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 into 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 of 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.

What Happens After A Social Security Beneficiary Passes Away?

When Congress created Social Security in 1935, the program was intended as a means of economic security for retirees aged 65 and over. The Social Security Administration can assist families of a deceased beneficiary.

Reporting a Social Security Beneficiary’s Passing

Notifying Social Security of a beneficiary’s passing should be done promptly. Such reports can be made by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or in-person at the local Social Security office. Such notification cannot be handled online. Usually, funeral directors take of this notification on the family’s behalf. The funeral director will need to know the deceased person’s Social Security number to report the beneficiary’s passing.

What Happens to the Beneficiary’s Most Recent Social Payment

It helps to understand how Social Security benefits are paid before learning what happens to the last payment the beneficiary received. Social Security benefits are paid for the previous month. Social Security regulations require that a beneficiary live an entire month to receive benefits for that month.

Here’s an example to clarify the rule. If a Social Security payment arrived on February 4th, that payment was the decedent’s benefit for January. The family could keep the payment if the beneficiary passed on February 1st. In contrast, those funds have to be returned to Social Security if the decedent passed on January 30th because the beneficiary didn’t live the entire month.

When funds have to be returned, the family should have the bank return electronic payments. Benefits received in the mail should not be cashed. Social Security expects the family to mail back the original benefit check.

Lump-sum Social Security Death Benefit

For beneficiaries who received benefits based on their own record, Social Security provides a one-time death benefit of $255 to the beneficiary’s spouse if the spouse was living with the beneficiary at the time of death. In some cases, a spouse who was living apart or a child is eligible to receive the death benefit. Additional information about the death benefit is available online.

Monthly Survivor Benefits

The beneficiary’s passing may qualify certain family members for monthly Social Security benefits. Relatives who may be eligible include a spouse aged 60 or over, a widow or widower of any age who’s raising the deceased person’s minor child, a minor or disabled child, or a parent who was dependent on the beneficiary’s support. Family members who may qualify for survivor benefits should contact the Social Security Administration.