Plea Deals in Virginia Gun Cases
In Virginia, a person charged with a gun offense is not required to enter a plea at an arraignment once the person has immediately been arrested, but the person can enter a plea upon indictment in a circuit court. Plea deals in Virginia gun cases can be confusing, and it is important that you know what penalties you are facing and that you have a strong defense prepared beforehand. Contact a Virginia gun attorney who can offer legal guidance and clarification while building you a strong case.
Types of Pleas
For people who are recently suspected for gun crimes at an arraignment, there are three options to enter into some sort of plea deal in a Virginia gun case. The three options for a plea deal are: guilty, no contest, and not guilty. Guilty and no contest are essentially treated the same. A guilty plea means the person attests to the crime that they are being accused of and the person acknowledges that that conduct constitutes the crime that they are charged with.
With a no contest plea deal in a Virginia gun case, the person is acknowledging that the facts are sufficient for a finding of guilt. The person is not actually admitting that they did it, they are acknowledging that the government can likely prove that they did commit the crime, beyond a reasonable doubt.
A not guilty plea, of course, means that the person is challenging the government, and that the person is not agreeing that they are guilty of the crime that they are being accused of.
Common Plea Deals in Virginia Gun Cases
If the defense attorney determines that the government is going to be able to prove their case, then they will slide in to damage control mode or mitigation mode where they present mitigating evidence to the government to try to get the lightest sentence possible. A persons’ attorney will closely examine the facts of their case, the law in their case and help them compile some mitigating evidence to help soften their landing as best as possible.
Benefits of an Attorney
By the time the person needs to enter a plea deal in their Virginia gun case, the person and their attorney will have had the opportunity to go over the charges, go over each of the elements of the crime or crimes that the person is charged with, and determine whether or not the person thinks the government can prove every one of those elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
If the person comes to the decision with their attorney that the government will be able to prove the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt, then the attorney will suggest pleading guilty. Without the benefit of counsel, however, the person will have no idea of what the specific elements of the crime are, the person will have no idea what their level of proof might be, and the person will not be able to appropriately conclude what they should plead. There are many good reasons to have an attorney on the person’s side when determining how best to go forward with a case.