Once a person has been charged with a criminal offense he/she faces numerous life-altering legal consequences if he/she is convicted. State laws are very harsh, and criminal convictions can result in serious penalties such as jail time, fines, probation, community service, and court-ordered treatment. These penalties can be enhanced or prolonged if the person has prior criminal offenses or if the person committed a felony. With the legal penalties being so severe, it is important that people who are facing criminal charges speak with a reputable criminal defense attorney.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney
When a person is facing a criminal conviction in any state, it is usually in his/her best interest to obtain the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney. By hiring a criminal defense attorney, a person ensures that his/her rights will remain protected and that he/she receives knowledgeable legal counsel. A criminal defense attorney can inform a person of his/her legal options, negotiate charges and sentences with leading prosecutors, and challenge evidence presented in court.
- Alcohol-related Crimes
- Assault and Battery
- Concealed Weapon Offenses
- Child Abuse
- Domestic Violence
- Drug-related Crimes
- -Drug Possession
- -Drug Smuggling
- -Drug Trafficking
- Felony Firearm
- Firearm Possession
- Hate Crimes
- Motor Vehicle & Traffic Crimes
- -Hit and Run
- -Suspended or Revoked License
- -Vehicular Manslaughter
- Property Crimes
- Receiving & Concealing Stolen Property
- -Identity Theft
- -Grand Theft
- -Petty Theft
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and Drugs: When operating a motor vehicle, boat or watercraft in Virginia, you are legally considered driving or operating under the influence (DUI) if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher. You may be considered under the influence with a lower BAC if your ability to operate a motor vehicle, boat or water craft is impaired. If your driving is affected because you are under the influence of any drug, you may face the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle crash and a law enforcement officer has probable cause, you can be arrested for DUI within three hours of the crash without a warrant and at any location.
If you are arrested for DUI a third or subsequent time within a five-year period, you will not be granted bail while you wait to go to trial.
All DUI laws apply to mopeds operated on public highways.
Open Container: You may be charged with drinking while operating a motor vehicle if you are stopped by law enforcement and you have an open container of alcohol in the passenger area, the contents of which have been partially removed, and you exhibit signs that you have been drinking. The passenger area refers to the area designed to seat the driver and passengers and any area within the driver’s reach, including an unlocked glove compartment.
License Suspension (ALS): For a first DUI offense and/or breath test refusal, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for seven days if your BAC is 0.08 percent or higher. For a second DUI offense and/or breath test refusal, your license will be automatically suspended for 60 days or until you go to trial, whichever comes first. For a third DUI offense and/or breath test refusal, your license will be automatically suspended until you go to trial. Conviction of a DUI offense will result in suspension of your driver’s license and other penalties in addition to the administrative suspension.
Breath Test Refusal: By operating a vehicle on Virginia highways, you have consented to a breath or blood test upon arrest for DUI. If you unreasonably refuse a breath or blood test, Virginia law requires the court to suspend your driver’s license for one year. A second breath or blood test refusal shall result in a three-year suspension. A second breath test refusal is also a Class 1 misdemeanor.
If you are also convicted of DUI, the DUI driver’s license revocation period will run consecutively with the breath or blood test refusal revocation. You are not eligible for a restricted driver’s license during the suspension for a breath or blood test refusal.
Conviction for DUI first offense
Mandatory, minimum $250 fine
Driver’s license revocation for one year
Conviction for DUI second offense
Mandatory, minimum $500 fine
Driver’s license revocation for three years
Possible jail term up to one year
Conviction for DUI second offense within ten years of prior offense carries the following additional penalty
Mandatory, minimum ten-day jail term.
Conviction for DUI second offense within five years of prior offense carries the following additional penalty
Mandatory, minimum 20-day jail term
Three DUI convictions within a ten-year period
Mandatory, indefinite driver’s license revocation
If your driving privilege is revoked for a first or second DUI offense conviction and you receive another DUI, the license revocation period will run consecutively with the existing revocation period.
Conviction for DUI third offense or DWI felony
Mandatory, minimum $1,000 fine
Mandatory indefinite driver’s license revocation
Prosecution as a Class 6 felony
Conviction for DUI third offense within five years carries the following additional penalty
Mandatory, minimum six-month jail term
Conviction for DUI third offense within ten years carries the following additional penalty
Mandatory, minimum 90-day jail term
Permanent forfeiture of your vehicle (if you are the sole owner)
Conviction for DUI fourth or subsequent offense
Mandatory, minimum one-year jail term
BAC of 0.15% and not higher than 0.20% at the time of arrest
First offense carries a mandatory, minimum five-day jail term in addition to all other penalties
Second offense within ten years carries a mandatory, minimum ten-day jail term in addition to all other penalties
BAC of 0.20% or higher at the time of arrest
First offense carries a mandatory, minimum ten-day jail term in addition to all other penalties
Second offense within ten years carries a mandatory, minimum 20-day jail term in addition to all other penalties
Driving on a Suspended License: A third conviction within ten years for driving on a license suspended because of a DUI-related offense is a class 6 felony and carries a mandatory term of one to five years or a fine of $2,500 or both.
Criminal Record: Any DUI offense will be reported to the Central Criminal Records Exchange by law enforcement at the time of your arrest. In other words, you could end up with a criminal record because of a DUI arrest.
Zero Tolerance: If you are under age 21, you cannot purchase, possess or consume alcohol.
If law enforcement stops you while driving after illegal consumption of alcohol, you are subject to administrative license suspension (ALS). If you are convicted of driving after illegally consuming alcohol and were found to have a BAC of 0.02 and less than 0.08, the court penalty will include a suspension of your driving privilege for one year from the date of conviction, and a minimum mandatory fine of $500, or the requirement that you complete at least 50 hours of community service.
Regardless of age, if driving on a DUI suspended or restricted license, you may be charged with DUI if you drive with a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher.
Equal Penalties for Under Age 21: Persons under age 21 who drive while under the influence of drugs or with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher are subject to the same penalties as persons age 21 or older.
Transporting Children While Under the Influence: Conviction of any DUI offense involving a juvenile passenger (age 17 or younger) in the vehicle at the time of the offense carries an additional mandatory five-day jail term in addition to all other fines and jail sentences. You may also be assessed an additional fine of at least $500 and up to $1,000. A second DUI offense with a juvenile (age 17 or younger) in the vehicle carries an additional 80-hour community service requirement in addition to all other fines and jail sentences.
Ignition Interlock Device: If you are convicted of a DUI first offense, the court will require that you have an ignition interlock device installed on at least one vehicle and any vehicles you operate as a condition of restricted driving privileges.
If the court does not require ignition interlock, DMV will require you to have an ignition interlock device installed on at least one vehicle and any vehicles you operate as a condition of restricted driving privileges.
If you are convicted of the following:
Convicted of a DUI second offense within ten years, or
Convicted of a DUI third or subsequent offense within ten years
the court will require that you have an ignition interlock device installed on every vehicle you own, co-own or operate as a condition of restricted driving privileges or full restoration of driving privileges:
In the following cases:
Convicted of a DUI second offense within ten years, or
Convicted of a DUI third or subsequent offense within ten years, or
Convicted of three separate DUI offenses within ten years
DMV will require you to have an ignition interlock device installed as a condition of restricted driving privileges or full restoration of driving privileges, even if the court does not require it.
Convictions for a first offense violation of the ignition interlock restriction or other restricted license provisions will result in a DMV revocation of your driving privilege for one year. Two or more convictions of violating restricted privileges will result in a three-year revocation. Restricted privileges will not be available during these revocation periods.
Persons convicted of a DUI in a U. S. District Court are able to petition for restrictions in a General District Court in their residential jurisdictions. They are also subject to the above requirements.
Alcohol Education Program: If you are convicted of DUI, you must report to an Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) in your area for screening and probationary oversight to have your license reinstated. This process will determine the intervention services that are most appropriate. At your own expense, you may be assigned to an education program and/or referred to treatment. You will spend a minimum of 20 hours during a 10- week period in ASAP classes if you are assigned to education. Those convicted of a first offense will be on probation for a year. For a second or subsequent offense, three years probation is required. If ignition interlock is required, Virginia ASAP will monitor your compliance with the court’s requirements.
Vehicle Impoundment: The vehicle you are driving will be immediately impounded or immobilized for 90 days if you are caught driving after your license has been suspended for an alcohol-related offense. The court can impound the vehicle for an additional 90 days following conviction. The owner of the vehicle impounded (other than the driver) may petition the court for release of the vehicle. Anyone who knowingly permits operation of their motor vehicle by a person known to have a revoked or suspended license for an alcohol-related offense can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Restitution: Depending on local ordinances, you may be liable (for up to $1,000) for the cost of law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire fighting and rescue personnel who respond to a crash or incident resulting from your DUI violation.
Penalties for Providing Alcoholic Beverages to Persons Under Age 21: If you provide or sell alcoholic beverages to a person under age 21, intoxicated or ordered by a court to refrain from consuming alcohol, you are subject to a fine up to $2,500, 12 months in jail and mandatory suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year. These same penalties apply if you assist someone under age 21 in obtaining or purchasing alcohol.
Penalties for Persons Under Age 21 Purchasing, Possessing or Consuming Alcohol: If you’re under age 21 and you purchase, possess and/or consume alcohol, you face a fine ranging from $500 to $2,500, up to 12 months in jail and mandatory suspension of your driver’s license for at least six months but not more than one year.
Penalties for Possessing Alcohol Beverages at Public Schools: Drinking or possessing alcoholic beverages on public school grounds can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail regardless of your age.
Misrepresentation of Age: If you are under age 21 and you use or attempt to use an altered, fictitious or simulated document or student ID to establish a false age in an attempt to consume or purchase alcoholic beverages, you will:
be fined at least $500 or, be required to perform at least 50 hours of community service
face up to 12 months in jail and,
face mandatory suspension of your drivers’s license for at least six months but not more than one year.
Boating and Hunting Under the Influence: It’s unlawful to operate a boat or watercraft while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. It is also unlawful to hunt wildlife using a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc.
Assault: An unlawful physical attack or threat of attack. Assaults may be classified as aggravated or simple. Rape, attempted rape, and sexual assaults are excluded from this category, as well as robbery and attempted robbery. The severity of assaults ranges from minor threats to nearly fatal incidents.
A. Simple Assault: Attack without a weapon resulting either in no injury, minor injury (e.g., bruises, black eyes, cuts, scratches, or swelling), or an undetermined injury requiring fewer than two days of hospitalization. Also includes attempted assault without a weapon.
With minor injury – An attack without a weapon resulting in injuries such as bruises, black eyes, cuts, or an undetermined injury requiring fewer than two days of hospitalization.
Without injury – An attempted assault without a weapon but not resulting in injury.
B. Aggravated Assault: An attack or attempted attack with a weapon, regardless of whether an injury occurred, and an attack without a weapon when serious injury results.
With injury – An attack without a weapon when serious injury results or an attack with a weapon involving any injury. Serious injury includes broken bones, lost teeth, internal injuries, loss of consciousness, and any unspecified injury requiring two or more days of hospitalization.
Threatened with a weapon – Threat or attempted attack by an offender armed with a gun, knife, or other object used as a weapon that does not result in victim injury.
C. Crimes of Violence: Rape, sexual assault, personal robbery, or assault. This category includes both attempted and completed crimes. It does not include purse snatching and pocket picking. Murder is not measured by the National Crime Victimization Survey because of an inability to question the victim.
Completed violence – The sum of all completed rapes, sexual assaults, robberies, and assaults. See individual crime types for definitions of completed crimes.
Attempted/threatened violence – The unsuccessful attempt of rape, sexual assault, personal robbery, or assault. Includes attempted attacks or sexual assaults by means of verbal threats. See individual crime types for definitions of attempted crimes.
Threats to injure or accuse of crime.
(1) Whoever, either verbally or by any written or printed communication, maliciously threatens to accuse or accuses another of any crime or offense, or threatens or commits any injury to the person, property, business, profession, calling or trade, or the profits and income of any business, profession, calling or trade of another, with intent thereby to extort money or any pecuniary advantage whatever, or with intent to compel the person so threatened to do any act against the person’s will or omit to do any lawful act, is guilty of a Class H felony.
Threats to communicate derogatory information. Whoever maliciously threatens, with intent to extort money or any pecuniary advantage whatever, or with intent to compel the person so threatened to do any act against the person’s will, to disseminate or to communicate to anyone information, whether true or false, that would humiliate or injure the reputation of the threatened person or another is guilty of a Class I felony. For the purpose of this section, “information” includes any photograph, exposed film, motion picture, videotape, or data that represents a visual image, a sound recording, or any data that represents or produces an audio signal.
Section 201 of Title 18 is entitled “Bribery of public officials and witnesses.” The statute comprises two distinct offenses, however, and in common parlance only the first of these is true “bribery.”
The first offense, codified in section 201(b), prohibits the giving or accepting of anything of value to or by a public official, if the thing is given “with intent to influence” an official act, or if it is received by the official “in return for being influenced.”
The second offense, codified in section 201(c), concerns what are commonly known as “gratuities,” although that word does not appear anywhere in the statute. Section 201(c) prohibits that same public official from accepting the same thing of value, if he does so “for or because of” any official act, and prohibits anyone from giving any such thing to him for such a reason.
The specific subsections of the statute are:
a. § 201(b)(1): offering a bribe to a public official
b. § 201(b)(2): acceptance of a bribe by a public official
a. § 201(c)(1)(A): offering a gratuity to a public official
b. § 201(c)(1)(B): acceptance of a gratuity by a public official.
The two offenses differ in several respects. The most important of these differences concerns how close a connection there is between the giving (or receiving) of the thing of value, on the one hand, and the doing of the official act, on the other. If the connection is causally direct – if money was given essentially to purchase or ensure an official act, as a “quid pro quo” then the crime is bribery. If the connection is looser – if money was given after the fact, as “thanks” for an act but not in exchange for it, or if it was given with a nonspecific intent to “curry favor” with the public official to whom it was given -then it is a gratuity.
The distinction is sometimes hard to see, but the statute makes it critical: a § 201(b) “bribe” conviction is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, while a § 201(c) “gratuity” conviction permits only a maximum 2-year sentence. In addition, with a “bribe” the payment may go to anyone or to anything and may include campaign contributions, while with a “gratuity” the payment must inure to the personal benefit of the public official and cannot include campaign contributions.
A. Any person who commits carjacking, as herein defined, shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for life or a term not less than fifteen years.
B. As used in this section, “carjacking” means the intentional seizure or seizure of control of a motor vehicle of another with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive another in possession or control of the vehicle of that possession or control by means of partial strangulation, or suffocation, or by striking or beating, or by other violence to the person, or by assault or otherwise putting a person in fear of serious bodily harm, or by the threat or presenting of firearms, or other deadly weapon or instrumentality whatsoever. “Motor vehicle” shall have the same meaning as set forth in § 46.2-100.
C. The provisions of this section shall not preclude the applicability of any other provision of the criminal law of the Commonwealth which may apply to any course of conduct which violates this section.
Child Abuse & Neglect
Federal legislation provides guidance to States by identifying a minimum set of acts or behaviors that define child abuse and neglect. The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g), as amended by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum:
* “Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation”; or
* “An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”
This definition of child abuse and neglect refers specifically to parents and other caregivers. A “child” under this definition generally means a person who is younger than age 18 or who is not an emancipated minor.
While CAPTA provides definitions for sexual abuse and the special cases of neglect related to withholding or failing to provide medically indicated treatment, it does not provide specific definitions for other types of maltreatment such as physical abuse, neglect, or emotional abuse. While Federal legislation sets minimum standards for States that accept CAPTA funding, each State provides its own definitions of maltreatment within civil and criminal statutes.
Concealed Weapon Offenses
§ 18.2-308. Carrying concealed weapons; exceptions; penalty.
A. If any person carries about his person, hidden from common observation, (i) any pistol, revolver, or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind by action of an explosion of any combustible material; (ii) any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, machete, razor, slingshot, spring stick, metal knucks, or blackjack; (iii) any flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain; (iv) any disc, of whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart; or (v) any weapon of like kind as those enumerated in this subsection, he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
A second violation of this section or a conviction under this section subsequent to any conviction under any substantially similar ordinance of any county, city, or town shall be punishable as a Class 6 felony, and a third or subsequent such violation shall be punishable as a Class 5 felony. For the purpose of this section, a weapon shall be deemed to be hidden from common observation when it is observable but is of such deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapon’s true nature. It shall be an affirmative defense to a violation of clause (i) regarding a handgun, that a person had been issued, at the time of the offense, a valid concealed handgun permit.
B. This section shall not apply to any person while in his own place of abode or the curtilage thereof.
C. Except as provided in subsection A of § 18.2-308.012, this section shall not apply to:
- 1. Any person while in his own place of business;
- 2. Any law-enforcement officer, or retired law-enforcement officer pursuant to § 18.2-308.016, wherever such law-enforcement officer may travel in the Commonwealth;
- 3. Any person who is at, or going to or from, an established shooting range, provided that the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported;
- 4. Any regularly enrolled member of a weapons collecting organization who is at, or going to or from, a bona fide weapons exhibition, provided that the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported;
- 5. Any person carrying such weapons between his place of abode and a place of purchase or repair, provided the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported;
- 6. Any person actually engaged in lawful hunting, as authorized by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries, under inclement weather conditions necessitating temporary protection of his firearm from those conditions, provided that possession of a handgun while engaged in lawful hunting shall not be construed as hunting with a handgun if the person hunting is carrying a valid concealed handgun permit;
- 7. Any attorney for the Commonwealth or assistant attorney for the Commonwealth, wherever such attorney may travel in the Commonwealth;
- 8. Any person who may lawfully possess a firearm and is carrying a handgun while in a personal, private motor vehicle or vessel and such handgun is secured in a container or compartment in the vehicle or vessel;
- 9. Any enrolled participant of a firearms training course who is at, or going to or from, a training location, provided that the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported; and
- 10. Any judge or justice of the Commonwealth, wherever such judge or justice may travel in the Commonwealth.
D. This section shall also not apply to any of the following individuals while in the discharge of their official duties, or while in transit to or from such duties:
- 1. Carriers of the United States mail;
- 2. Officers or guards of any state correctional institution;
- 3. Conservators of the peace, except that a judge or justice of the Commonwealth, an attorney for the Commonwealth, or an assistant attorney for the Commonwealth may carry a concealed handgun pursuant to subdivisions C 7 and 10. However, the following conservators of the peace shall not be permitted to carry a concealed handgun without obtaining a permit as provided in this article: (i) notaries public; (ii) registrars; (iii) drivers, operators, or other persons in charge of any motor vehicle carrier of passengers for hire; or (iv) commissioners in chancery;
- 4. Noncustodial employees of the Department of Corrections designated to carry weapons by the Director of the Department of Corrections pursuant to § 53.1-29; and
- 5. Harbormaster of the City of Hopewell.
We define domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.
Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.
Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.
Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include – but are not limited to – causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.
Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life – therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and abusers.
A reference to acts of physical and psychological violence, including harassing or intimidating behavior, that occur as part of personal relationships. Included in the concept of domestic violence are spousal abuse, abuse among intimates, as well as sexual and physical abuse of children, elderly, or the infirm.
Refers to a single victim or household that experienced a criminal incident believed by the victim to be motivated by prejudice based on race, gender or gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.
Forced sexual intercourse including both psychological coercion and physical force. Forced sexual intercourse means vaginal, anal, or oral penetration by the offender(s). This category also includes incidents where the penetration is from a foreign object, such as a bottle. Includes attempted rape, male and female victims, and both heterosexual and same sex rape. Attempted rape includes verbal threats of rape.
Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.
A malicious course of conduct that includes approaching or pursuing another person with intent to place that person in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or death to him/herself or to a third party.