In Fairfax, Virginia there are a variety of criminal offenses that are treated seriously by law enforcement officers and commonly charged in court. Below an experienced Fairfax criminal defense attorney discusses each of these charges and why they are so commonly charged. To learn more or discuss your case, call and schedule a consultation today.
DUIs are often charged because they are a major focus for both police and the prosecutor’s offices. Police will often have officers patrolling looking specifically for DUIs, and frankly they are charged so often because on any given Friday or Saturday night a lot of people make the decision to drive while under the influence.
Additionally, DUIs are a concern for the community and the community transfers that concern to police who then enforce those cases heavily and make a lot of arrests.
Reckless driving is so commonly charged because the laws of Virginia make it very easy to charge someone with this misdemeanor offense. Reckless driving can be charged in Virginia anytime someone is going 80 miles per hour or above or anytime someone is traveling 20 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit. As you can imagine from common experience, these offense happens all of the time, so it’s very easy to charge for police making it a relatively common charge.
Larceny offenses are another commonly seen charge in Fairfax because there are so many stores and retail establishments. Although only a small amount of people shoplift, there are so many people in stores of Fairfax that a lot of people get arrested. Also, more importantly, most stores have loss prevention agents who work full time to ferret out shoplifters. They are hired by the store specifically to look for shoplifters, and for people committing larcenies, and detain those people so police can arrest them. They’re very aggressive and that is why there are so many of those cases.
Possession of marijuana offenses are also common for several reasons. The first is that a lot of people possess and smoke marijuana. Additionally, marijuana is actually legal or at least non-criminal in Washington D.C. which, because Fairfax is so close to Washington, D.C., means people often get caught and charged with a marijuana offense after they have come from D.C., where they possessed it lawfully.
Another reason marijuana possession cases are common is that marijuana is easily detectable due to the odor it emits, so police are more easily able to make arrests. Unlike cocaine or heroin which don’t emit an odor, police often smell marijuana on an otherwise normal traffic stop which leads to an arrest for marijuana.
Innocent individuals can be implicated in any offense. In a DUI case, there are numerous reasons to explain odd behavior or poor performance on field sobriety tests other than alcohol. There are also numerous reasons that an innocent person could be acting that way and exhibiting signs of intoxication even when not intoxicated. It really comes down to a case-by-case basis, but assuredly innocent people are sometimes arrested for DUI.
With the reckless driving charge, there are also various ways an innocent person could be implicated. Perhaps the officer loses sight of the vehicle he or she believed was driving recklessly and pulls over a different but similar looking car. Maybe the calibration for the radar or LIDAR device police were using to gauge someone’s speed was off. Once again, it is a case-by-case basis, but there are many ways that an innocent person can get mixed up in this.
For possession of marijuana offenses if the person charged didn’t have knowledge that the marijuana was in their possession, then they would be innocent of that offense. Sometimes people will be driving a vehicle, where a friend or a former passenger left marijuana in the car and the driver doesn’t know it. The driver may be charged even though they had no knowledge that there was marijuana in the car, and even though they are legally innocent of that offense.
In larceny cases, sometimes people accidentally walk out of a store with goods and therefore are innocent of the crime of larceny because they didn’t have the requisite criminal intent.
These are just some of the common ways that somebody innocent can be charged with a criminal offense.