Criminal Defense

Facing the uncertainties of the criminal process alone can be daunting. Our attorneys focus on providing our clients aggressive and focused representation in criminal law cases. We strive to deliver outstanding criminal law representation for all Virginia misdemeanor and felony cases. We provide our clients with a thorough investigation of their case. With every aspect of the law, but particularly in criminal law cases, the most minor detail can make the different between a win or a loss, between freedom and incarceration. We work closely with our clients to bring all relevant facts forward to insure our clients have a fair consideration of the charges brought against them, whether by a judge or a jury. We offer a full range of legal services for our clients in family law. Please visit our FAQ to gain additional knowlesge surrounding your legal matter. A consultation will help us determine the best course of action in your case, please contact us to schedule an appointment. We provide legal assistance with the following legal matters:

Appellate work and trial work are different. Advocates at the appellate level must present a well-crafted, well-researched and well-articulate argument to persuasively convey the deeper issues presented by your case. Both in briefing and at oral argument before appellate courts, you need an attorney whose experience in appellate practice and procedure is especially fine tuned to craft an effective approach that resonates with the judges of the Court of Appeals of Virginia, the Justices of the Supreme Court of Virginia, and the federal judges at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Arson was traditionally defined as the “malicious burning of someone else’s dwelling house or outhouse that is either appurtenant to the dwelling house or within the curtilage.” In other words, the offense included the intentional burning not only of a person’s house but also any buildings or structures on the land adjoining the house. Modern statutes generally define arson as the intentional and wrongful burning of either someone else’s property (as to destroy a building) or one’s own property (as to fraudulently collect insurance). Most of these statutes require that the offender either intended the actual harm or acted with “conscious disregard of a known and substantial risk of harm that the statute was intended to prevent.”

Virginia’s arson statute distinguishes between the burning/destruction of a dwelling and the burning/destruction of any other building or structure. In order to secure a conviction for the most serious form of arson, the burning of a dwelling, the government must first prove that the defendant either burned or caused to be burned any “dwelling house” or building (e.g., hotel, hospital, jail) in which people normally “dwell or lodge.” Second, the government must prove that the defendant acted with “malice”; that is, if not acting intentionally or purposefully, the defendant acted with a conscious disregard of a known and substantial risk of harm to persons or property.

In order to secure a conviction for the less serious form of arson, the burning of a structure or building that does not qualify as a dwelling, the government must prove that (1) the defendant burned or caused to be burned such a building/structure, and (2) the defendant acted with malice.

Simple Assault, or Assault and Battery, is a Class 1 Misdemeanor in Virginia. A conviction carries a maximum possible sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500.00. It is considered a violent crime that will stay on your criminal record for life. Virginia law recognizes two distinct types of self defense: justifiable and excusable. Justifiable self defense exists when a person is entirely without fault in bringing on the conflict. Sometimes the prosecutor will agree to amend the charge to one of Disorderly Conduct, which does not carry the same stigma and violent association on a criminal record. In other cases, the most important part of the case may be the presentation of an effective mitigation argument to a sentencing judge, in order to keep you out of jail.
If you have been charged with burglary, breaking and entering, or possession of stolen property, you are facing a range of consequences if you are convicted. From prison time to monetary fines, any punishment will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and may have an impact on your life. You need to find an experienced and highly qualified criminal defense attorney who knows how to handle these types of cases. We work with clients who have been charged with the following burglary-related and property crimes:

  • Burglary of residences, businesses or public buildings
  • Breaking and entering, unlawful entry, or trespassing
  • Destruction of property associated with vandalism or domestic situations
  • Receiving, possession or sale of stolen property auto theft or unauthorized use of a motor vehicle
  • Juvenile charges associated with burglary or other property crimes
It is a crime to injure, attempt to injure, or threaten a member of your family or household. It is also a crime to violate a restraining order. In Virginia, a person commits family abuse (also called domestic violence) by committing any act against a family or household member that involves violence, force, or threats, and results in physical injury or places the family or household member in fear or injury or harm. Both stalking and sexual assault can constitute family abuse. Family and household members include spouses, former spouses, parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, in-laws who live in the same house, people who have children together, and people who live together or have lived together in the past year.
There is really no distinction. DUI, DWI, it’s all the same type of charge, and it’s really the same offense. If you have been stopped for, arrested for or charged with drunk driving, contact an attorney who has experience handling drunk-driving cases as soon as possible to discuss your options and rights. Drunk-driving law is complex and the guidance of a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer can make a significant difference in a defendant’s experience and in the outcome of his or her case. As part of our drunk driving defense, we offer services including:

  • First-offense DUI
  • Repeat DUI, including previous felony cases based on out-of-state DUI or DWI convictions
  • Accident-related felony charges such as DUI manslaughter or battery
  • Driver’s license suspension hearings related to DUI
  • Underage or commercial driver DUI cases with a blood alcohol level below .08 percent
  • Serious traffic offenses such as hit-and-run or fleeing an officer
  • Reckless driving or extreme speeding
  • Driving on a suspended license
If you have been charged with any type of drug crime, such as drug possession, drug distribution, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, or conspiracy to distribute narcotics, you need to find the assistance of the most highly qualified and successful drug charge defense lawyers possible. In both the state and federal systems, the prosecution usually hesitates to file drug trafficking charges unless it has very strong evidence against the defendant. In the vast majority of cases, a local or federal investigator will have a record of hand-to-hand sales to an undercover narcotics detective or informant. In other situations, the intent to distribute will be implied from the quantity of drugs or cash seized from the defendant’s home, car or person.

Drug possession charges, involving possession of marijuana, cocaine, crack, heroine, acid, meth, or any of the other so called “street drugs”, can come in many forms. You could be charged with possession even when the police find no more than residue. You could be charged with constructive possession if you are around someone who is in possession of marijuana or another drug, or if you are in a vehicle in which drugs are discovered. If the quantity of drugs found in your possession is large, you might even by charged with possession with intent to distribute. There are a lot of reasons you can be charged, but being accused does not mean you will be convicted. There are defenses available, but only if you find an experienced and highly skilled criminal defense lawyer to represent you.

Having a criminal record can make it difficult to do many things most people take for granted, from getting a job or renting an apartment to getting a gun permit. In some cases, you may be able to have your record sealed so that the public may no longer see it. Virginia’s laws on this procedure are very restrictive, but if you qualify, it can make your life much easier. Expungement would physically destroy the records, rendering them completely inaccessible. Sealing would block them from access by members of the public, such as landlords doing background checks.
According to Virginia statute, you may petition to have your records expunged in limited cases, including the following:

  • You were acquitted of the crime.
  • The charges were dismissed.
  • Someone else committed the crime using your name.

In most cases, you cannot get a conviction expunged. If your conviction was later overturned, you may petition for expungement if you first receive an absolute pardon.

A Virginia federal criminal lawyer handles the defense of those whose alleged offenses are prosecuted not by the Commonwealth of Virginia, but by the United States government. Many crimes may be charged either in state court or in federal court. If an offense violates not only state law but also the United States Code, it is likely that the case will be tried by federal prosecutors. Conviction in federal court often yields more serious consequences than conviction of the same offense would merit in state court. Therefore, anyone facing these types of charges is urged to contact an attorney who is experienced in facing U.S. Attorneys in court.

Generally speaking, conviction rates in federal court are higher than in state court. This is because prosecutions are supported by investigation from highly specialized governmental agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). However, if one is tried in this court court, a conviction is by no means a foregone conclusion. With adequate defense from a skilled attorney, a defendant may successfully see a dismissal of the charges or an acquittal for the alleged crime. Even government agencies make mistakes, and a diligent defense attorney can uncover procedural and investigative missteps that may have led to the procurement of invalid evidence.

State and federal jurisdiction overlap for many serious felonies, and your options for most of them improve if they wind up charged as state crimes. We know how to give local and federal authorities sound reasons for keeping Virginia cases in the Virginia system. Nevertheless, we can help you develop and present a defense whenever necessary for a wide range of federal criminal charges in U.S. District Court:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug conspiracy
  • Money laundering
  • Child pornography or Internet sex crimes
  • Weapons offenses, most commonly felon in possession of firearm cases
  • Fraud and white collar crimes like embezzlement or public corruption

Although you can’t always expect to get advance notice of a federal investigation before being charged, it’s a good idea to get defense counsel before the charges are formalized if you are aware of the possibility. Child Pornography Charges. Online sex crimes and Federal drug charges in particular can provide opportunities to develop a sound defense strategy before the case is presented to a grand jury, and an experienced attorney can help protect you from the most serious potential charges.

There are two different types of weapons offenses that may be charged in Virginia. The first isunlawful gun possession or concealed carry violation. The second is the use of a gun or weapon to aggravate a drug crime, robbery or other crime. Depending on the circumstances, weapons charges can be filed and handled in either state or federal court. If your situation is somewhat in the middle and could go either way, our lawyers will work to keep your case in the Virginia state court system if at all possible.  Our attorneys provide representation to clients who are facing issues such as:

  • Concealed weapons offenses

  • Felon in possession of a firearm

  • Violation of the gun restrictions associated with a domestic violence conviction or restraining order

  • Gun charges related to probation violations

  • Gun charges attached to gang affiliation or crimes committed for the benefit of a gang

  • Gun charges related to federal drug investigations or indictments

  • False statements in attempt to purchase a firearm

Kids make mistakes.  This is a normal part of growing up, which is known and understood by anyone who has experience raising children. Unfortunately, the Virginia criminal justice system is not always quite as understanding. Mistakes that are made by minors may still be considered criminal and as such, the juvenile may be subject to punishment upon conviction for the crime. This can have devastating consequences and have a lasting, negative impact on the child’s future. If your child is facing juvenile charges, take action immediately to ensure he or she is protected. You need to find a lawyer with specific experience representing teenages in juvenile court.

In Virginia, it is illegal for an adult (someone 18 or older) to have sex with a minor (someone younger than 15), even if the sex is consensual. Those who break the law have committed statutory rape.

Statutory rape laws are premised on the assumption that minors are incapable of giving informed consent to sexual activities. Their incapacity is written into the statute—hence the term, “statutory” rape. The age of consent can vary among states, and some states differentiate between consensual sex between minors who are close in age (for example, two teenagers of the same age), as opposed to sex between a minor and a much older adult.

Statutory rape is prosecuted under Virginia’s rape, carnal knowledge, and juvenile delinquency laws. State law requires, in addition to the applicable fines and prison time, that people convicted of certain sexual crimes (including certain instances of statutory rape) must register as sex offenders.

Virginia defines theft-related offenses into three general categories: larceny, robbery and burglary. In the Commonwealth, Robbery is a felony offense that requires someone to have committed a theft and also a crime of violence, or a threat of violence, to be sustained. According to Section 18.2-58, an individual may be found guilty of the offense of robbery if they rob a person of good or money through:

  • Violence, including choking, beating, striking, to the victim

  • Assault, such as putting the victim in fear of serious bodily harm

  • Threatening to use or brandishing a deadly weapon, such as a gun

Due to the serious nature of the crime and its general classification as a violent offense, robbery convictions can result in severe legal penalties ranging from five years to life in prison. Another violent theft-related offense is carjacking. According to the Commonwealth, carjacking is a more serious offense than robbery but it applies if the theft involved a person’s motor vehicle.

Many people assume the terms theft and robbery mean the same thing. That is not the case. As noted above, robbery is a serious felony offense that alleges violence or threats of great violence. Many theft-related charges, such as burglary and larceny, do not contain these alleged elements and are based upon other factors, such as the amount of money or value of the items stolen. In the Commonwealth, the crime of larceny is divided into two categories, grand larceny and petit (pronounced petite) larceny.

Our goal in sex crimes defense is to minimize our client’s exposure to punishment on the immediate charges while working to protect your interests in avoiding civil commitment later on as a sexually violent predator. Especially in cases involving sex crimes between people who know each other or Internet sex crimes, there’s a good chance that you’ll learn of the investigation before you’re arrested or formal charges are filed against you. We urge people under investigation for sex crimes of any kind to get legal counsel as soon as possible.

Shoplifting charges must be taken very seriously, even if it is only a first offense. A conviction for felony or misdemeanor shoplifting in Virginia will remain on your criminal record forever, and could leave you facing jail time, fines, and a variety of other negative consequences. A good shoplifting defense lawyer will first work to provide you with a choice between the best possible alternatives. Our experience criminal defense attorneys defend against misdemeanor and felony theft and fraud charges in both state and federal court, including:

  • Shoplifting

  • Petit larceny and grand larceny

  • Receiving or possession of stolen property

  • Burglary

  • Breaking and entering

  • Auto theft and vehicle tampering

  • Forgery and uttering

  • Check fraud

  • Credit card fraud

  • Identity theft

  • Forging public documents

  • Embezzlement

  • Bad check cases

Let us help you get started

A consultation will help us determine the best course of action in your case, please contact us to schedule an appointment.

Share this Page