If someone is charged with a crime in Virginia, the first thing they should do is consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who can advise them about the next steps and define the perfect criminal defense strategy that fits your case. The person should also refrain from making any statements to law enforcement officers, the prosecutor, or anybody else involved in the case, regarding the facts of their case.
There are many constitutional issues that may come up in a Virginia criminal case. The Constitution guarantees individuals the right to be free from illegal searches and seizures. It also guarantees individuals the right to remain silent. These two issues come up in Virginia cases quite regularly, usually when a law enforcement official is illegally searching or detaining somebody. This also comes up when somebody is forced to speak, a violation of their right to remain silent.
These are things an individual should absolutely bring to the attention of their attorney. If evidence was discovered as a result of these illegal actions, a good and experienced attorney will be able to file a motion and perhaps get the evidence removed from the case or prevent it from being used at trial.
There is a large difference in how cases are handled in Virginia as opposed to other jurisdictions. Virginia is much more serious about certain types of crime. Specifically, reckless driving is much more of an issue in Virginia than in other jurisdictions. Additionally, cases in Virginia are often handled more harshly than in other jurisdictions, so the penalties are larger than for the same offense in another jurisdiction. Other jurisdictions might just dismiss the charges, allow the individual to take a class, or simply pay a fine and walk away. Virginia, on the other hand, might require jail time.
One other thing that Virginia takes very seriously is possession of marijuana. Although it has been legalized in DC, many individuals are surprised to know that Virginia will still impose jail time for individuals possessing or distributing marijuana after the first offense.
If someone is being investigated but they have not yet been charged, an attorney can provide a lot of assistance. If an individual is unsure of what the police are investigating them for, an attorney might be able to find out from the police themselves, regarding what they are looking for and how they are looking. An attorney can help limit their client’s exposure to the police to prevent the accused making statements, perhaps even offhand, that could incriminate them later on. An attorney can give their client an idea of what to expect down the line and, in case they are arrested, help to facilitate a peaceful turn in if there’s a warrant out for their arrest. A criminal defense attorney can also put in a motion to have their client bonded out, should they be held without bond after they are arrested for their crime.
There are many benefits to hiring an experienced Virginia criminal lawyer. A lawyer in Virginia who knows and has experience in the jurisdiction where their client is charged will be able to give them a much more accurate prediction of what will happen with their particular case than someone who does not practice there. Additionally, that attorney will be able to take the correct steps to prepare a strong defense in the case, because they will know what motions to file, what evidence to look for, and what questions to ask witnesses and police officers in the preparation of their client’s case. These things are essential to building a defense that can help a defendant beat their charges.
When someone hires an attorney in a law firm, they are not just hiring an individual attorney. If a firm hires one person they truly have the experience and the knowledge of everybody who works in that firm. The individual can work with the firm’s other attorneys; they can talk with each other about the cases to get ideas and fresh perspectives on how to build the best defense strategies. What the client is really getting is the experience of every single attorney in that entire firm.
Additionally, hiring an attorney in a firm includes the other resources that the firm has, including access to expert witnesses or contacts within the government or certain jurisdictions. More importantly, they have access to resources that allow the firm attorney to get more information than a solo practitioner would be able to get.
Finally, because the support staff in a law firm is so much more extensive than it is for a solo practitioner, this frees up the attorney to spend more time on an individual’s case rather than on running to court to file a motion or any other administrative action. Having the staff to take on those things means the attorney can spend more time actually working on the substantive defense of the case.