Being charged with a crime is a deep concern to all who are suspected of breaking the law, even if it’s a misdemeanor. Concerns about fines, incarceration, your reputation, and what a conviction will do to your family cause many sleepless nights. But being charged and being convicted are often two different things, especially if suspects retain an experienced Occoquan criminal lawyer to help defend them. A seasoned defense attorney can offer very capable defenses to criminal charges, including the most common ones listed below.
Common forms of theft are robbery – which is a common law offense – and burglary [Virginia Criminal Code Section 18.2-89]. Each offense carries a prison sentence that begins at five years, but more time can be added if other felonies, like assaulting a robbery victim [Section 18.2-58] or carrying a handgun during a burglary [Section 18.2-89] are committed during either crime.
Simple theft (known as “larceny”) can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The guiding factor is the value of what was stolen. A misdemeanor shoplifting offense means the value is less than $200, and could draw penalties of up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine [Section 18.2-103]. But felony grand larceny can draw significantly higher sentences and fines. Payment of restitution to theft victims may be a requirement for all who are convicted of any larceny offense.
These can range from misdemeanor possession of small amounts of controlled substances or marijuana [Section 18.2-250.1]; to possession with intent to distribute [Section 18.2-248 & 18.2-248.1].
Another factor in sentencing is the type of drugs you have. Virginia has a schedule of drugs that determine the severity of sentences; ranging from the most serious (Schedule 1 Drugs) to the least (Schedule 6 Drugs): [Sections 54.1-3446, 54.1-3448, 54.1-3450, 54.1-3452, 54.1-3454, 54.1-3455]. You don’t have to sell drugs to be charged with intent to distribute; the quantity of drugs in your possession and any paraphernalia or money in your possession will be used to show intent to distribute.
Threatening an assault and stalking someone are classified as misdemeanors [Virginia Criminal Code Section 18.2-57] and involve a potential fine and up to 12 months in jail for a first offense, but when a victim is harmed, it’s a more serious assault offense. And if the assault-related injury is committed with a weapon, it could produce guilty verdicts for crimes such as aggravated malicious wounding [Section 18.2-51.2] (up to 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine).
Domestic violence assault-related penalties are just as serious as other assault convictions: [Section 18.2-57.2 & 18.2-57.3], and violation of a protective order is a class 6 felony with a mandatory minimum jail term of six months [Section 16.1-253.2].
These are punished very severely by both the criminal justice system and the court of public opinion, especially those where the victims are minors:
- Rape [Section 18.2-61]
- Object sexual penetration [Section 18.2-67.2], minimum five years to life in prison
- Carnal knowledge of a child between ages 13 and 15 (the term “carnal knowledge” includes all sexual acts in the Virginia Criminal Code) [Section 18.2-63], up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,500, to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000
- Child (that is, minor – under age 18) pornography possession, distribution, or production) [Section 18.2-374.1].
DUI and Reckless Driving
Drunk driving [Section 18.2-266] and driving under the influence of drugs [Section 18.2-269] are both charged as class I misdemeanors. First-time offenders could face up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Repeat offenders who exceed a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 can face longer minimum jail times; as well as drivers who have children in the vehicle at the time they were arrested. A one-year driver’s license suspension for first conviction is a statutory punishment.
Reckless driving: [Section 46.2-852] is a group of 13 charges that the legislator deems to pose the greatest threat to the general public, drivers and passengers, and property. It is a class I misdemeanor with the potential penalty of a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail. When convicted, six points go on your Virginia DMV driving record, and a possible six-month driver’s license suspension can be imposed.
Crime Statistics and Court Information
One theft was reported in Occoquan in 2012, the latest reporting period according to the Virginia State Police, and 54 registered sex offenders live in the community as of August 2014.
Prince William County is served by the 31st Virginia Judicial District. It includes the Circuit Court, General District Court, and Juvenile Court. The Circuit Court is the highest Trial Court within the County. It seats one chief judge and four presiding judges. The Circuit Court is where felony and jury trials are conducted.
The Prince William General District Court hears the following types of cases:
- Traffic violations
- Misdemeanor criminal cases that do not involve a jury
- Some preliminary hearings prior to trial in Circuit Court
Both courts are located at the Prince William County Government Center: 9311 Lee Avenue in Manassas.
Cases Represented by Occoquan Criminal Lawyers
Criminal offenses in Virginia are charged as either misdemeanor crimes or felony crimes. Misdemeanors, such as most first-time charges for drug possession, driving under the influence (DUI), or reckless driving, are those which generally carry a potential sentence of one year or less in jail. Felonies, on the other hand, are punishable by a period of more than a year in prison, often by several years, decades, or even life. Some crimes may be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the severity of the offense. For example, a Virginia theft charge is generally a misdemeanor when the value of the stolen property is less than $200, but it is a felony if the value is greater than $200.
We have experienced Occoquan criminal lawyers that can represent individuals who have been accused of crimes in Prince William County, Virginia. Defense attorneys handle a variety of criminal cases, ranging from reckless driving and DUI to felony theft crimes. A criminal defense lawyer can represent defendants in cases including:
- Assault and Domestic Violence
- Drug Possession and Drug Distribution
- Reckless Driving
- Traffic Crimes
- Prostitution and Solicitation
- Sex Offenses
- Theft and Robbery
Occoquan criminal cases are generally heard at the Prince William General District Court at 9311 Lee Avenue in Manassas, Virginia. An Occoquan criminal lawyer can represent you before the district court judge, providing skillful defense that may successfully end your case in reduced charges, dismissal, or acquittal.
Finding a Criminal Lawyer in Occoquan, Virginia
When you need a criminal lawyer in Occoquan, it is important to find an attorney with the skill, experience, knowledge, and resources to successfully handle your defense. To some Occoquan criminal attorneys, you may be little more than a case number. You are a person who needs and deserves quality defense, regardless of the charge you face. Our team is committed to providing the personal attention and careful analysis of evidence and legal precedents that are critical in securing the best possible outcome for your case.
A criminal accusation should never be taken lightly. If you are charged, or even suspect that you are under investigation for a charge, you should act quickly to obtain effective legal representation that can help you make the wisest decisions regarding your case. For a free, confidential consultation, call our office today.