Prince William County Criminal Lawyer

When you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, the road ahead is likely to be confusing and intimidating. Choosing a path forward and making the decisions that are best for you can be difficult when you lack familiarity with the situation.

A Prince William County criminal lawyer may be able to ease your concerns and help you achieve a better outcome in your case. Consulting a skilled criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible following an arrest is the quickest way to understand the charges against you. This also may be the most efficient way to get answers to your important questions.

Classifying Criminal Offenses

Crimes fall into different general categories, with some variation between states. For example, some crimes generally qualify as crimes against people. These crimes usually involve some element of violence, threats, or harm to others, This may include assault and battery, attempted murder, sex crimes, and domestic violence.

Other crimes focus on taking or destroying property that belongs to others. These criminal offenses include larceny, burglary, arson, and trespassing. White collar crimes, such as fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering, also entail taking the property of others for personal financial gain.

Drug offenses comprise a large portion of crimes charged in many jurisdictions. There are both federal and state drug laws, but these offenses range widely to those involving possession of small amounts of marijuana to the large-scale distribution of methamphetamines.

Depending on the schedule of the controlled substance and its quantity, a criminal attorney in Prince William County may know that the potential penalties for a conviction on a drug offense can be severe.

Misdemeanor Criminal Offenses

Crimes categorized as misdemeanors typically can result in a maximum jail sentence of one year and fines. Some common offenses that are misdemeanors include:

  • Unlawful firearm possession
  • Possession of marijuana
  • First-time DWI
  • Assault

Although the penalties for these offenses may not always require a jail sentence, they still can have unanticipated collateral consequences. For example, although a first-time DWI is a misdemeanor, a conviction is likely to result in the loss of driving privileges, increased motor vehicle insurance rates, and license reinstatement fees. Seeking the advice of a Prince William County lawyer may be beneficial to anyone who is facing criminal charges.

Felony Criminal Offenses

Felony offenses generally are more dangerous than misdemeanors and therefore are likely to result in harsher punishments. Sentences of incarceration can range from one year in jail to life in prison, along with thousands of dollars in fines. Common felony charges may include:

  • Murder and manslaughter
  • Robbery and burglary
  • Manufacture or distribution of Schedule I controlled substances
  • Rape

The penalties for a felony conviction can go far beyond those that the criminal justice system prescribes. Individuals with felony convictions lose certain civil rights, such as the right to vote and possess firearms. Felony convictions also can cause a permanent stain on criminal records that will appear every time a new employer or landlord conducts a criminal background check.

Navigating the Criminal Justice System

From arrest to sentencing, there are rights and protections to which all individuals accused of crimes are entitled. The right to remain silent, the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, and the right to counsel in all criminal proceedings are constitutional rights that persons must be aware of and exercise at all steps of the process.

Without proper protections, individuals charged with crimes may not receive a fair trial. Having a robust legal advocate throughout these proceedings can make a substantial difference in the outcome of a criminal case.

Contact a Prince William County Criminal Attorney

A criminal charge can be devastating to many facets of your personal and professional life. The impact of a conviction may be life-altering and force you to give up dreams and plans. Consequently, it may be essential to consult with a Prince William County criminal lawyer before attempting to manage the charges on your own.

Legal representation by experienced defense counsel can be crucial to the desired outcome in your case. Failing to protect your rights by enlisting legal assistance can place you in a less advantageous position concerning your criminal charges.