possible consequences.
Some of the most condemning lateral consequences of convictions occur in the realm of immigration. It is impossible for defense attorneys to fully understand and keep up with the changes in immigration law and to fully understand the consequences, but all criminal defense attorneys should have a basic working understanding of the consequences of an offense for immigration consequences. The Supreme Court of the United States has dictated that criminal defense attorneys refer their clients to someone who specializes in immigration law to be able to fully inform them of the consequences of a criminal conviction. If an individual is someone who may have to face immigration consequences, it is important they keep in mind not only that they have to hire a criminal defense attorney, but that they have to consult with an immigration attorney, as well.
There are several ways in which a criminal charge or conviction could affect a person’s immigration status. Even a misdemeanor conviction could affect immigration status. Someone who is not a United States citizen, even a lawful permanent resident, could have certain immigration consequences follow a conviction. The most common consequences are someone is made deportable, meaning if the immigration court wants to deport that individual, they have the legal authority to so, and that the person is made ineligible for reentry.
“Ineligible for reentry” could mean a number of things. It could mean that convicted or charged people could not reenter the country if they leave or that they would have to have a hearing before an immigration judge before being allowed to come back into the country. In more cases, for people who are residents of the United States, it means that they are not eligible to receive a renewal of their green card, receive a renewal of their visa, apply for permanent residency, apply for citizenship, or apply for the next step on their path to citizenship.
It is extremely important that people on the path to citizenship or to permanent residency speak with their attorney about their immigration status and make sure that they are not accepting any type of agreement that might have that collateral consequence. The thing that people most often overlook is having a misdemeanor conviction that has too much jail time associated with it. Even though they may not go to jail at all, if the court has a suspended jail time imposed on their case for immigration purposes, it would have the same impact as if there was actual jail time in that case and could render them unable to renew their visa.
Misdemeanor and felony penalties in Prince William County should not be taken lightly. There are consequences beyond sentencing and could even affect your rights. If you feel as though you need help defending yourself in court, an attorney could help you preserve your rights. Reach out to an experienced representative today.
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