Petty Offense Attorney Fairfax, VA
If you were charged with a petty crime, it may be in your best interest to discuss your case with a petty offense attorney in Fairfax, VA. Although it does not carry as heavy penalties as a misdemeanor or felony, a petty offense should still be taken seriously. A lawyer can inform you of your legal options and protect your rights.
Different Types of Petty Offenses
Also known as infractions, petty offenses are the lowest levels of crimes and may not qualify for jury trials. Common types of petty offenses include speeding, driving without a license and parking tickets. However, those accused of a petty offense have the right to a bench trial, which involves a judge ruling on the outcome of the case.
Consequences of Petty Offenses
If you are dealing with a petty offense charge, it is important to learn about the types of consequences you may face. While petty offenses may sometimes carry jail time, they are usually punished with fines. Since just paying a fine sounds so simple, many defendants just plead guilty without considering any of the consequences. Although paying a fine may not seem like a big deal, you will still have the conviction on your record.
For instance, if you plead guilty to a speeding ticket, your car insurance company may dramatically increase your monthly premiums. If you already have previous speeding ticket convictions on your record, the court may decide to suspend your driver’s license, making it more difficult for you to get around.
Hiring a Petty Offense Attorney
If you’ve been accused of a petty offense, it may be time to consult a petty offense attorney in Fairfax, VA. A lawyer can assess the details of your case and suggest the appropriate legal strategy. If you have an experienced lawyer on your side, you have a better chance of achieving a positive outcome in your case.
During your initial consultation, be prepared to answer several questions regarding your case, such as when you were charged with the offense, if there were witnesses present and if you have previous convictions on your record. Answer each question truthfully and include as many details as you can. If you have any documents pertaining to your case, do not forget to bring them with you to the meeting.
Petty Offense Attorney Fairfax, Virginia
If you were charged with a misdemeanor, you should consult a petit offense attorney Fairfax, Virginia residents trust. (Note: I use the spelling “petty” instead of the correct spelling of “petit” because most of my clients searching for information will use the term “petty.”) An attorney can provide you with a strong defense and improve your chances of achieving a successful outcome.
Many states use the term “Petit” or “Petty” (slang) to describe offenses that are less serious than Felonies. In Virginia, this term is only used as it relates to larceny. In general, the only criminal offense referred to as “petit” / “petty” under Virginia law is Petit Larceny which is theft of property under a certain value (as of July 1, 2020, the value is $1000). All other lower level (non-felony) criminal infractions are categorized not as petty offenses but rather as misdemeanors. This is a technical difference, but one that is important to understand if you’ve been charged with an infraction that carries penalties that don’t exceed one year of imprisonment.
What Is a Misdemeanor?
Virginia has three broad classifications of offenses. The least serious are traffic offenses, while the most serious are felonies. Misdemeanors serve as the category in between these two relative extremes. In Virginia, Misdemeanors are further divided into four classes, ranging from Class 4 (which is the least serious) to Class 1 (the most serious). The maximum fine and jail time mentioned above would apply to a Class 1 misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor is an offense that comes with a maximum punishment of 12 months in (county or city) jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Is It Worth It to Hire an Attorney?
Jail sentences for Misdemeanors are not as serious as they are for felonies. That’s why some people may forgo hiring an attorney to handle their case. However, just because it’s unlikely that you’ll serve jail time doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have legal counsel. Here are some of the advantages of hiring a misdemeanor attorney in Fairfax, Virginia.
- The Criminal Court System Can Be Intimidating: Even if you’ve been charged with a relatively minor crime, going to court can still be a nerve-wracking experience. When you walk into the courtroom to see the judge, it can be quite intimidating. It helps to have an experienced attorney by your side. He or she will guide you through the entire process and help you feel more comfortable.
- Get a Favorable Plea Bargain: If you hire a reputable criminal attorney Fairfax VA residents count on, he or she will have a thorough knowledge of the law, and perhaps good relationships with prosecutors as well. That means your attorney may be able to help you negotiate a favorable plea bargain. For instance, if you were charged with theft and don’t have a previous criminal record, your attorney may be able to negotiate for you to do community service and actually get the case dismissed!
- Avoid a Criminal Record: While some misdemeanors probably will never hurt you in a job search (e.g. Trespass or Disorderly Conduct), many Misdemeanor offenses could be interview killers. For example, any crime dealing with “moral turpitude (lying, cheating, stealing) such as Petit larceny (aka Petty Larceny) or embezzlement, or crimes of violence such as Assault & Battery may make a potential employer never call you in for an interview. In those cases, you would want to do everything you can to avoid a conviction, and that would require the hiring of an attorney.
Scheduling Your Consultation
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor, you should schedule a consultation with a criminal attorney as soon as possible. During your consultation, your attorney will ask you several questions about your case, such as what you were charged with, whether you have a previous criminal record and if you’ve spoken to the police. Be completely honest in your answers and try to provide as many details as possible.
If you were charged with petty larceny or another misdemeanor, contact a Fairfax, Virginia petty offense attorney at our firm today to better ensure that your case is resolved as favorably as possible.
Schedule a consultation with a petty offense attorney in Fairfax, VA today.