Contacting an experienced attorney is of utmost importance to help you get the best possible outcome for your case. Experienced Alexandria criminal attorneys will have a comfort level in court, they know the procedures in court, and they know the law and based upon past experiences they know which arguments will work and which arguments will not. They also will know the judge, the prosecutor, and the police officers, all of which can only help your case.
Additionally, because they have experience, they will know the potential and likely outcomes of your case so you can weigh those options and make the best decision for your case. Experience is the most important factor when selecting and an attorney. Think about it this way, if you were having an important surgery would you want it to be the surgeon’s first operation? Experience matters and can only help your case.
Both are crimes, so they’re both serious, but the difference lies in the maximum punishment provided for the charge.
A misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of a year in jail in maximum and a fine of $2,500. Felonies have a wide range of punishment but they are all in excess of one year.
A felony is treated as a more serious offense than a misdemeanor in Virginia, but they are both crimes. Felony convictions also have worse collateral consequences such as removing your voting rights and ability to own a firearm. And what constitutes a felony is determined by the legislature when the make the law. Typically felonies involve worse behavior with more serious consequences so the legislature has detained that they need to be punished more harshly than a misdemeanor.
There are so many different felonies and so many different misdemeanors that it is hard to generalize, but in general, felonies are more serious than misdemeanors and have resulted in worse harm to the victim of the crime. So, for example, an assault and battery is a misdemeanor and can be charged when someone hits someone else in the face one time without causing major damage. But hitting someone 30 times in the face even after they’ve been knocked unconscious, and breaking their jaw will almost certainly be charged as a felony. That’s just one example, but the general concept is the more serious the injury or the more morally reprehensible the crime, the more likely the legislature has made it a felony.
Alexandria prosecutors treat all their cases very seriously. But I do think that since felonies tend to be more serious than misdemeanors it is human nature to treat them more seriously. Typical felonies are handled by prosecutors that have more experience. And in Virginia felonies have a different procedure through the court system, so in that respect, they are treated differently than misdemeanors.
But with all that being said, prosecutors in Alexandria handle every case they have very seriously. They take their job seriously. And whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, you can bet that they will be prepared. They will not be quick to ignore your case or take it lightly whether it be a misdemeanor or a felony.
A misdemeanor conviction in Alexandria can have numerous long-term consequences. A criminal conviction, even for a misdemeanor will be on your permanent record and cannot be expunged. That can affect your current employment or your future employment. When you apply for jobs in the future, if they ask whether you have you ever been convicted of a crime, you will have to say “yes”. If you answer “no”, that could be charged with falsifying a document. It can also affect your security clearance. In the Washington DC area, of which Alexandria is, of course, apart, many people have security clearances or may one day apply for security clearances and a criminal conviction can affect that process.
Once you are convicted, anytime someone runs a background check on you for whatever reason, that misdemeanor conviction will show up. So, a conviction can affect you in ways that you can’t even think of at the time that you were being charged. It can come back to haunt you at the worst possible time years down the road. It stays on your record forever.