Criminal Defense Attorney in Abingdon and Tazewell, Virginia
Whenever you find yourself mixed up with the law, you’ll need to consider your options very carefully, since even the smallest infraction has the potential for consequences. However, when the charges you're facing are criminal rather than civil, you should seriously consider speaking with an attorney to make sure you fully understand your options and what the possible penalties could be. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when faced with criminal charges, but you don’t need to go through this process alone.
If you’re in the areas of Abingdon and Tazewell, Virginia, or anywhere throughout Russell County and the Virginia side of Bristol City, contact us today at the Letsen Law Firm. Our criminal defense attorney can help you take control of your future.
Criminal Charges in Virginia
There are dozens of criminal charges that can fall under Virginia law, ranging from a relatively minor misdemeanor to a more consequential felony. While it’s good to have a basic understanding of the types of charges there are, you need to speak with an attorney to get a complete picture of what you’re facing.
In Virginia, misdemeanor crimes are organized by Class 1, 2, 3, or 4, with Class 1 being the most serious. These crimes are considered less serious than felonies and penalties generally won’t exceed 12 months of jail time or fines of up to $2,500. However, even if a basic crime is considered a misdemeanor, there are always factors that could bring the charge up to a felony such as using a deadly weapon, having prior convictions on your record, or if the victim is in a protected class of citizens such as a police officer or a minor. Common examples of misdemeanors would be driving under the influence, computer crimes, drug offenses, larceny crimes, hit and runs, or assault and battery.
A felony conviction will come with a stiffer sentence that could include fines of up to $100,000 and life imprisonment. These charges are broken up into Class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 with Class 1 being the most serious. In some cases, Class 5 and 6 felonies could be considered “wobblers,” meaning they can be tried as either misdemeanors or felonies based on the circumstances. Examples of lower-level felonies are multiple DUIs, hit and runs, sex offenses, perjury, embezzlement, credit card crimes, breaking and entering, or arson of an unoccupied building. More serious felonies would be malicious or unlawful wounding, murder, or robbery.
Virginia Criminal Court Process
Each criminal case will be slightly different based on the charges you’re facing and the specifics of your situation. However, all criminal proceedings will follow the same basic process. First, you’ll be arrested and charged with a crime, after which you’ll make an initial appearance in court and have a preliminary hearing. This is known as the pre-trial period. It’s here that you may be granted bail or have to be detained until your trial date. Your attorney will be working on your behalf to gather evidence and communicate with the prosecution to either reach a plea deal or decide that your case should go to trial. If you do go to trial, a judge will hand down a sentence that could include fines, jail time, parole, community service, or probation.
The Appeals Process
If you disagree with the judge’s decision, you can appeal it—but you must have a firm legal basis for contesting your sentence. You can’t appeal simply because you don’t like the decision. Typically, when you file an appeal, it does not mean that you’ll have an entirely new trial; rather, an appeals court will review the available evidence and outcome of the original trial to see if an error was made. The appeals process can be extremely complicated and you should only trust a seasoned attorney to take you through it.
Turn to Reliable Representation
Central to any successful criminal defense is having the right legal representation. Do not make the mistake of thinking you can represent yourself in court, even if you believe the charges are unwarranted. You need someone with experience working with the local courts and someone who has a thorough understanding of how to use evidence and how to mount a convincing defense. At the Letsen Law Firm, we have experience in both prosecution and defense, and we can use this knowledge to your advantage. We’ll be able to assess your case from both sides to anticipate the arguments the prosecution will use and be prepared with sound and evidence-based reasoning. We strive to defend your civil rights and fight for you every step of the way. Ultimately, we believe that everyone deserves a fair trial, no matter the charges they’re facing.
Criminal Defense Attorney Serving Abingdon & Tazewell, Virginia
Nobody is fully prepared for the reality of facing a criminal charge, but by hiring a skilled and experienced lawyer, you can improve your chances of a favorable outcome. At the Letsen Law Firm in Abingdon and Tazewell, Virginia, we’ll educate you about your situation, help you understand your options, and support you through this difficult time. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation.