Why do I need a criminal lawyer Fairfax, VA? I didn’t do it!
If you find yourself, or someone you care about, charged with a crime in Virginia, you should consider consulting with an experienced criminal lawyer Fairfax, VA, who has direct experience and expertise with the specific types of criminal issues you might be facing.
Note: Our lawyers practice in Fairfax and all other counties of Virginia. Work done to Fairfax standards meets or exceeds the standards in every other jurisdiction in the Commonwealth.
Being charged with a crime, or even coming under investigation of potentially criminal behavior, can be stressful and confusing. A criminal lawyer Fairfax, VA can help you protect your rights and navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system.
In Virginia, crimes are classified as felonies or misdemeanors.
Misdemeanors in Virginia are those crimes that have a maximum punishment of up to 12 months of incarceration in jail and fines up to $2,500. They are most typically adjudicated in the General District Court or the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Since you can get jail and a criminal record, you will want to hire a criminal lawyer Fairfax, VA defendants depend on.
Some typical misdemeanors include:
- Simple Assault;
- Domestic Assault & Battery;
- Petit Larceny;
- Possession of Marijuana;
- Destruction of Property;
- Disorderly Conduct; and
- Obstruction of Justice.
There are also some driving-related offenses that rise to the level of a criminal misdemeanor. It is especially important to hire a criminal lawyer for these because, in addition to other possible punishments, these offenses carry the potential for suspension of your driver’s license:
- Reckless Driving;
- Driving While Intoxicated;
- Driving on a Suspended License; and
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident.
Felonies in Virginia, in the broadest sense, are those crimes that are punishable by imprisonment for one year or more in a state correctional facility. Obviously, a criminal attorney is essential for a felony. These charges originate in the General District Court for the stages of arrest, bond, and the determination of probable cause. It is most often through the grand jury’s issuance of an indictment that a case reaches the trial court, called the Circuit Court. Some typical felonies in Virginia:
- Grand Larceny;
- Credit Card Fraud;
- Drug Possession, Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs, or
- Distribution of Drugs;
- Sex crimes; and
- Third Offense DUI.
The principles of criminal law are consistent with any crime. For example, one is innocent until proven guilty. One is found guilty only after the trier of fact has concluded, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the crime was committed.
Beyond this basic Constitutional framework is a realm of complexity dealing with the unique nature of any specific charge. A divorce lawyer or a civil litigator does not know the complex processes and case law for a criminal charge. Only a criminal lawyer in Fairfax, VA will know what to do.
In fact, procedures vary depending on the locality even within Virginia. It pays to have an experienced criminal lawyer Fairfax, VA clients trust who knows the law, understands how to navigate the discovery process, can identify defense issues, construct a comprehensive trial strategy, engage the prosecution, and ultimately conduct a trial in the courtroom, whether before a judge or jury.
Your case is important to you and it will be important to our firm. Your criminal lawyer is the protector of your rights and your voice in dealing with the criminal justice system. Beyond that, we are counselors at law who can help you understand your situation and guide you to make the best decisions. A worthy criminal attorney is going to be by your side and at every step along the way through a difficult situation – using seasoned skills to create the best set of choices – and ultimately guiding you towards a just outcome.
Protect Your Rights
As soon as you have been placed in police custody or custodial interrogation, you must be advised of your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. This is also known as the right to remain silent. You also must be read your right to a criminal lawyer Fairfax VA has to offer; this is your Sixth Amendment right.
These two rights are conveyed when a person is given their Miranda rights. Although it is a law for police to have to read these rights to you, they are not always communicated. The Miranda Warning reads:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
At this point, you can choose to speak with the police, talk to a court-appointed lawyer, or call a Fairfax criminal lawyer. Do keep in mind that not everyone will be eligible for a court-appointed lawyer. If you can afford to pay for bail or a bond, the judge will generally assume you are financially able to hire a private criminal lawyer Fairfax VA respects. This presumption does not mean a court-appointed lawyer won’t be an option, but rather you may have to demonstrate the inability to afford a lawyer through showing the judge various financial records.
A criminal lawyer Fairfax VA residents hire can protect their rights. However, until you hire a lawyer, you will have to protect your rights on your own. At Dave Albo – Attorney, LLP, we encourage you to call us immediately if you have been charged with a crime or anticipate that you may be charged. In the meantime, here are some guidelines you many want to keep in mind insofar as protecting your rights:
- Stay silent. Anything that law enforcement or the prosecutor’s office can do to prove their case they will act on, and that includes using your own words against you. This extends to anything you might say to someone else who could later be a witness against you. That includes fellow inmates, friends, and family. Also, do not post anything about the arrest or anything related to it on social media. In fact, it might be in your best interest to stay off social media altogether as even your timelines of activity based on your posts can be used against you.
- Rely on your attorney. A criminal lawyer in Fairfax VA from our firm can help prevent you from incriminating yourself. You are also not obligated to answer any questions without having a lawyer present.
The Arrest Process
You may be considered to be under arrest even before the law enforcement officer tells you you’re under arrest. If you are not free to leave or walk away from the officer, you are detained by them, and as a result are in their custody. A Fairfax criminal lawyer can later determine if law enforcement violated your rights leading up to informing you of your Miranda rights.
Every situation is different and must be reviewed by a criminal lawyer Fairfax VA turns to, but in general, you can only be arrested under one or more of the following circumstances:
- The law enforcement officer observed you committing a crime.
- The law enforcement officer has a reason to believe (probable cause) that you committed a crime punishable by state prison (a felony).
- A judge or magistrate had probable cause to issue an arrest warrant for you and the law enforcement officer arrests you as a result.
Do Not Resist Arrest
If law enforcement intends to arrest you, they will arrest you. Resisting arrest does not stop that process; in fact, it very well may add another charge against you. If the arrest is without merit, a criminal lawyer Fairfax VA community members turn to under similar circumstances may be able to prove the arrest is unwarranted. You may even have the right to pursue justice for harassment, but that can be decided later by your attorney.
The other reason to not resist arrest is that if you injure the police officer, that will likely result in another criminal charge against you. And in the process of resisting arrest, you may be injured, and you may or may not receive adequate medical attention for your injury. Though you may resent being arrested, remain calm, respectful, and once in custody, immediately call a criminal lawyer Fairfax VA locals recommend from our firm.
What Is a Mistrial?
Some of the most significant headlines about criminal trials center on the word “mistrial.” These headlines are almost always frustrated in tone. But why? A judge may opt to declare a mistrial (or may be compelled to, depending on the circumstances) when an irregularity in the proceedings spoils the integrity of the trial itself. This ruling essentially renders a trial’s proceedings “spoiled” in some way, so it cannot be completed as originally intended. A mistrial essentially voids the proceedings. This is a significant ruling for everyone touched by the trial because it essentially means that in order to move forward with the legal questions at hand, a new trial must be ordered.
Mistrials: The Basics
When is the process of declaring a mistrial appropriate? That depends on the circumstances surrounding the trial itself. Sometimes mistrials are declared when there is such significant misconduct by one of the parties involved that it makes it impossible for the jury to render a fair verdict. Or sometimes the jury itself behaves in such a way that a mistrial is warranted. Under certain circumstances, individual jurors may be dismissed in favor of alternates. But say, for example, that a fully sequestered jury gathered together in the hotel room of one of the members and had a news “viewing party.” If all jurors invested in the process have been tainted in this way, the situation may result in a mistrial so that the full weight of the legal case may be heard by a new jury.
Most mistrials are declared as the result of so-called “hung juries.” A hung jury occurs when a jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict. This is one of the reasons why so many significant headlines about major criminal trials are impacted by mistrials. In numerous significant cases, one or two jurors simply could not find adequate reasons to agree with their peers. A judge cannot sentence someone to consequences or allow someone to walk away from them simply because jurors cannot agree, so a new trial is generally ordered.
Although the mistrial process is not ideal, primarily because it is both expensive and time-consuming to go through the process of starting a trial from scratch, it helps to ensure that errors and jury stalemates do not unduly influence the process of determining criminal guilt. Because sentencing someone in connection with alleged criminal behavior is serious business, doing so should be treated with the greatest of care.
Legal Guidance Is Available
If you have questions about mistrials specifically or criminal trials in general, please consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fairfax, VA. Too often, individuals only call upon criminal defense lawyers in Fairfax, VA when they have been accused of wrongdoing or otherwise find themselves in legal trouble. Attorneys serve as excellent resources at all times. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask. Consultations are almost always completely confidential, so there is no need to be shy. Consider connecting today in order to gain valuable information about how the criminal justice system works and how that system may impact your life in any number of ways.
Benefits of a Criminal Lawyer in Fairfax VA
There is a broad range of benefits to hiring a criminal lawyer local residents can count on including:
- Honest Legal Advice – Following an arrest you most likely will have questions, concerns, worries, and fears. A lawyer can discuss your case and let you know what options may be available. This advice can help you to understand the situation; thereby, allowing you to make the best decisions possible.
- Protection Against Harsh Penalties – A criminal lawyer Fairfax VA trusts will have an in-depth knowledge of criminal legislation, loopholes, and other factors that could influence your case. With this in mind, there may be a possibility to have your charges reduced or dropped. This is something that a court-appointed lawyer might not be able to offer.
- Frequent Communication – By hiring a private criminal attorney families turn to you can expect frequent updates about your case via phone, emails, texts, or meetings. This communication can have a profound effect on your mental well-being and alleviate some of your stress or anxiety.
- Relationships with Court Personnel – Many lawyers personally know other lawyers, prosecutors, judges, law enforcement personnel, and other relevant people. These relationships might hold some weight in your own situation and be able to influence various outcomes.
Why Choose Dave Albo
Your constitutional rights may hold very little meaning or effectiveness without proper criminal representation. Realistically, it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer who knows the system and the laws and has the necessary skills to aggressively defend you and your case.
Dave Albo – Attorney, LLP is guided by years of experience and a tenacious zeal to protect the rights of every client who has been charged with a crime. By working with our firm you will get the support and attention you deserve. During struggles and challenges, we will be there for you and your family. Rest assured we will do our best to get you the results you are looking for. Learn about Crime Classification.
Defenses Your Lawyer May Be Able to Use to Defend You
Facing any type of criminal charge in Virginia is a serious matter. In addition to potential court costs, fines, and the prospect of a criminal record that follows you for the rest of your life, you could also be subject to a mandatory minimum jail sentence. In these situations, you need a Fairfax VA criminal lawyer to begin working immediately on your case. Even in situations where there is overwhelming evidence against you, we may be able to show you were not responsible for your actions, thereby avoiding many of the harsher penalties associated with a conviction.
Building a Strong Defense Against Criminal Charges
Under Virginia law, there are a number of defenses that do not dispute the fact that a crime was committed, but rather address the issue of whether you can be held responsible. These include:
While the insanity defense often adds to the courtroom drama in movies and on television shows, the fact is it only applies in limited circumstances. In effect, you have to suffer a severe mental disease or defect that makes you unable to distinguish that what you were doing was wrong.
- Mistake of Fact
As a Fairfax VA criminal lawyer can explain, this defense alleges that rather than intentionally committing a crime, you had the mistaken notion that what you were doing was not illegal. For example, using someone’s vehicle because you thought you had permission and providing the evidence to prove why you thought this. Simply claiming ignorance that what you were doing was against the law does not apply.
- Mistake of Law
This is where ignorance of the law might come into play as a defense against a crime. In order to prove this, you must either show that you were acting under instruction or had what you thought was prior authorization, such as being charged for embezzlement when you thought you were simply reimbursing yourself for expenses according to company policies.
This involves claiming a form of temporary insanity, in that you were so physically or mentally impaired that you cannot be held fully accountable for your actions. While not a defense against a criminal conviction, it is considered a mitigating circumstance that could reduce your charges or the penalties you face.
As in all of the above, this does not dispute the fact you committed a crime. Instead, a duress defense asserts that you did so under the threat of death or serious bodily injury. This does not apply if you knowingly placed yourself in such a possession, for example by associating with known criminal gang members.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have been charged with a crime, contact Dave Albo – Attorney to meet with a skilled Fairfax VA criminal lawyer and find out what legal options you may have to fight these charges.
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