Criminal Law Attorney – Virginia
Being arrested, charged with, or even investigated for a crime can be a terrifying ordeal. When faced with potential criminal liability, your liberty, livelihood, reputation, and even your relationships may be at stake. You will need to make some very important and timely decisions. At the outset, choosing the right legal representation is critical. Defense attorney John C. Clark, Esq., of Walker Jones, PC, serves clients in Fauquier County and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and handles a wide array of criminal law matters.
One of the most serious offenses in Virginia, the crime of murder is generally defined as the intentional cause of the death of someone with malice aforethought. Murder crimes in Virginia carry some of the harshest penalties in the Commonwealth. A person can be charged with murder even if the accused intended to kill someone other than the victim. Possible charges include:
- First-degree murder
- Second-degree murder
- Felony murder
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter
Assault and Battery
In Virginia, a person can be charged with assault as a result of a physical act intended to inflict bodily harm on the victim. Although threatening words do not usually meet the threshold of assault, they might if, for example, the accused threatened someone while walking towards them and had the ability to harm them.
An assault can also occur if a person commits an overt act with the intent of placing the victim in fear of bodily harm and it results in reasonable fear. Battery is defined as the harmful touching of a person and includes being touched by an object if it was set in motion by the accused. Examples of assault and battery offenses include hate crimes, domestic violation, and unlawful or malicious wounding.
Depending on the circumstances, a sexual assault and battery or prostitution can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony and may carry lengthy prison sentences. Solicitation of a minor and child pornography are felonies that carry punishments ranging from decades to life in prison, hefty fines, and sex offender registration continuing even after completing a prison sentence. Convicted sex offenders will have a permanent criminal record which, needless to say, can have long-lasting consequences.
Rape cases are often very complicated. Perpetrating rape involves having non-consensual sexual intercourse. Causing rape involves forcing the victim to have unconsented sex with another person. Both types of rape involve the use of force, threat, or intimidation, or taking advantage of the victim’s physical or mental disability. They can also include causing the victim to become physically helpless or mentally incapacitated such that consent cannot be given. Statutory rape involves any sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 13. A rape conviction in Virginia is punishable by a minimum of 5 years in prison to a life sentence. If certain extenuating circumstances exist, the minimum mandatory sentence is 20 years to life.
Drug Possession and Distribution
In recent years, Virginia has decriminalized the possession and cultivation of marijuana. Under the new laws, people 21 and older can now legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana, and if caught with more than an ounce but less than a pound, the penalty is a $25 fine. Adults caught with more than a pound of marijuana can be charged with a felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison plus a fine of up to $250,000. Sales of the drug remain illegal and continue to be aggressively prosecuted in Virginia, much like the possession of other controlled substances and the distribution, sale, or manufacture of other illegal drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and LSD. All charges involving drug distribution and possession with intent to distribute carry severe punishments. Subsequent charges of distribution or possession with intent to distribute can carry mandatory minimum sentences that result in exposure to decades of mandatory prison sentences.
DUI and DWI
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, or driving while intoxicated (DWI), is a very serious matter. For first-time offenders, these are misdemeanors punishable by a fine, driver’s license suspension, and a jail sentence depending on the person’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level. A conviction will also go on a person’s permanent criminal record. For repeat offenders, the consequences are more severe. Other types of offenses include underage DUI and boating while intoxicated. A person who causes an accident that resulted in injuries while intoxicated may be charged with DUI maiming. If someone was killed, the charge is DUI manslaughter.
Drivers should not underestimate the legal repercussions that come from being charged with a traffic infraction or crime. From the most serious offenses to minor infractions, traffic law encompasses a wide range of issues and comes with a host of penalties. Common traffic charges include:
- Reckless driving
- Probation violations
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license
Choose Walker Jones, PC
No matter the severity of the charge, if you have been arrested or accused of committing a crime, you need a Virginia Criminal Lawyer who can thoroughly investigate the case and develop the most effective defense strategy in order to achieve the best possible outcome. Defense Attorney John C. Clark, Esq. has extensive jury trial experience, having represented clients throughout Virginia in all types of criminal matters, from serious felonies to minor driving infractions—Contact John today to discuss your case.