Criminal Defense Laws and Penalties in Virginia

All criminal defendants in the U.S. who are facing a jail sentence are required by U.S. Supreme Court precedent to have adequate legal representation even when they cannot afford private legal counsel. However, having a public defender assigned to the case rarely ends well for those charged with a crime. Even individuals accused of a misdemeanor could still receive a significant jail sentence in certain situations depending on the type of crime. All defendants have the same rights to a criminal defense, but who is representing the case can make a significant difference. It is always best to have aggressive representation who will go the extra distance for case dismissal or acquittal in a trial.

Right to Contest Evidence

One essential criminal defense lawyer is the right for a defendant’s attorney to evaluate all evidence submitted by the state and evaluate each article for admissibility. There are strict rules for obtaining and entering evidence into the record, and a private criminal defense attorney will assess all evidence and move for dismissal when evidence is invalid. This includes procedural violations omitted by arresting officers as well as detaining a suspect beyond the legally allowable amount of time.

Questioning Accusers

A criminal defense attorney also has the authority to cross-exam any witnesses in any case, including all officers involved in the investigation. Police officers are often over-zealous when interrogating a suspect, especially in an impaired driving situation, and individual factors can be overlooked such as reading defendant rights, allowing a phone call, or violating search and seizure protocol. Your attorney can also question any witnesses for the state and locate witnesses who will testify for the benefit of the defendant.

Potential Punishment

Misdemeanor crimes can carry up to one year in jail following a conviction, and fines of up to $2,500 can be applied depending on the nature of the charge. Restitution can also be assigned in some instances. Felonies in Virginia are classified in six classes. Class 1 felonies can result in 20 years to life incarceration, and Class 2 and three felonies can be punishable by up to 20 years incarceration. Class 4 felonies can result in jail terms of up to 10 years, and all four levels can be punishable by up to $100,000 in fines.

Contact a Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney

Never accept the concept you have no defense in a criminal case. Defending yourself is as much as investment in your future as it is in your freedom. Always retain an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney in Richmond Virginia with a solid track record of results for their clients.