Criminal Law FAQs
Loudoun County criminal defense attorney answers frequently asked questions
What is a criminal charge?
A criminal charge is any formal accusation that an individual has committed a crime. Criminal law typically covers crimes against the state, including those that are considered felonies and misdemeanors. When a person is charged with a crime, it must be proven that he or she is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to be convicted.
With what types of situations can a criminal defense attorney help?
For those facing criminal charges of any kind, a criminal lawyer can be a useful ally in proving innocence and/or achieving reduced charges. Not all attorneys who practice criminal law are fully equipped to defend clients charged with any type of crime. At Simms Showers, our attorneys have vast experience in the following types of cases:
- Reckless driving
- Drug charges
- Embezzlement and other white-collar crime
- Money laundering
- Murder and manslaughter
- Robbery and aggravated assaults
- Sex crimes
- Domestic violence, assault and battery
- Other serious felonies
Can I handle a criminal charge on my own?
If you have been charged as a criminal, representation by a lawyer is not legally required. An attorney who has an understanding of the criminal justice system and its players will help protect your rights during the process of dealing with your charge. Without an experienced and reliable professional at your side, you could make mistakes that end up jeopardizing your freedom and result in greater sanctions than you first anticipated.
One example that illustrates the importance of an attorney is talking to the police. If you have been arrested, it is your right to consult with an attorney and formulate a statement, regardless of the charge. Those who do not exercise their right to an attorney and choose to speak to the police may end up inadvertently admitting guilt or divulge incriminating information (even those who are innocent).
What will happen if I am arrested for a criminal charge?
If you are arrested for a crime, you will be searched by police for weapons. Next, you will be handcuffed, transported to jail and photographed and fingerprinted for identification. After this process (known as a booking), police may read you the Miranda warning and attempt to question you. You are not required to talk before or after Miranda is read to you. Instead, you should request and obtain a lawyer from a reputable criminal defense law firm as soon as possible to determine exactly how to proceed.
What are the typical penalties for common criminal convictions in Virginia?
For misdemeanor convictions, maximum penalties are as follows:
- Class 1 misdemeanors: Fine of no more than $2,500 and no more than 12 months of jail time
- Class 2 misdemeanors: Fine of up to $1,000 and no more than six months in jail
- Class 3 misdemeanors: Fine of up to $500
- Class 4 misdemeanors: Fine of up to $250
- Unclassified misdemeanors: Fines and jail time vary depending on the circumstances of the crime
For felony convictions, maximum penalties are as follows:
- Class 1 felonies: Fine of up to $100,000 and life in prison or the death penalty
- Class 2 felonies: Fine of up to $100,000 and 20 years to life in prison
- Class 3 felonies: Fine of up to $100,000 and five to 20 years in prison
- Class 4 felonies: Fine of up to $100,000 and two to 10 years in prison
- Class 5 felonies: Fine of up to $2,500 and one to 10 years in prison
- Class 6 felonies: Fine of up to $2,500 and one to five years in prison
- Unclassified felonies: Fines and prison time vary depending on the circumstances of the crime
Contact Caleb A. Kershner at Simms Showers LLP today
We offer a FREE PHONE CONSULTATION for criminal felony and misdemeanor cases. Contact Simms Showers LLP for quality legal counsel.
Simms Showers LLP represents clients throughout Northern Virginia, including Leesburg, Sterling and the surrounding areas of Loudoun County as well as Arlington County, Clarke County, Frederick County, Fairfax County and Prince William County.