Suffolk Criminal Lawyer
When police show up at your door to question you or arrest you, it is time to call a Suffolk criminal lawyer. You have a legal right to due process and there are many protections in the criminal justice system to ensure you get a fair trial. Navigating the criminal justice system and enforcing your rights can be a challenge. A Suffolk criminal lawyer knows the laws that protect you and can work hard to help you make smart choices when you deal with criminal charges that could seriously impact your future.
How a Suffolk Criminal Lawyer Can Help
A Suffolk criminal lawyer is there for you at every step, from investigation to appeal. Your attorney can help you to explore defense options appropriate to your crime including:
- Actual innocence
- Mistaken identity
- Insufficient evidence
- Consent or cooperation of the victim for certain sex offenses
- Rightful claim to the property for certain property crimes
- Lack of intent for offenses that require a willful and purposeful choice to commit the offense
Your response to the charges you face must be tailored to the evidence against you, your justifications for your alleged actions, and your willingness to go to court. Talk to a Suffolk criminal lawyer for help.
Criminal Cases in Suffolk, VA
After you are arrested, you must be arraigned. You will come before a judge and enter a formal plea of guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity. A Suffolk criminal lawyer can discuss the different options with you, as well as the potential risks of pleading guilty or not guilty.
At arraignment, you have the opportunity to argue for bail. A Suffolk criminal lawyer will work hard to get you released on bond so you can be free at your home pending trial. Your attorney will make all necessary pre-trial motions in the days and weeks leading up to your case and will conduct a detailed investigation of evidence the prosecutor plans to use against you.
As you wait for trial to begin, your attorney can sometimes negotiate a deal with the prosecutor in order to avoid moving forward. A good plea deal will involve reduced penalties, or even lesser charges, if you admit you were guilty of the offense.
Your attorney may also be able to arrange a deferred prosecution agreement, which is essentially a pre-trial diversion program. Guidelines will be established that you must fulfill and if you complete them, the prosecution won’t move forward and you’ll have no criminal record.
Going to Trial
If your case goes to trial, your Suffolk criminal lawyer will work hard to help you avoid conviction. This does not always mean proving innocence- if you can introduce doubt about whether you committed the offense you have been accused of, you should be able to get a not guilty verdict.
Criminal Laws in Suffolk, VA
Title 18.2 of the Virginia Code establishes a comprehensive list of actions that will lead to criminal charges. You are expected to know and follow the law, and ignorance of the law is usually no defense. If a prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed a crime, you will be found guilty and face consequences.
Different types of offenses are broken up into different categories in the Virginia Code including:
Police and prosecutors must tell you what you are being charged with when you are arrested and arraigned. A Suffolk criminal lawyer will review the charges against you, identify what a prosecutor must prove for each offense, and help you to decide how best to respond.
Penalties for Criminal Offenses in Suffolk, VA
Penalties vary based on each particular offense that you are charged with. Virginia Code Section 19.2-298.01 establishes a requirement that Circuit Court judges refer to voluntary Virginia sentencing guidelines when deciding what penalties you should face. These guidelines list suggested penalties based on the nature of the offense as well as based on whether you have a criminal history.
You can expect to face more serious penalties for offenses considered violent, such as rape, homicide, and aggravated assault. Repeat offenses can also result in more serious penalties.
Offenses are broadly grouped into felonies and misdemeanors in Virginia, with Code Section 18.2-10 establishing the punishment for conviction of a felony and Code Section 18.2-11 establishing the punishments for conviction of a misdemeanor. Felonies can lead to anywhere from one year in prison to life in prison, while misdemeanor penalties range from a $250 fine to up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
A Suffolk criminal lawyer will work hard to try to help you limit penalties and avoid being left with a permanent criminal record.