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Stafford County Auto Theft Defense Strategies

Auto theft charges are taken very seriously by law enforcement officers, by the prosecution, and by the courts. As a result, a defendant in these cases faces an onslaught of professionally trained opposition. Therefore, the best way to meet the charges is with the help of an established and experienced defense attorney. Such an attorney can help you prepare Stafford County auto theft defense strategies, as well as guide and advise you throughout the legal proceedings.

Potential Consequences Of A Conviction

When it comes to theft or larceny of any kind, the difference between felonies and misdemeanors in Virginia is the value of the item. Virginia set the breaking point for felonies at $200 or more. Anytime there is proof that someone took something worth at least $200, it is considered a felony under Virginia law. When the item is less than  $200, it is considered a misdemeanor.

Because cars are generally worth more than $200, when a person is convicted of auto theft, they have the consequences of, at a minimum, a Class 6 felony. That includes up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine in addition to the outside consequences of such a conviction that may involve the loss of employment and the inability to secure employment in the future.

Second Time Offenses

Anytime someone is charged with a second felony, the consequences are more severe. Under the Virginia sentencing guidelines, having a previous felony conviction weighs heavily in terms of the current punishment. When someone faces a second offense of larceny of an automobile, it is reasonable to anticipate that they are looking at significant prison time if convicted.

Building A Defense

There are several Stafford County auto theft defense strategies to be employed in a case of this nature. An auto theft lawyer always looks at the evidence gathered by the government and the best way to challenge it.

That might be attempting to undermine the credibility of the witnesses that the government puts forth, or challenging other evidence. Defense counsel also makes sure that the government is held to its burden of proof.

In addition, the attorney determines whether the constitutional rights of their client or clients were violated in such a way that allows the suppression of important evidence. When it comes to Stafford County auto theft defense strategies, the particular tactics that make the most sense from each case are dictated by the facts and circumstances of that case.

Initial Steps

The first step an auto theft lawyer takes is to understand what evidence the government uses in the case. The auto theft lawyer must understand all of the evidence the government has and plans to use at trial.

It is also important for a lawyer to marshal all of the evidence helpful to their client including witnesses and documents or anything else that may help their case. The lawyer looks for discrepancies in the evidence that the government presents and any possibility that the rights of the defendant were violated in a way that allows the suppression of evidence at trial.

Alternative Sentencing Options

There are not many options for probation instead of conviction or any kind of alternative punishment or deferral in most jurisdictions. If probation or reduced sentencing happens, it is in the context of a plea agreement because of a serious problem with the government’s case.

Probation might be offered as a compromise. It is incorrect to think that there is automatic or statutory probation or diversion program available to someone. The only way to get there is to vigorously prepare a defense and take advantage of a situation where the government wants to compromise because of the weakness of their case.

How An Attorney Can Help

Ultimately, Stafford County auto theft defense strategies are shaped by the specific details of the case in question. An experienced attorney will know what evidence to look for and where to find it. By hiring a local lawyer, a defendant can increase their chances of a positive outcome or at least one in which the penalties are reduced and the damages mitigated.

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