Hampton Criminal Lawyer
For some people, the environment and circumstances of their lives seem to conspire against them, placing them on a path in which they seem almost destined for an arrest. Other people, through dramatically changed circumstance or a series of small, seemingly innocuous events, are shocked to find themselves under arrest. Regardless of the path that led to an arrest or criminal charge, every person is entitled to fair and effective criminal defense representation. A Hampton criminal lawyer is not here to judge, but to listen to his or her clients, and use every available resource to create a strong defense to vigorously protect the constitutional rights of the defendant.
Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Hampton General District Court, you deserve a Hampton criminal defense attorney who is willing and able to give your case the attention it requires. Any criminal conviction can have a profound impact on your life, whether you are facing only probation, a few months in jail, or decades in prison. Finding an experienced Hampton criminal lawyer who understands the consequences conviction can have on your personal and professional life is necessary to achieve a positive attorney-client relationship and a quality defense.
Virginia Misdemeanor Cases
In Virginia, as in many states, criminal offenses are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are considered lesser offenses than felonies, but conviction of even a misdemeanor can have a long-term impact.
Virginia misdemeanors are further categorized by class, ranging from a Class 4 misdemeanor, the least serious offense, to a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is the most serious of misdemeanor crimes. Maximum penalties for conviction of a misdemeanor are as follows:
- Class 4 misdemeanor – $250 fine
- Class 3 misdemeanor – $500 fine
- Class 2 misdemeanor – 6 months in jail; $1,000 fine
- Class 1 misdemeanor – 12 months in jail; $2,500 fine
The following offenses are frequently charged as misdemeanors in Virginia:
- Domestic violence
- Assault and battery
- Reckless driving
- Speeding Tickets
- Traffic Offenses
A number of crimes can be prosecuted as either misdemeanors or felonies depending upon certain variables of the crime, such as repeated offenses, the involvement of minors, the value of property involved, or the injury of the victim. A Hampton criminal lawyer can help explain what factors make certain crimes felonies rather than misdemeanors.
Felony Charges in Hampton, Virginia
As with misdemeanors, the Code of Virginia classifies felony offenses according to their perceived severity. Class 6 felonies are considered the least serious felony offenses, and Class 1 felonies are the most serious.
Penalties for each class of Virginia felony follow:
- Class 6 felony – 1 to 5 years in prison; $2,500 fine
- Class 5 felony – 1 to 10 years in prison; $2,500 fine
- Class 4 felony – 2 to 10 years in prison; $100,000 fine
- Class 3 felony – 5 to 20 years in prison; $100,000 fine
- Class 2 felony – 20 years to life; $100,000 fine
- Class 1 felony – Life in prison or death; $100,000 fine
Capital murder is the only Class 1 felony in Virginia. It includes acts of premeditated murder under special circumstances: murder-for-hire, murder committed during a kidnapping or rape, killing a law enforcement officer, mass murder, serial murder, and other acts of homicide defined in Virginia Code Section 18.2-3.
Other felonies prosecuted in Hampton General District Court include the following:
- First and second degree murder
- Malicious wounding
- Use of a firearm in the commission of a felony
- Rape, statutory rape, and forcible sodomy
- Aggravated sexual battery of a child under 13
- Indecent liberties with a child under 14
- Possession of Schedule I or II drugs
- Drug distribution or manufacture
Many misdemeanor crimes, including DWI, petit larceny, and shoplifting, become felonies upon a third or subsequent conviction.
A Hampton Criminal Lawyer Can Help
The Virginia State Police, as part of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system, publishes an annual report entitled “Crime in Virginia,” which details crime rates and statistics across the Commonwealth. According to the 2013 report, Hampton had a crime rate of more than 6,980 incidents per 100,000 people, with a total of 9,815 crimes reported in the city. These crimes included more than 2,000 assaults, 122 robberies, 10 forcible rapes, and 22 acts of murder and non-negligent manslaughter.
Regardless of the severity of the offense with which you are charged, an experienced Hampton criminal attorney can work diligently to craft a strong defense in an effort to bring your case to a successful resolution. That may mean a dismissal of charges, a plea agreement that allows probation or minimal sentencing, or an acquittal at trial.
While no attorney can ethically guarantee a dismissal or a not-guilty verdict, your Hampton criminal lawyer should be willing to communicate with you about the most effective strategies for your case and should offer sound legal counsel to guide you to the best possible outcome.
Schedule a risk-free consultation today to discuss your case.