Stafford County Criminal Lawyer
Anytime a person is facing criminal charges, there are potentially serious, long-lasting consequences. If a person is in a position where they are charged with a crime, it is important to have an attorney with experience to help them through the process of their case. A Stafford County criminal lawyer can use their knowledge of and experience in Stafford County to provide a strong defense and to combat the charges the person is facing to the best of their ability.
Misdemeanor vs Felony Charges
Misdemeanors are charges where less than a year in jail is available. On the other hand, a felony is a charge where a person can receive more than a year in jail, all the way up to life in some cases. In addition, a felony record is something that is much more serious and will have much further-reaching consequences than a misdemeanor record will.
In general, felonies will have some element that is more serious than misdemeanor versions of the same charge. For example, in a larceny charge, it may be that the amount in question is above the $200 threshold in Virginia law, it may simply be a repeat offense, or it may be some other behavior that the Virginia General Assembly has deemed to be a more serious transgression.
Stafford County prosecutors treat felonies remarkably differently than misdemeanors. In Stafford County, most felony charges, except for a jury trial, will be at the request of the prosecutor’s office. This is unusual and unique among Virginia jurisdictions and means that a person can be sentenced by a jury to the maximum amount of time available for their charge, which is something that would be unlikely to happen if a judge was hearing the case.
These circumstances are true even for non-violent felonies. Any crime that is a felony in Stafford is treated much more seriously and prosecutors are very aggressive in terms of trying to get the greatest penalty they can.
For this reason, it is crucial that a person facing criminal charges in Stafford County contacts a criminal lawyer in Stafford County right away.
Local Laws and Ordinances
Local ordinances sometimes come into play in criminal cases, and most jurisdictions in Stafford are no exception. Most have adopted the county code that in some aspects mirror the Virginia Code when it comes to criminal offenses. There are certain types of offenses under the code which are unique to the county and which have a criminal aspect to them, such as violations of the zoning ordinance or things like noise ordinances.
Depending on the kind of misdemeanor a person is charged with, there can be a number of long-term consequences. These consequences can be related to a person’s current employment or ability to get employment in the future. A conviction can also affect their ability to apply for school, to get loans, have driving privileges, or carry a concealed weapon.
An experienced Stafford County criminal lawyer can help a person minimize, or in some cases, even avoid these long-term consequences.
Effect on Security Clearance and Background Checks
A criminal charge, including a misdemeanor, certainly can affect a person’s security clearance and can be something that is of concern when the background check is conducted. The adjudicatory guidelines utilized in helping to determine whether a person can receive or maintain a security clearance list a number of offenses which will trigger a review of the person’s continued ability to hold a clearance.
Certain kinds of misdemeanors can be overlooked under some circumstances, however, other misdemeanors can cause a very serious problem, which is why it is so important for a person facing any criminal charges speaks with a Stafford County criminal attorney right away.
Contacting an Attorney
It is important to contact an attorney early on in your case. The early part of the case is a very important and sensitive time in terms of the government making efforts to collect evidence. One of the main ways this occurs is through statements made by the accused. Involving an attorney early in the process will ensure that you do not create new evidence in your case by making statements to the police without the benefit of talking to a lawyer. In most cases, there are proactive steps a lawyer can take on your behalf or encourage you to take, which either help to win your case at trial or in some cases to mitigate the impact of a conviction.
Facing criminal charges in Stafford County is not an experience you want to go through alone. There are consequences which can be immediate and far-reaching. This is something you do not want to attempt to do without the benefit of an experienced attorney. They can help you not only win your case or minimize any impact, but also help you understand what to expect and guide you through the process to ease any anxieties.