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There are a significant number of criminal offenses and corresponding penalties in Virginia and even those that seem minor could impact you negatively for the remainder of your life. The criminal justice system is not easy to navigate so when a person is facing criminal charges, it is important to have someone who is familiar with the process guiding them through it.
It is imperative to have competent legal representation from an experienced Woodbridge criminal attorney if you or someone you love has been charged with a criminal offense in Woodbridge, Virginia.
A criminal offense is an act that is harmful to a person or people and is punishable by law. Criminal offenses are clearly established so you cannot be charged with a crime if the act was not a crime at the time that it was alleged to have occurred.
Further, there are established penalties for criminal offenses, which ensures that you are aware of the maximum penalty that you face when accused of a crime in Virginia.
You are entitled to legal representation immediately after you are arrested and at any point thereafter, regardless of whether you freely spoke with the police before making the request.
Once the request has been made, the police are prohibited from speaking to you without an attorney unless you agree to do so. When there is an allegation that you have engaged in a criminal offense, the burden is on the State to establish that you have met every element required of that crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
A defense attorney in Woodbridge will make certain that your rights are respected when you speak with the police and guide you away from helping the State to meet its burden of proof by incriminating yourself.
Prince William District Court is where you would report for a hearing if you are charged with a criminal offense involving local ordinances, laws of the county or city, and all State misdemeanors. Preliminary hearings for felony criminal charges are also heard in district court. All cases are heard and decided by a judge, but they may be appealed to circuit court.
Individuals under the age of 18 who are charged with offenses that would be considered a criminal offense if the accused was 18 or older will have their cases first heard in Prince William Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. A case may later be transferred to circuit court, and cases that are heard in this court are appealable to circuit court.
Prince William Circuit Court handles criminal cases for all felony offenses that are punishable by incarceration in the state penitentiary and misdemeanor criminal cases originating from a grand jury indictment.
Cases from juvenile court may be transferred to this court for multiple reasons, including certification of charges as a felony offense. It is the only trial court.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Woodbridge, do not face the State alone in court. Contact an experienced Woodbridge criminal defense lawyer to have a personally chosen legal representative by your side as you fight for your freedom.
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