Virginia Beach Criminal Defense and DUI Lawyer

If you have been charged with a crime in Virginia Beach, or suspect that you are under investigation and about to be charged with one, the first step that you should take is to contact a Virginia Beach criminal defense and DUI lawyer. Though it may seem like the best thing to do is to simply cooperate with police and answer all their questions, there are many instances in which this is ill-advised. Instead, by working with a well-versed attorney, you could have assistance with each step of the ensuing legal process.

Importance of Hiring Legal Representation

While no reputable law firm or attorney would ever guarantee results, it is a given that those who retain qualified legal counsel have a better chance of protecting their rights and reputation when facing criminal prosecution. That is why those who are arrested in this area should speak with a dedicated criminal defense and DUI attorney in Virginia Beach who is familiar with the local courts—and who can be present at all interrogations and questioning.

This is often important because it might protect people from accidentally divulging information that could leave them vulnerable to prosecution. It is not unusual for people to be questioned by authorities on one matter, and then face an entirely different charge based on information they accidentally or unintentionally divulged. Though those under arrest and being detained should always be polite, they should also be firm and insist that they will not speak to authorities until they are allowed to contact an attorney.

Criminal Offenses in Virginia Beach

Criminal Lawyer in Virginia Beach Most crimes are divided into categories based on the type of crime and the severity of the offense. Some crimes, such as assault, property offense, and certain sex crimes, may be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. Crimes are also typically distinguished or defined as violent or non-violent. These two types of categories are not mutually exclusive.

For example, someone may have committed a non-violent act and yet still face a felony charge. On the other hand, someone can commit a crime considered violent, such as simple assault, and be charged with a misdemeanor.

Virginia Beach Areas of Defense


A charge for a crime that is considered less severe than a felony. It is generally defined as a charge that results in a maximum jail sentence of 12 months and/or a maximum fine of $2,500. Misdemeanors may result in lesser consequences than a felony when it comes to treatment after the penalty is handed down, though a misdemeanor offense will likely still show up a background check for employment, housing, and certain financial transactions.

Some examples of misdemeanors are reckless driving, simple assault, larceny involving less than $500, certain drunk driving charges, possession of marijuana, and trespassing. However, a skilled Virginia Beach criminal defense and DUI attorney can help you avoid a criminal record, including preserving your security clearance, which many people need for work.


Felony charges are for more severe crimes and involve any crime where the sentence has the potential of a year or more in prison. Felonies can result in multiple years in behind bars and include the possibility of life in prison and fines up to $100,000. Besides a sentence, having a felony conviction on a criminal record—regardless of what it is for—will likely result in challenges throughout a person’s lifetime, including problems with establishing employment or housing, being forbidden to own a firearm, and being barred from voting or holding public office in Virginia.

Examples of felony charges include murder, possession or distribution of Schedule I/II controlled substances, a third DWI conviction, larceny of over $500, and rape. The consequences of a felony conviction can be life-altering, and a Virginia Beach criminal defense attorney can help work with you to determine a strategy that is in your best interest.

  • Violent Crimes – The FBI defines violent crimes as those that use force or the threat of force. These would include such crimes as murder, assault, robbery, and rape.
  • Non-Violent Crimes – These would be crimes that do not involve the use of force or threat of force, such as vandalism or larceny.

How a Virginia Beach DUI Attorney Could Help

Laws against drinking and driving have gotten increasingly harsh in Virginia in the last few decades, and enforcement of these laws is a priority in Virginia Beach. Increased public awareness and various programs and organizations that are dedicated to eliminating drunk driving accidents and fatalities have ratcheted up much of the pressure on law enforcement. While this has resulted in the number of drunk driving-related deaths, it has also resulted in cases in which overly harsh penalties have been levied.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you might need to retain a well-qualified criminal defense attorney who has experience with not only drunk driving offenses, but also the Virginia Beach region. An experienced, local lawyer might increase your chances of avoiding becoming a statistic in the trend toward harsher penalties. A legal professional could also discuss some options in potentially mitigating negative ramifications following a DUI charge, as well as:

Drunk Driving Laws

The state has established that anyone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more may be found guilty of driving under the influence. However, being merely under the influence of drugs or medications can also lead to charges, regardless of the reported BAC level. Actual “driving” is not required for a motorist to cited, and found guilty, of certain DUI-related offenses. Virginia law defines “operation” very broadly and, as a result, simply sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle can result in an intoxicated driving charge.

A Virginia Beach DUI lawyer could go over the aspects of your case and how the law may apply. They will provide advice on how to interact with the police to make sure you do not incriminate yourself. The severity of the penalty depends on a number of factors, including:

  • BAC at the time of arrest – there are increased penalties for a BAC of over 0.15 percent and over .20 percent
  • Presence of a minor under the age of 17 in the car
  • If there was any property damage, injury, or loss of life related to the drinking and driving
  • The number of prior offenses, if any

DUI Penalties

Depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense, sentences can range from fines and a few days in jail to prison time. Some examples of the types of DUI punishment given in Virginia include:

Some of these DUI penalties are more common than others, and in certain circumstances, there are statutory penalties required by law. For example, under recent changes to the law, even first-time offenders are now required to have an interlock device installed in their car, at their own expense, if they request a restricted operator’s license. These costs may be substantial for some, with installation expenses and monthly rental fees.

This would be on top of any other fines set forth by the court. Fortunately, a dedicated DUI and criminal defense attorney in Virginia Beach could help. Additionally, if this is not a person’s first offense, then they might be facing a felony and should consult with a a lawyer who is familiar with these charges as soon as possible.

Other Practice Areas in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach Crime Statistics

According to the Virginia State Police Department and the FBI, crime rates for the Virginia Beach area have steadily declined over the last ten years, but that does not mean that law enforcement, and the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys, are not focusing on the issue. In 2013, there were just under 12,000 crimes reported in the city. This is quite a difference compared to the number of reported crimes in 2004, which were estimated at about 14,700.

The majority of the crimes are considered non-violent crimes, such as larceny or burglary. There were also cases as severe as murder, rape, and assault. Of these reported crimes, 75 percent of the violent crimes and 28 percent of non-violent crimes resulted in ended with someone being charged. You can read more about the Virginia Beach crime statistics here.

Call a Virginia Beach Criminal Defense and DUI Attorney for Assistance

Facing criminal charges of any kind can be an overwhelming and frightening experience. Often, a person will feel pressured to act quickly and try to defend themselves, even when it is not in their best interest.

Therefore, if you were charged with a criminal offense, a Virginia Beach criminal defense and DUI lawyer might be able to help. By having a legal professional on your side, you could rest assured that an attorney is working tirelessly to build you a defense.