Criminal & Traffic Defense FAQ
Do I have to speak with the law enforcement officer?
No, you do not have to speak with any member of law enforcement until you have spoken with an attorney first. You are protected under the United States Constitution and do not have to speak to a police officer without first consulting legal counsel. Clearly indicate your desire to have an attorney present before speaking with law enforcement even if pressured to do otherwise.
What are my rights if I am arrested?
You have certain rights when you are arrested. At the time of your arrest, you should have been read your rights, also known Miranda rights. Your Miranda rights state that anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law, and you have the right to remain silent if you so choose. You also have the right to an attorney and if you cannot afford one, one known as a public defender will be appointed to you. Exercise your rights. Don’t talk unless you are asking for a lawyer to be present.
Will I go to jail?
That is a question that can only be answered when we know the unique circumstances of your case. One of the biggest concerns facing those who are criminally accused is the threat of spending time behind bars. Because your situation is unique, and depending on the type of crime that you were charged with, you may spend time in jail or prison if you are found guilty. At the very least, you could spend a minimal amount of time in a holding area until you can either post bail or be released to await trial. It is the job of your attorney to minimize this threat to the extent possible. You should call an attorney immediately when arrested, or when threatened with an arrest, so that the attorney can start working for you as soon as possible.
Should I enter into a plea bargain?
In some situations, an attorney may decide that the best possible case outcome for you can be achieved by entering into a plea bargain. A plea bargain may allow you to minimize the impact of the punishment in your particular situation. With a plea bargain, an attorney will determine the charges that were brought against you, consider the penalties you may be facing, and decide whether or not pleading no contest or not guilty would be the best legal course of action to take depending upon the “deal” that is being offered by the prosecutor.
Will those go on my record?
Depending on the crime that you were charged with, if convicted, the crime may go on your permanent record. When a crime stays on your record, it will be available for potential employers, prospective landlords and even universities and lenders to see.
If I am charged with a DUI, will I lose my license?
Yes. In the state of Virginia, you will lose your license if you are found guilty of DUI. We can help you minimize the impact of the DUI, however, by working with the prosecutor and the court related to the limits that are placed on a restricted license during this timeframe.
Is speeding a crime?
Technically, yes, traffic offenses can be considered crimes because you are breaking the law. While most of these are classified as infractions, you may be charged with a misdemeanor if, for example, you were grossly speeding over the posted speed limit. In many case, there are a number of things a lawyer can do to help minimize the impact of the speeding ticket on your record and on your insurance.