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Criminal Law

Virginia Criminal Law

The attorneys at Carroll & Nuttall, P.C. approaches each case with the focus of a prosecutor and defense attorney, because both John and Ed served in the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office of Fairfax County. Our attorneys uses the skills gained as prosecutors to zealously defend their clients in state and federal courts.

Virginia Criminal Procedure

Criminal Charges in Virginia

Felony—If you are arrested on a felony warrant in Virginia, you have a statutory right to a preliminary hearing. If you have been indicted for a felony in Virginia, then you will proceed to trial in the circuit court.

Felonies in Virginia come in six (6) separate classes. The class represents the range of punishment. If you review the warrant, it will tell you what class felony you are facing.

You can see the corresponding punishments below:

  • Class 1—death, life in the penitentiary and/or a fine of not more than $100,000
  • Class 2—20 years in the penitentiary, fine of not more than $100,000
  • Class 3—5-20 years in the penitentiary, fine of not more than $100,000
  • Class 4—2-10 years in the penitentiary, fine of not more than $100,000
  • Class 5—1-10 years in the penitentiary, or jail up to 12 months and/or $2,500 fine
  • Class 6 – 1-5 years in the penitentiary, or jail up to 12 months and/or $2000 fine

* Note: The classification does not apply to juveniles brought to trial in juvenile court.

These are some of the felony charges that Carroll & Nuttall, P.C. clients have faced in the courts of Virginia:

  • Felony Assault-Malicious and Unlawful Wounding
  • Burglary
  • Computer Crimes, including child pornography and financial crimes
  • Distribution of Drugs, Schedules I and II
  • Distribution of Marijuana
  • Hit and Run
  • Homicide—Murder in the 1st Degree/2nd Degree
  • Manslaughter
  • Parole and Probation Revocations
  • Larceny and Embezzlement
  • DWI, 3rd or Subsequent
  • Rape

Choosing Your Lawyer

Make sure the lawyer you choose has handled these types of cases. Our attorneys have represented individuals in all of the types of cases listed above. Please contact us so we can discuss what we can do for you on the felony charge(s) you are facing.

Misdemeanors in Virginia

If you are charged with a misdemeanor in Virginia, you will be given a trial date. If the misdemeanor charge carries a possibility of jail time, then you have a right to have a lawyer. The court can appoint a lawyer for you, but you cannot choose that person. Misdemeanors in Virginia are divided into four (4) classes:

  • Class 1—up to 12 months in jail; $2,500 fine
  • Class 2—up to 6 months in jail; $1,000 fine
  • Class 3—$500 fine
  • Class 4—$250 fine

These are some of the misdemeanor charges that Carroll & Nuttall, P.C. clients have faced in the courts of Virginia:

  • Assault & Battery
  • Unlawful Entry
  • Distribution & Possession of Marijuana
  • Hit and Run
  • Trespassing
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Obstruction of Justice
  • DWI, 1st & 2nd Offenses
  • Computer Trespass
  • All types of traffic offenses including reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, and speeding

Choosing Your Lawyer

Make sure the lawyer you choose has handled these types of cases. Our attroneys have represented individuals in all of the cases listed above. Please contact us at 703-273-7007 to set up a time to discuss your case.

Juvenile Offenses in Virginia

If your child is charged with a crime or a traffic offense, and he or she is under 18 years of age at the time of the alleged offense, then he/she will appear in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court. The juvenile can be charged with a summons or through the use of a petition.

Summons—On certain traffic and criminal charges, the police can release you with a promise to appear on a certain date and time. There is no need to appear before a judicial officer and it does not involve an arrest.

Petition—On more serious charges, the police will appear at the juvenile intake office and obtain a petition after swearing under oath to facts that amount to probable cause a violation of law has occurred. The petition is used in serious misdemeanor cases and felonies. Depending on the seriousness of the allegations and the alleged charge(s) the intake officer can issue a Detention Order for your child to be taken into custody. Whether receiving a summons or being served with a petition, it is best to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible.

Don’t Let Your Child Learn a Lesson the Hard Way

It is a common misconception that nothing will happen to your child in juvenile court. Many juvenile offenders are sentenced to detention and convicted for crimes that they may be eligible to have dismissed pursuant to the Virginia Code. Without experienced legal representation, your child could end up with a record of conviction. Many of our clients call even if they are not sure if the need a lawyer.

Please contact us immediately for a free half-hour consultation and we will set up an appointment to discuss your child’s case to see if he or she needs representation.

The juvenile offender in Virginia is provided a wide array of services to identify and correct the problem before they become adult offenders. However, a charge is not a conviction. The government must prove all the elements of each and every case before any finding of guilt can be entered. We will fight vigorously to keep your child from a conviction that will appear on his or her record, and worse, take away his or her liberties.

These are some of the charges that Carroll & Nuttall, P.C. clients have faced in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Courts of Virginia:

  • Assault and Battery
  • Burglary
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Trespassing
  • Destruction of Property
  • Illegal Possession of Alcohol
  • Operating after Illegally Consuming Alcohol
  • Driving while Intoxicated
  • Possession of Marijuana
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute
  • Reckless Driving
  • Rape
  • Malicious Wounding
  • Hit and Run
  • Unlawful Wounding

DUI in Virginia/Reckless Driving in Virginia

Virginia’s DUI laws are some of the toughest in the nation. It is important to have an experienced advocate help you through the trial process.

Between the legislative session in 2003 and the legislative session of 2004, the Virginia General Assembly raised the stakes for those charged with a DUI. In 2003, an individual convicted of DUI in the Commonwealth of Virginia would have to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .20 before a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days would be imposed. In 2004, an individual convicted of DUI with a BAC of .15 must serve a mandatory minimum five-day jail sentence. That same individual with a .21 BAC must serve a mandatory minimum ten-day jail sentence. In every legislative session since, the DUI laws and procedures have been changed to make it tougher on those charged. In addition, tougher laws are accompanied by tougher enforcement. If you find yourself charged with a DUI, contact a lawyer with experience. Contact Carroll & Carroll, P.C. and ask for a free consultation about the trial options available to you.

Anatomy of a DUI Trial

Four challenges that are available in every DUI trial are:

  1. Stop—The government must have a reasonable articulable suspicion to stop your vehicle. If the court says no, then your case is thrown out.
  2. Probable Cause to Arrest—The judge, as objective fact-finder, must be satisfied that prior to arrest, the evidence (driving behavior, admissions, field tests, etc.) indicate it’s more probable than not the accused has driven or operated while intoxicated.
  3. Blood Alcohol Analysis Admissibility—Depending on whether a breath or blood sample was taken, Carroll & Nuttall, P.C. can present arguments to the judge to render the BAC inadmissible.
  4. Reasonable Doubt—At the end of the government’s case and the defense’s case, the judge has to be satisfied that the evidence is beyond a reasonable doubt.

To take advantage of the potential issues in the case, you need to select a lawyer that goes to trial and is experienced in trial work. Please contact us for a free consultation at 703-273-7007.

Reckless Driving in Virginia

DUI and reckless driving are often connected, but in many instances have nothing to do with each other. Many times reckless driving is the charge that a DUI can be reduced to by agreement between the government and your lawyer.

Reckless driving can be charged for someone that an officer believes is driving in a manner which endangers life, limb or property (Va. Code Section 46.2-852).

Reckless driving can be charged for someone in all of these situations:

  • Faulty brakes—Va. Code § 46.2-853
  • Passing on crest of a grade or curve—Va. Code § 46.2-854
  • Driving with view obstructed—Va. Code § 46.2-855
  • Passing two vehicles abreast—Va. Code § 46.2-856
  • Driving two abreast in a single lane—Va. Code § 46.2-857
  • Passing at a railroad crossing—Va. Code § 46.2-858
  • Passing a stopped school bus—Va. Code § 46.2-859
  • Fail to give proper signal—Va. Code § 46.2-860
  • Driving too fast for conditions—Va. Code § 46.2-861
  • Reckless driving in parking lot—Va. Code § 46.2-864

The connection between all of these offenses is that they constitute reckless driving, which means they carry a maximum jail sentence of up to 12 months and a maximum license loss of six months. A conviction for reckless driving is a six-demerit-point offense with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

If you find yourself charged with DUI or reckless driving in Virginia, contact Carroll & Nuttall, P.C. to talk with an experienced lawyer.

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  • Fairfax Office
    10521 Judicial Drive
    Suite 110
    Fairfax, Virginia 22030
    Phone: 703-273-7007
    Fax: 703-273-7207